7 Ways to Add Character to a Plain Living Room
If you’ve moved into a new space and want to bring it to life, check out these ideas for adding your own stamp
If you love period style but live in a modern property, take inspiration from this project. Believe it or not, this room in a new-build home was originally a very simple white space, but the owner wasn’t deterred from creating the cosy Arts and Crafts mood she desired.
Designer Michelle Shakallis helped the family walk the line between period style and modern living to ensure the room didn’t look fake. She created features including panelling, a chimney breast and fireplace, and traditional-style fitted alcove units. But she also added modern details, such as the contemporary cupboard handles, sofa and coffee table. “It’s little touches like this that make the period look work in a house like this,” she says.
The muted green across the walls and woodwork creates a cocooning effect to complete the warm, cosy mood.
Learn more about how Michelle introduced an Arts and Crafts mood.
Designer Omar Bhatti of Space Shack was keen to make his “cookie cutter” new-build flat into a calm retreat where he could switch off and relax.
Key to the white space’s transformation is this arch, which Omar asked his builders to create to give the lounging area a focal point. Despite originally planning to paint it, when Omar saw the raw plaster, he loved the pale pink, softly marbled look and simply had it sealed, further highlighting this area.
The finishing touch is a media unit, built bespoke to fit the arched niche and painted in the same soft mushroom as the surrounding walls.
See more of this transformed flat, including before photos.
Find the right team for your project in the Houzz Professionals Directory.
It’s not hard to see how designer Bhavin Taylor fulfilled the brief to make his client’s new-build flat “feel homely and full of character” – the geometric wallpaper gives the space bags of personality. But the trick to making such a busy pattern work lies in the colour palette.
The starting point was the owner’s rug and Bhavin stuck to the mustard, grey, charcoal and white colours throughout, so the patterns don’t feel overwhelming.
He’s left the far wall in the original white to balance out the design, but added sheer curtains to soften the effect.
Discover how Bhavin energised the rest of this flat.
The owners of this new-build townhouse love to try different looks every few years, so when they moved into this “blank slate” new-build townhouse, they decided to have fun with industrial style with a Parisian feel.
The most transformative feature is the ceiling, which is unrecognisable from the smooth white surface the couple inherited. To add texture and a vintage touch, Kirsten Kaplan and Becky Wetzler of Haus Interior Design chose a thin, real wood veneer and added beams throughout the main floor. The result is plenty of character in this once plain home.
Read more about this townhouse transformation.
This warm and inviting apartment was originally part of an office building. Turning it into a cosy home was a challenge, but Thomas Griem of TG-Studio used natural materials and bold colour to transform the empty space.
Reclaimed-style brick slips cover the window wall (just seen) and add texture. To give the illusion of a higher ceiling, Thomas played with the proportions of the flooring. “We ran the oak floorboards up the wall and then brought the wall above out a little, so we could hide some LED lighting behind it. It enhances the height of the room, and also adds a touch of glamour to the space,” he says.
A palette of soft creams and browns creates a warm backdrop, while touches of vibrant colour, such as the green lacquered TV cabinet and turquoise armchair, add further depth and interest to the space.
Discover more about how this apartment was created from a blank canvas.
This room lacked a focal point or a sense of cosiness. It’s actually in an older property, but the solution designer Anne Azoulay of Decor Intérieur found would work a treat in a new-build.
An entire wall of bespoke joinery has created a feast for the eyes. Shelves are filled with books, pictures, ceramics and objets, while a row of cupboards hides less interesting items. Notice how the shelves are of different sizes, creating an attractive textured look.
Learn more about how this apartment was revived.
The owners of this new-build home wanted their once-white living room to be a cosy, relaxing space. Designer Chloe Roberts painted the walls in a cocooning deep grey, but the key to the cosy feel is the layers of natural textures. A linen sofa, oak coffee table and wool loop carpet are accessorised with clay plant pots and wicker baskets.
Chloe has kept the mix of materials calm by going for a restricted palette of earthy shades.
See more photos of this serene room.
Do you have a modern home? How have you made it your own? Share photos and tips in the Comments.