Walking through the threshold of your finished new build home can be one of life’s greatest excitements. After all, you’ve spent countless hours visiting show homes, choosing a builder, picking out the perfect home model for you and your family, maybe tweaking the design a little bit, and sifting through colour palettes and finishes. You’ve probably also done a few hardhat tours of the space, and of course driven by the property mid-construction too many times to count.
“But often when people get into their new build home they’re just not sure how to infuse it with personality, because most builder palettes are very neutral,” says Rochelle Cote, interior designer and principal at Rochelle Cote Interior Design.
In an ocean of parallels though, she says that it doesn’t take much to get your new home singing with its own uniqueness and show home style. And it starts during the build process by putting your hard earned dollars into upgrades that will stand the test of time.
“If you can, splurge on the kitchen rather than flooring — undermount sinks, a wow backsplash and stone countertops. Flooring is easier to switch out down the road, then putting in new cabinetry and countertops,” suggests Cote.
And think of the neutral builder package as a really good backdrop for creating a piece of art.
“The neutral colour palette is actually a really big bonus. It allows you to add the layers that create personality — the sofa, the toss cushions, the art work, the area rug, maybe some low-level lighting,” she says.
Last year, she and her team worked with Brookfield Residential to style the interior spaces of more than 20 show homes, and in January their design prowess was unveiled in the $2.6-million Foothills Hospital Home Lottery by Calbridge Homes in Mahogany in Calgary. Recently the team styled Rohit Communities’ new townhome and apartment show home offerings in Seton, also in Calgary.
“With most show homes, we try to pick one colour that we feel is going to work with the theme that we have chosen for the home — whether it is modern farmhouse or cottage. With clients, I suggest picking a colour that they love and are drawn to — blue, navy, a rich red or terracotta,” she says.
Once you’ve chosen the colour, then the fun begins.
“It’s like putting together an outfit. Once you have the bones of the house, then you have the back drop for the canvas,” says Cote.
Here are a few tips to get your new home looking show home spectacular.
Make the Design Pop with Accent Paint
Start by choosing a focal wall — above the fireplace, the TV wall or a wall in the dining room or a headboard wall in the bedroom. Then saturate it in the accent paint colour. Pull in fabrics, toss cushions, area rugs and bedding to drive home the accent colour.
Add Sizzle With Wallpaper
Wallpaper works just like accent paint to create a focal point, yet it also adds the dimensions of texture and movement. “Use it just like you would paint on one wall or an entire powder room,” says interior designer Rochelle Cote.
Switch Out the Light Fixtures
Although more and more home builders are upping the ante with cool lighting choices from sleek matte black Scandinavian themed looks to old-world antique brass designs, for the most part, when it comes to a new build home, owners often choose from a standard lighting package. “So switching out a few fixtures can really add a new dimension,” says Cote. She suggests starting with the kitchen pendants and adding a dining room or stairwell light. “Sometimes you just need to change out one fixture to add some personality.”
Add Sparkle to the Powder Room with Mirrors
During the design process, ask the builder not to add a mirror or medicine chest. “Then shop at stores like Home Sense for something that stands out or ask a designer — most have wholesale accounts,” says Cote.
Add Impact with Art
In most staged show homes, art is strategically placed to add visual interest and colour. “It really helps to add personality to a home, as well as to bring in the accent colours,” says Cote.
If budget is tight, think of adding a few key new pieces like an interesting coffee table or contemporary end tables to create a refreshed look, brimming with new personality.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019