I always get comments regarding my apartment renovation about how even though everything is brand new it still feels like it has personality and that’s because despite doing a full reno it was extremely important for me to add character and architectural details to it!
Not everyone has the opportunity to live in a historical home that’s filled with character and charm, but there are plenty of ways to add character to your current or new home to make it your own. Adding character and personality is a HUGE component when decorating and something I always stress to people when they’re first moving in or looking to make some changes to their space. I truly think adding character to your home is more important that “updating” your home or following trends because character and personality are what makes a house a home!
There are PLENTY of ways to do this and today I’m covering the 10 I suggest the most!
10 Ways To Add Character To Your Home
Paint Your Walls
My first suggestion to add character to your space is by PAINTING! This is truly a no brainer in my mind and one of the first things that should come to mind when you’re looking to completely transform your space. Whether you paint your entire home, just a few rooms, a hallway or even just an accent wall it will instantly make your space more luxurious and homey which in turn gives it more character.
Paint is a really personal preference, but one tip I give everyone that is thinking about painting their home is to make sure and swatch prior to committing to a color and painting. And I don’t mean just hanging up the paint swatch that you get at the store. I mean buying a sample of the paint and painting a large swatch on multiple walls to make sure you like what it looks like in your space. Paint looks VERY different in a store than it does in your home and once it’s in your home it looks different depending on the amount of light you have and at different times of day so don’t make the mistake of painting without swatching first. Painting is an inexpensive way to completely transform your home, but painting twice isn’t!
Install Wallpaper, Decals or Murals
What is one thing that most older homes with a lot of character have in common? WALLPAPER! And for some reason through the years wallpaper got a bad rap, but in my mind wallpaper is a great touch to add to any newer home to instantly add character.
I actually have an entire blog post dedicated to wallpapered bathrooms, that will absolutely inspire you, but bathrooms aren’t the only place in your home I suggest adding wallpaper. A dining room, living room or even a hallway or stairwell are great places to add wallpaper.
Decals or mural wallpaper is another great option to add to your home. Where as wallpaper is a repetitive pattern a decal is a smaller scale design you can add over paint as an accent on a wall and mural wallpaper is exactly what it sounds like, a larger scale “scene” that doesn’t necessarily repeat. I have a floral mural accent wall in my bedroom and I absolutely love the way it looks.
Change Out Cabinet Hardware
To be honest there is nothing more blah than boring white knobs or dull silver handles on kitchen cabinets! Changing out your cabinet hardware should be one of the FIRST ways you add character to your home when you move in!
Whether your finish style is polished chrome, antique copper, flat black, brushed bronze or any of the other gorgeous finishes out there changing your cabinet hardware will instantly give your kitchen a facelift! If you’re feeling daring and really want to go for an antique look you can even swap plain knobs for crystal ones!
While you’re changing out hardware, think about changing out light switch plates & outlet covers also for something more decorative and unique! Anthropologie has some amazing aluminum and lacquered pattern ones.
Define Your Entryway
Another aspect that all historic and older homes have is an entryway or foyer. It’s the first thing a guest will see what they enter your home so it’s important to use this space to set the tone for your house, define your style and welcome your guests.
It’s also important to make your entryway functional for yourself and your family. Do you need storage for shoes? A coat rack? A bench? A small table for keys? What could you decorate your entryway with to make it functional.
First off, what is a built-in? Essentially it’s permanent furniture. Any type of permanent appliance, cabinetry or furniture that is “built” into the walls of your home. Built in shelving and seating are probably the most popular types of built-ins you’ll find in a home, especially a historic home.
Built-ins make your space more function and inviting. They’re incredibly versatile and are great for optimizing space and storage.
Built-in shelving, window seats and benches were really popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but they are a lot less common in new construction homes because people tend to want the versatility of traditional furniture. But with the growing popularity of Ikea hacks, built-ins (or this century’s version of the built-in) is definitely back.
Add Unique Lighting
In almost every single interior design article I write I speak about changing out the light fixtures in your space because it’s one of the easiest ways to refresh your home and is a great option for home owners and renters alike!
Adding unique lighting not only adds character to your home it also adds personality! Renter grade and builder grade lighting is usually basic and boring, but adding a chandelier or pendant lights that are more in tune with your style will pull your space together!
And while you’re changing out your light fixture add a ceiling medallion too! This decorative molding adds even more character and really makes your new light fixture the focal point in a room. Bonus points that it adds an antique element because these are very common in older, historic homes!
Add Ornate Trim, Molding or Panels to Walls
Adding trim or molding to your walls or ceilings can increase sophistication to any room in your home which in turn adds character. This can also increase your home value, so if you’re looking for an easy project to increase your resale price I definitely suggest doing this!
There are many different types of molding available so make sure to consider that when starting your project. For a traditional home opt for something more decorative like crown molding, modern homes look best with something more angular and transitional style home decor and homes fall somewhere in the middle.
Picture frame molding or box trim is another way to elevate the look of a room and your house. It’s very classic and instantly turn blank walls into statement pieces.
Create a Faux Fireplace
When I say faux fireplace I don’t mean add an electric fireplace to your space (not that they’re not great), I mean create the illusion of a faux fireplace with a mantle. This is an easy DIY and can be created with a variety of materials.
My favorite faux fireplaces are made with antique elements. Facebook marketplace and flea markets are always filled with antique mantels that could help you achieve this look for not a lot of money.
Upgrade Your Doors
If you have hollow interior doors in you home consider upgrading them to a solid door! Not only will they look SO much better, but they also have insulating properties and aren’t prone to damage like hollow doors are! Depending on your decorating style and taste there are so many options when it comes to doors!
If you can’t change out the entire door, swap out the handle! You can buy new hardware that looks vintage or you can thrift for antique pieces. Just as changing out hardware on your cabinets can give your kitchen a facelift, changing out hardware on your doors can upgrade them without spending a lot of money.
My third suggestion would be to paint your doors! We always talk about painting your front door, but what about painting the door to your master bedroom, or any other room in your home? You can paint it the same color as your walls to make it blend or paint it a bold color to make it stand out.
Shop for Antique Furniture and Vintage Decor
And last, but maybe the most obvious way to add character would be by decorating with antique furniture and vintage decor. When you introduce furniture and decor that has quite literally lived another life (or many multiple other lives) it carries a story with it and while shiny new furniture and decor is beautiful is doesn’t come with a story.
My favorite places to shop for antique furniture and vintage decor are estate sales, vintage stores, antique stores, flea markets and tag sales! Shopping for antiques and vintage pieces takes patience, but is rewarding in the end so don’t give up. All the time and effort you put into it will definitely pay off.
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