How do you add character to a Builder-Grade Home?

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If you live in a builder-grade home, you know how cookie-cutter they can be. When we bought our Coastal Breeze Hideaway, I couldn’t have been more excited for a brand-new home, but I seriously underestimated the lack of charm and character when we moved in.  With some basic changes though we have started to transform the space, and you can too. Transforming your home doesn’t have to require a complete renovation. Small changes can make a huge impact and turn your house into a space that you love. Here are some tips and tricks to help you upgrade and give character to a builder-grade home.

Upgrade Your Builder-Grade Lighting

Lighting plays a significant role in the look and feel of your home. It can create a mood, highlight specific areas, and make a small space feel larger. I am always budget-conscious, but lighting is one of the places that I have learned it is OK to splurge on as it can truly transform your space. Replace builder-grade fixtures with modern chandeliers, pendants, or flush mounts to instantly elevate your home’s overall feel. Think beyond the standard overhead lighting and add wall scones and lamps for a softer, multi-layered lighting effect. 


wall sconce
Rattan Drum Chandelier
kITCHEN Pendant

Add a Backsplash

A backsplash is an excellent way to add personality and color to your kitchen or bathroom. Whether you opt for classic subway tile or a bold patterned tile, it can make the space feel custom and polished. A backsplash is also a low-maintenance way to enhance the functionality of your kitchen or bathroom. Want to learn more about backsplash selection and layouts? Check out our Kitchen Renovation Bundle, which includes a 30-page ebook and is a great resource for upgrading your kitchen.

Kitchen Renovation Bundle

Swap Builder-Grade Cabinet Hardware

Builder-grade cabinets typically come with no or very basic, unremarkable handles. Switch them out for more modern or decorative options that match your home’s style. It’s a super easy, simple, and budget-friendly way to give your cabinets a brand-new look. 

Tip: if you are replacing hardware, make sure to measure and match from screw hole to screw hole for pulls. If there was no previous hardware and you are installing all new hardware this template makes it so easy! It is what I used to install all of the Kitchen and Bathroom hardware at the Coastal Breeze Hideway.

Upgrade Your Builder-Grade Trim and Millwork

Builder-grade homes tend to have basic, or very little trim and millwork. Enhanced baseboards, crown molding, and window or door casings can give your home character and a high-end look. Opt for elaborate designs if you have a traditional home or sleek and minimal details for modern homes. I will be sharing my DIY window trim in the Coastal Breeze Hideaway soon, in the meantime check out the window trim before and after below: 

Refresh Your Builder-Grade Walls

Painting your walls is one of the most effective and affordable ways to transform your space. Choose a fresh, modern color palette and experiment with different finishes such as matte or high-gloss. Consider painting an accent wall or the molding and trim for a striking contrast. You can also consider wallpaper which will greatly impact the look and feel of the room and create instant character. Below are some examples of how to use wallpaper and each room:

  • Living room: A statement wallpaper in the living room can add a focal point, create a welcoming atmosphere, and showcase your personal style.
  • Bedroom: Wallpaper in the bedroom can create a calming or cozy ambiance, add interest to the headboard wall, or serve as a backdrop for the bed.
  • Dining room: Wallpaper in the dining room can enhance the formal or casual setting, create a sense of occasion, or add texture and pattern to the space.
  • Home office: Wallpaper in the home office can make the space more inspiring, visually appealing, and reflective of your personal taste.
  • Powder room: A small powder room or guest bathroom can benefit from bold and unique wallpaper as it allows for experimentation and a touch of luxury.
  • Foyer or entryway: Wallpaper in the entryway can instantly make a strong first impression, set the tone for the rest of the house, and showcase your personal style.

Accessorize your Builder-Grade Home

Accessories are the finishing touches that can tie a space together. Rugs, throw pillows, and wall art add texture, color, and personality to your home. Layering different textures and patterns can create a cozy and stylish look. Need help to select the right Rug? Check out our guide here.

Transforming your builder-grade home into a stunning space with loads of character and charm doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. A few small changes, such as upgrading lighting, adding a backsplash, swapping cabinet hardware, upgrading trim and millwork, refreshing walls, and accessorizing, can make a huge difference. Follow these tips to give your home a personal look that reflects your taste and personality.

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