Transforming a white-walled, brand-new tabula rasa of a new-build can be a real mission! So we asked SGS Architectural Interiors for some expert advice

We are fortunate enough to work with clients who are constructing architect-designed new-build homes, but it can be challenging to imagine living in a house you’ve only seen as a two-dimensional drawing. Whether your new build is a one-off or one of a few, the challenge is always to make the shiny new property into a comfortable home which is personal to you. Our job is to bring these plans to life and help our clients visualise the moment they will step through the door into their dream home. 

A new build home is a blank canvas and a fabulous opportunity to get creative.  A great starting point is to introduce colour. Often new builds are finished in developers’ white, so identify your preferred colour palette and start applying it. To find that colour palette, you can take influence from your personal fashion taste, inspirational artwork, or the wonders of nature.  Start compiling images of the colours and interiors you are drawn to and you’ll soon begin to develop a palette that is truly unique to your home.

You can quickly make a new build feel like home by introducing familiar things. Just because you’re moving into a new property, doesn’t mean you should feel like you have to start from scratch with all your interior furnishings and accessories. Simply hanging a favourite picture or reusing an occasional chair with happy memories, will help to make you feel at home.  

Don’t underestimate lighting.  Often new builds are lit with grids of overhead down-lights, but hopefully there is an opportunity to install a pendant or add personality with some wall lights. Layering light is important in every interior, so adding a feature table and floor lamps is also a good way to soften the lighting and create a more intimate atmosphere. Think of these light fittings like jewellery accents and another opportunity to add your personality to the space with a statement light fitting.  

Where we are involved in the construction of a new build, we often work with character grade timber floors or reclaimed stone and specify unlacquered finishes which patina for door handles and bathrooms if the client wants the home to feel pre-aged.  If you are purchasing a new build, then adding vintage furniture or accessories can add this same character and soften the pristine finishes.

Finally, don’t forget the outside.  Often new builds look like they have popped up out of the ground and they need some help to become established in their setting. We always work with landscape designers at an early stage in our new build projects, so that planting and finishes can be installed as early as possible and will have more time to weather and grow around the property. Adding outdoor furniture and planted pots to your home will soften the junctions between the surface finishes and will immediately make your new build stand out from the rest.  The key to any interior is to create a home which serves the owners lifestyle and reflects their personality, the same is true with a new build to make it a home.

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