Historic homes have plenty of character, but updating a historic home can be challenging, from both interior design and financial perspectives. New construction homes, on the other hand, often lack the architectural features and impeccable attention to detail that older homes possess. So how can you add character to a brand new home? Read on for some tips from interior designer Michelle Nettles.

Say no to boring white architectural features

wood faux finish on mantel

Faux finish by decorative painter Kass Wilson


New homes are often built with relatively generic finishes and fixtures in order to appeal to the widest possible range of buyers. One glaring example is the ubiquitous white built-in bookcase that appears in so many homes (as well as stark white mantels, columns, and other architectural features). Take a look at some of our suggestions for built-in bookcase finishes that will help them fit in more harmoniously with the other elements of your home decor.

Add interest and function with lighting

foyer lighting

via Pinterest


Lighting is one of the most important aspects of interior design. Proper task lighting is essential in kitchens, baths, laundry rooms, and the like, while mood lighting can create a relaxing ambiance throughout the living and dining spaces of your home. Consider replacing a boring foyer or dining room light fixture with a unique, daring piece to add some drama to the space. The hallway above shows a great selection of lighting that coordinates rather than matches, giving the space a personalized, collected feel.

Adding architectural interest

coffered ceiling

via Pinterest


Think about what makes older homes so charming. Crown molding, board and batten, coffered ceilings, and other details in the trim, banisters, mantels, etc. all help to make homes feel one-of-a-kind. Consider adding millwork features to your home or even accentuating the existing features. For instance, painting the banisters or handrail a contrasting color can add a dose of personality to your entryway.

If the options seem a little overwhelming, don’t worry. An interior designer can help you decide which upgrades will give you the most bang for your buck while boosting your home’s personality. To discuss your interior design project, contact us today.