50 Ways To Add Character To A Home (Even New Builds!)

Affordable Ways To Add Character To A Home even new builds

There are so many great ways to add character to a home! Even if your house is a new build, builder-grade cookie-cutter type, adding character and personality to it is totally possible.

Or maybe you’re like me, and you bought an older house where previous owners covered up or removed some of its original character, and now you are working to restore its charm. (Yes. I’m a millennial who is putting the character back IN to my house, rather than taking it out, as my generation unfortunately is often guilty of).

These tips will inspire you to add character to your home, no matter your budget. I’ve included affordable budget-friendly home improvement tips in this article as well as mid-range and big-budget tips.

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50 Ways to add character to your home (on any budget!)

Whether you’re working with a new build or an older home that needs some love, there are lots of ways to add personality and charm without breaking the bank.

Below you will also discover room-by-room planning inspiration, to help you infuse character at every corner. If you are ready to give your home a personality of its own, read on!

Inspiring Living Rooms With Character

50 Ways To Add Character To A Home, Even New Builds!

Have you ever walked into a house and felt like something was missing? Sometimes, even the most beautiful homes can feel a bit bland if they lack character. Adding character to your home can make it feel more inviting and uniquely yours.

From simple, budget-friendly updates to more advanced, pricier changes, I’ve got plenty of ideas to help you transform your space.

The great thing is that whether you’re looking for quick, affordable changes or you’re ready to invest in more significant upgrades, these tips will help you create a home that’s full of personality and charm.

Let’s explore some easy and affordable ways to give your home character, no matter your budget.

1. Affordable Home Updates

Let’s start with the most budget-friendly home updates you can do that will instantly boost the character level ofyour space.

Because, you don’t need a huge budget to make your home feel special. Here are some easy ways to give your home character that don’t cost much.

Wall Molding

DIY peel and stick wall molding

Wall molding always looks classy and expensive. But it actually does not cost much per square foot, and you can buy the pieces at Home Depot and nail them to your walls yourself.

But what if you aren’t able to invest in real wall molding, or you need something less permanent? Then, get yourself a bunch of peel-and-stick wall molding!

Starting off strong – this tip is a serious home decor life hack.

It’s easy to install, and looks just like wood. But it’s a little cheaper.

Paint and Wallpaper

One of the quickest and most affordable ways to add character to a new home is with paint or wallpaper.

Bathrooms with character wallpaper

Consider creating an accent wall with a bold color or a fun, patterned wallpaper. It can instantly transform a room and add a focal point. If you’re feeling adventurous, try painting your ceiling a different color for a unique twist.


Swapping out basic lighting fixtures for something that looks more ornate or antique is another great way to add character and personality to your home. Look for affordable options at places like thrift stores, online marketplaces, or discount home stores.

Beautiful Vintage Wall Sconce Gives A Home Character

I’ve also found some great new lighting fixtures that look antique, here!

Lamps and string lights can also add a cozy ambiance without costing a lot.

Hardware and Fixtures

Updating cabinet knobs, handles, and faucets can make a big difference. These small changes can make even a builder-grade new build home feel more custom and unique.

Look for stylish hardware that fits your taste and complements your home’s style. I absolutely love these door pulls! It’s a small investment with a big impact.

Decor and Accessories

Thrift stores, flea markets, and online marketplaces are fantastic sources for unique decor items.

How to add vintage decor to update your home with character

Look for vintage and handmade pieces that add a personal touch to your space. Things like unique vases, picture frames, and art can make your home feel more curated and special.

Designer tip: You can also get vintage art prints right from Amazon!

DIY Projects

Don’t underestimate the power of DIY! Simple projects like installing floating shelves, creating custom artwork, or even building your own furniture can add a lot of character to your home.

There are tons of resources online to help you get started with DIY projects, no matter your skill level.

2. Mid-Range Updates

If you have a bit more to spend, there are some fantastic mid-range updates that can really add character and personality to your home.

Character lighting and built-in bookshelf in living room makeover

Furniture and Upholstery

Investing in a few key pieces of furniture can make a big difference. Look for statement pieces like a unique sofa or a vintage armchair. Reupholstering existing furniture is another great way to refresh your space without buying new.

Choose fabrics that are durable and fit your style to create a cohesive look.


Adding new flooring can significantly change the feel of a room.

Stylish Bedroom: How to add character to a bedroom

Consider quality options like engineered hardwood. Area rugs are also a great way to add warmth and texture without a full renovation. They can define spaces and add a pop of color or pattern.

Window Treatments

Quality curtains, blinds, or shutters can add a touch of class and character to any room. Layering window treatments, such as pairing sheer curtains with heavier drapes, can add depth and create a more finished look.

Built-In Features

Adding built-in shelves or bookcases can give your home a custom feel.

They not only provide extra storage but also serve as a great place to display your favorite decor items. Custom storage solutions can also help keep your home organized and stylish.

3. High-End Updates

For those who are ready to invest a bit more, high-end updates can add substantial character and value to your home. Here are some ideas for more advanced, quality updates.

Custom Millwork and Trim

Adding elements like crown molding, wainscoting, or baseboards can dramatically change the look of your home.

Antique Lighting Gives Any Home Character

These features add a touch of elegance and make your space feel more finished. Hiring professionals for these projects ensures quality craftsmanship and a flawless finish.

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodels

Investing in high-quality cabinetry and countertops can transform these essential spaces. Unique tile or backsplash designs add personality and flair.

bathroom Lighting in black bathroom with marble sink

Even small changes, like upgrading to a farmhouse sink or installing a luxurious showerhead, can make a big impact.

Marble backsplash and antique brass fixtures in modern luxury bathroom

Architectural Features

Installing features like exposed beams, archways, or reclaimed wood elements can add a lot of character.

These architectural details give a home a sense of history and craftsmanship. Enhancing ceilings with coffered or tray designs can also add depth and interest.

High-Quality Finishes

Choosing premium materials for flooring, countertops, and fixtures can elevate your home’s overall aesthetic. Customizing finishes to reflect your personal style ensures that your home feels unique and luxurious.

Shopping Tips and Sources

Finding the right pieces to add character to your home doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Here are some great places to shop and tips for finding those perfect items.

Affordable Sources

Thrift stores and flea markets are treasure troves for unique and affordable decor. You can find everything from vintage furniture to quirky accessories that add personality to your home.

Online marketplaces like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are also excellent for scoring great deals. Discount home stores, such as HomeGoods, HomeSense, or IKEA, offer stylish pieces at budget-friendly prices, perfect for adding character on any budget.

Mid-Range Sources

For slightly higher quality and more unique items, consider specialty home decor stores and online retailers like Wayfair, West Elm, or Anthropologie. These stores offer a mix of modern and classic pieces that can help you blend styles seamlessly.

Local artisans and independent furniture makers are also great resources for custom and one-of-a-kind pieces. Not only will you get something unique, but you’ll also support local businesses.

High-End Sources

If you’re ready to splurge, luxury home goods stores like Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn offer high-quality, timeless pieces that add significant character to your home.

Custom furniture makers can create pieces tailored to your exact specifications, ensuring a perfect fit and finish. Working with a professional interior designer can also help you source bespoke items and achieve a cohesive look throughout your home.

Combining Affordable and High-End Updates

Mixing affordable and high-end updates is a smart way to add character to your home without blowing your budget. Here’s how to strike the perfect balance.

Mixing High and Low:

Start by identifying which areas you want to splurge on and where you can save.

For instance, invest in a high-quality sofa that will last for years, but pair it with affordable, trendy throw pillows and a budget-friendly coffee table. This approach allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds without compromising on style or quality.

Prioritizing Investments

Focus your budget on items that will have the most impact. Splurge on statement pieces like a beautiful dining table or a luxurious bed, then save on accessories like rugs, curtains, and wall art.

High-quality, timeless furniture can elevate the overall look of your home, while affordable accessories can be easily swapped out as trends change.

Creating a Cohesive Look

To ensure your mix of high and low items looks intentional, stick to a cohesive color palette and style. This will help everything blend together seamlessly. Use more affordable items to complement and highlight your investment pieces, creating a balanced and harmonious space that feels well-curated and personal.

Room-by-Room Guide to Adding Character to Your Home

Living Room

  • Paint and Wallpaper: Consider an accent wall with bold paint or wallpaper. This can be a focal point that draws attention and adds visual interest.
  • Lighting: Replace standard fixtures with unique, stylish lighting. Floor lamps, table lamps, and chandeliers can add charm and set the mood.
  • Furniture: Mix vintage and modern furniture. A vintage coffee table paired with a modern sofa can create a balanced look.
  • Textiles: Add character with throws, cushions, and rugs. Layering different textures and patterns adds depth and warmth.
  • Decor: Incorporate personal items like family photos, travel souvenirs, and artwork. These personal touches make the space uniquely yours.


  • Cabinet Hardware: Swap out plain knobs and handles for stylish alternatives. Brass, vintage, or colorful options can add personality.
  • Backsplash: Install a unique backsplash. Tiles in bold patterns or colors can make a big impact.
  • Open Shelving: Add open shelves to display your favorite dishes, cookbooks, and decor. This not only provides storage but also adds a personal touch.
  • Lighting: Install pendant lights or under-cabinet lighting. These add both functionality and style.
  • Decor: Use decorative items like plants, vintage jars, and artwork to add character. Small details can make the space feel more inviting.

Dining Room

  • Table and Chairs: Invest in a statement dining table. Mix and match chairs for a more eclectic, personalized look.
Antique credenza in character home dining room
  • Lighting: A chandelier or unique light fixture can be a focal point and set the tone for the room.
  • Textiles: Use table runners, placemats, and napkins in interesting fabrics and patterns. These add color and texture.
  • Wall Art: Hang art that reflects your style. Large, bold pieces can make a statement, while a gallery wall can add a personal touch.
  • Decor: Add character with decorative items like vintage candlesticks, plants, and a beautiful centerpiece for the table.


  • Bedding: Invest in quality bedding with interesting textures and patterns. Layering different fabrics adds a cozy feel.
Modern bedroom decorating tips
  • Furniture: Mix modern and vintage furniture. A vintage dresser or nightstand can add charm and character.
  • Lighting: Install bedside lamps or sconces. Soft, ambient lighting creates a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Wall Decor: Hang personal photos, artwork, or a statement mirror. These items add personality and make the space feel uniquely yours.
  • Textiles: Add a rug, throw blankets, and decorative pillows. These elements add warmth and style.
Vintage inspired bedroom decor


  • Fixtures: Update faucets, showerheads, and cabinet hardware. Stylish fixtures can make a big difference.
  • Lighting: Install unique lighting fixtures. Vanity lights, sconces, or even a small chandelier can add elegance.
  • Textiles: Use quality towels, bath mats, and shower curtains. These add color and texture to the space.
  • Storage: Incorporate stylish storage solutions like open shelving, baskets, and decorative jars. These keep essentials organized and add character.
  • Decor: Add plants, artwork, and candles. These small touches make the bathroom feel more like a spa retreat.

Home Office

  • Desk and Chair: Choose a desk and chair that are both functional and stylish. A vintage desk or a modern ergonomic chair can add character.
  • Lighting: Ensure good lighting with a stylish desk lamp and overhead lighting. Proper lighting is key for productivity and ambiance.
  • Storage: Use decorative storage solutions like baskets, shelves, and file organizers. Keeping the space tidy adds to its charm.
  • Wall Decor: Hang motivational quotes, artwork, or a bulletin board. Personalizing the space can make it more inspiring.
  • Decor: Add personal items like photos, plants, and decorative objects. These make the space feel more welcoming and uniquely yours.


  • Lighting: Install a statement light fixture. A chandelier or pendant light can set the tone as soon as you walk in.
  • Furniture: Add a console table or a bench. These provide a place to sit and store essentials like keys and mail.
  • Wall Decor: Hang a mirror, artwork, or family photos. Mirrors can make the space feel larger, while photos add a personal touch.
  • Rugs: Use a stylish rug to define the space. A rug adds color and texture and makes the foyer feel more welcoming.
  • Decor: Add decorative items like vases, plants, and a bowl for keys. These small touches make the space functional and inviting.

Case Studies and Examples

Seeing real-life examples can be incredibly inspiring and help you visualize how to make a house have character. Here are some case studies and examples of homes transformed with a mix of budget-friendly and high-end updates.

Before and After Transformations

The Modern Farmhouse: This home started as a basic builder-grade house with little personality. By adding custom millwork, vintage furniture from flea markets, and high-quality finishes in the kitchen, the homeowners transformed it into a cozy, character-filled farmhouse.

The blend of new and old elements created a warm and inviting space.

The Eclectic Apartment: A small city apartment was turned into a stylish retreat by mixing affordable finds from thrift stores with a few high-end pieces like a designer sofa and custom lighting. The eclectic mix of decor, including vintage rugs and modern art, gave the apartment a unique and personalized feel.

Reader Submissions and Testimonials

Laura’s Cozy Cottage: Laura added character to her new build home by painting the walls in warm, inviting colors and installing DIY wainscoting. She also shopped at local flea markets for vintage decor and mixed these finds with new furniture from IKEA.

Laura’s favorite update was her custom-built bookshelf, which became the focal point of her living room.

Mike and Sarah’s Rustic Retreat: This couple turned their basic builder-grade home into a rustic retreat by adding exposed beams, a stone fireplace, and reclaimed wood accents. They combined these high-end updates with affordable decor from discount home stores and personal touches like family photos and handmade quilts.

Affordable Ways To Add Character To A Home – Conclusion

Adding character to your home doesn’t have to be overwhelming or expensive. By combining affordable updates with a few well-chosen investments, you can create a space that feels uniquely yours.

Whether you’re working with a new build or an older home, there are endless ways to add personality and charm.

Remember to mix high and low pieces, focus on impactful updates, and always keep your personal style at the forefront. Your home should be a reflection of you, filled with items that make you happy and comfortable.

So go ahead, start making those changes, and watch your home transform into a character-filled haven you’ll love for years to come.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Adding Character to Your Home

1. How do I add character to a new home?

Adding character to a new home can be done with a few thoughtful updates. Start with a neutral color palette and incorporate textures like wood and stone. Add personality with unique lighting fixtures, vintage furniture, and custom millwork. Thrift stores and online marketplaces are great for finding unique decor items that give your home a personalized touch.

2. What are some easy ways to give your home character?

Easy ways to give your home character include painting or wallpapering an accent wall, updating hardware and fixtures, and adding new lighting. Incorporating vintage finds and DIY projects can also make a big difference. Simple changes like new throw pillows, rugs, and curtains can add warmth and personality to any room.

3. What items should I buy to add character to my home?

To add character to your home, consider buying vintage furniture, unique lighting fixtures, quality textiles like throw blankets and rugs, and custom millwork or trim. Decorative items such as artwork, plants, and handmade pottery can also enhance the character and charm of your space.

4. Where can I shop for items to add character to my home?

Great places to shop for items to add character to your home include thrift stores, flea markets, and online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy. Discount home stores like HomeGoods, HomeSense, and IKEA offer affordable decor options. For higher-end items, consider specialty home decor stores, local artisans, and custom furniture makers.

5. How can I make a basic builder-grade home have more character? How can I add old character to a newly built home?

To add character to a basic builder-grade home, start with cosmetic updates like painting and adding wallpaper. Upgrade lighting fixtures and hardware for a more custom look. Incorporate built-in features like shelves or bookcases and add architectural details such as crown molding or wainscoting. Mix in vintage and high-quality pieces to create a unique, personalized space.

To add old character to a new build home, incorporate vintage or antique furniture and decor. Use reclaimed materials like wood and brick to add a sense of history. Architectural details such as exposed beams or custom millwork can also give a new home a more established feel.

6. What are some easy and affordable budget-friendly ways to add character to my home?

Budget-friendly ways to add character to your home include painting, updating hardware, and adding new lighting. Shopping at thrift stores and flea markets can yield unique, affordable finds. DIY projects like building shelves or creating custom art can also add personality without costing much.

Easy and affordable updates include painting or wallpapering, changing out cabinet knobs and handles, and adding new light fixtures. Incorporating thrifted decor and DIY projects can also make a big impact. Simple changes like adding plants, new throw pillows, and rugs can instantly make your home feel more personalized and inviting.

8. What are some ways to add character and personality to my home?

Adding character and personality to your home can be achieved by mixing different styles and eras of furniture, using a variety of textures and materials, and incorporating personal items like family photos and travel souvenirs. Unique lighting, bold color choices, and custom built-ins can also enhance your home’s character.

To make a house have character, focus on adding unique elements that reflect your personal style. This can include vintage furniture, custom lighting, quality textiles, and architectural details. Layering different textures and incorporating personal touches like artwork and photos will also add depth and interest to your home.

9. How can I combine high-end and budget-friendly items to add character to my home?

Combining high-end and budget-friendly items is a great way to add character on any budget. Invest in key pieces like a quality sofa or dining table, and complement them with affordable decor from thrift stores or discount home stores. Mixing these elements can create a balanced, cohesive look that feels both luxurious and personal.

10. What should I prioritize when adding character to my home on a budget?

When adding character on a budget, prioritize updates that have the most visual impact, such as painting, lighting, and hardware. Look for budget-friendly decor that reflects your style and consider DIY projects to save money. Investing in a few high-quality pieces, like a sofa or dining table, can also make a significant difference.



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