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New build interior design ideas: How to transform your blank canvas

One of the most exciting things about buying a new build home is that you’re starting from scratch – these properties are a complete blank canvas from which you can really demonstrate your individual style and design flair. The tricky part is knowing where to begin with new build interior design ideas and figuring out which areas you should pay more attention to.

We have teamed up with our interior design partner, Edward Thomas Interiors, to reveal a series of expert hints and tips. Focusing on the key rooms in the home, Steve Hird, director at Edward Thomas Interiors, gives his take on how you can transform your new build home:

Clermont (Chris Daw) Branston Leas Feb 20 (5)

Kitchen

“Widely considered to be the heart of any home, the kitchen is usually the most multifunctional room. It’s somewhere to dine, entertain, relax, work and learn, so it’s no wonder that open plan layouts remain popular. But how can you personalise this?

“One of the main trends for this year is bold colours. Green has become especially popular and we’re starting to see emerald green units being offered as well as others from within this family such as sage, khaki and mint. Colour is not just being expressed on kitchen cabinetry but is also seen in accessories, window frames, panelling, wallpapering and painting. Perhaps think about industrial style lighting, a deliberate mix of metallics – brass, copper or gold handles or taps for instance – or even a contrasting colour sink and splashback.

“Another emerging trend is adopting elements of nature and the environment in your home styling. Fabrics and materials can be very sustainable and restorative, think rattan, cane and wood. Dress windows or French doors with light fabrics to maximise natural daylight.

“Finally, don’t overlook the importance of efficient storage and organisational solutions, as the kitchen is where we need maximum space and minimal clutter. Clever installations, such as taller wall units, concealed carousels and pull-out style larders, as well as floating shelves, door spice racks and integral chopping boards, put necessities in easy reach while maintaining neat and tidy surfaces.”

Living Room

“If the living room is separate to the kitchen/diner/family room, we’ll most commonly style it in one of two ways. The first is as a more formal room, perhaps with a fireplace or log burner in the centre of a wallpapered or painted wall, to give a central point of focus. Large sofas positioned opposite each other help keep the space sociable and encourage conversation. As this is typically one of the larger rooms in the house, don’t be afraid to use big pieces of furniture, floor plants, statement lighting or artwork for personalisation.

“The second styling choice is to make this room the hub of the home, somewhere for the whole family to enjoy together. L-shaped sofas and occasional chairs can really make this space inviting and, if you have a bay window, you can add a love seat to make a really cosy corner. In many new build homes, the living room will have French doors leading out to the rear garden, so this can be a great opportunity to make your outside space an extension of your home – think about adding garden furniture and accessories in complementary colours to complete the transition from inside to outside.”

Tayleur Leas

Master Bedroom

“The master bedroom shouldn’t get the same footfall as other areas in the home, so it can become your personal sanctuary, somewhere to retreat and relax. Styling for master bedrooms commonly takes its lead from the bed. Add a statement headboard to create a focal point or, if you only have a bedframe, consider adding artwork or painting or wallpapering a feature wall to catch the eye. The rest of your styling can be complementary and colours can be mirrored in the use of throws, curtains and accessories to complete the room.

“Popular bedroom furniture remains classic; bedside tables, wardrobes and chest of drawers will never go out of style. For a splash of personality, underused areas like eaves can be transformed with a dressing table, blanket box, ottoman or chest.”

Clermont (Chris Daw) Branston Leas Feb 20 (13)

Bathrooms

“One of the trickier rooms to get right is the bathroom as it’s hard to reinvent this space – the core isn’t easily changed. Really take some time thinking about how you will use it, both now and in the future. So if you have children, install a bath; if you have a large family and friends, add a walk-in shower. Then use cosmetics and tiles to put your own stamp on it.

“Always go for more tiling than less. Not only is it hard-wearing and durable, it has a much more luxurious appearance. Feature tiling in the shower cubicle, around the bath perimeter or behind the sink can have a similar effect. If you’re unsure, go for something timeless. Neutral colours like grey, beige and white all work well as a base, you can then add colour with prints, pictures, mirrors, taps, even grout paint!

“Storage is the other essential for a bathroom – there’s never enough! Consider vanity units, mirrored cabinets, under sink and floating shelving.”

Garnet (Peter Savage) Heathy Wood May 20 (16)

Home Office

“One of our first considerations when styling new homes in the past year has been to highlight any flexible or versatile space. People want to be “space-smart”.

“When it comes to home working, not every home has a dedicated study or den, so we have to think imaginatively. How would a guest bedroom work as an office, or even seemingly hidden spaces like landings, alcoves and tops of stairs?

“The key is differentiation; marking a clearly defined space for a workstation that is well-lit and comfortable, so the user remains productive. Traditionally, this is achieved with the installation of full size desks, filing cabinets and fitted shelving, but we’ve also used half desks, console tables, standing desks and occasional tables to inspire house hunters. Picture rails are another great way to personalise this space without adding clutter!

“Equipment for home working doesn’t have to be brand new, one of the big trends for this year is upcycling. We’ve seen old ladders repurposed as freestanding shelves, window frames used as chalk boards, wooden crates and pallets turned into storage – they all provide original and eye-catching features that aren’t expensive to re-create.”

Chichester (Chris Daw) Blythe Fields July 20 (12)

Childrens Bedroom

“Typically, children’s bedrooms tend to be the smallest rooms in the house but, in our experience, they are the most memorable. Think about what will entertain children but also how to make the room as functional as possible. Themes are a fantastic way to achieve this – not only can they create a ‘wow’ moment for a youngster, they also appeal to the inner child in every adult! We’ve styled bedrooms as safaris, princess castles, farmyards, boats and even created rooms in line with popular films like Paddington Bear and Spiderman.

“Remember children like to collect things, such as toys and mementos from day trips, so there needs to be plenty of storage. In the post-pandemic age, many are keen to ensure there are adequate areas for home-schooling. The lockdowns have taken a toll on children and parents, so we try to make learning spaces fun, adding things like a reading corner or arts and crafts bench.

“One of the biggest barriers when styling children’s rooms is that their tastes change! In many of our themed bedrooms, we use hand painted murals – while these can be really eye-catching, they can just as easily be removed by re-painting or wallpapering. Accessories and lighting are another great way to transform a child’s room – don’t dismiss the local car boot or flea market for second-hand or vintage pieces that can be upcycled at minimal cost.”

Outdoor Spaces

“As Covid restrictions have, until very recently, forced us to socialise outdoors, it’s not surprising there’s been a nationwide effort to make our gardens and outdoor spaces as attractive and functional as possible. Our advice is to think about the styling of your garden as much as you would with your home. What do you want the primary use to be?

“Add cosy corner furniture and a fire pit to create an al fresco dining room; a sand pit or mud garden acts as a child’s playroom; a built-in pizza oven or BBQ doubles as a kitchen; a vegetable patch or greenhouse provides the perfect hobby space. But how does this work without appearing chaotic? Section your space with physical differences such as split levels, gabion walls or stepping stones. Temporary options like bamboo screens, reed fencing, wood panelling, even outdoor wall paints, can aid differentiation.

“Another hugely popular option is a summerhouse or garden pod; a dedicated and permanent structure away from the main home. These buildings provide a great alternative office space, especially for households where there’s more than one person working or home-schooling. They can also double up as a gym, cinema room, bar, yoga studio, playroom or outdoor lounge.

“By getting the basics right and investing in good quality outdoor furniture that can withstand the changing UK weather, you can then personalise as you go. There’s a great selection of outdoor accessories available on the high street and online – rugs, cushions, freestanding or hanging lanterns, ornaments, mirrors – meaning you can change the vibe of your outdoor spaces to match the season!”

Whether you’ve never designed a room, or you just need a little inspiration, hopefully these new build interior design ideas will kickstart your imagination and get those creative juices flowing.
If you’re still searching for the perfect place to call home, we have a selection of beautiful new build properties at developments across the country. To find a development near you, please click here. 
Alternatively, for details about our Options and Upgrades please click here.
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