Interiors Q&A – how to improve a bland new build apartment
Dear Andrew, I have recently moved into a new build apartment, and it is very stark and bland, how can I make it feel more personal?
New build apartments are designed to sell to a mass market and therefore often have very little in the way of individuality or style in their interior. Adding colour is a very simple way to improve your home and start to stamp your personality on the space. We also find that reviewing the layout, and maybe then moving some walls, allows you to get the home that you really want for very little capital outlay.
The first step is to look at how the apartment is laid out – does it have all the storage space that you require, have the developers squeezed in too many bathrooms, does the layout suit your lifestyle? Once you have reviewed your new apartment you can use an interior designer to draw up plans showing how you can achieve the best layout and they will then work in conjunction with a builder to put together a project plan. The great thing about new build apartments is that the construction is generally partition walling so is very easy to move walls around. We have recently worked on a two bedroom/three bathroom apartment where the third bathroom was deemed unnecessary, so we reworked the space to create a fabulous master bedroom suite with a large walk in wardrobe.
Once you have reviewed and agreed the general layout you need to add some personal touches, this can be done using colour and also by changing the flooring. The developer has probably used one colour on the walls, with a neutral carpet in the bedrooms and wood flooring in the hallway and living room. Wood can be quite hard and loud and by adding a rug and using complimentary colours on the walls you can create rooms that are more welcoming, just what you want after a hard day’s work.
In your living areas, select a wall to have a bold colour, wallpaper or a print on it. myfotowall.com will take any image and produce custom wallpaper – you might want to consider your favourite landscape, a beach view or even a nebula taken from the Hubble Telescope. Paint the other walls in a colour to compliment the feature wall, removing all traces of the magnolia colour favoured by developers!
In the kitchen you can easily change the cupboard doors or the standard worktop to compliment the new decor of the apartment, this is a very cost-effective way to make the kitchen unique. In the bedrooms you want to feel relaxed and calm so consider replacing the regulation, often cheap, carpet with a lovely thick pile one so that you can dig your toes into it. Painting the bedroom in a dark colour will make it totally unique and chocolate-brown or a rich jewel colour such as dark red shown below is a good choice for the walls.
If the apartment has storage radiators and is not gas heated then you can install some well designed radiators that are electric and very efficient, I recommend the glass range by Quantum Glass. A glass radiator really does give a wow factor and add interest to a bland interior.
In your bathroom you could ask your builder to build a light box and front it with a wafer thin piece of agate as shown below. The light shining through the stone makes a wonderful effect, especially useful if it’s an internal bathroom with no natural light.
All of these suggestions above will help take our bland ‘ready for market’ apartment to a home that reflects your style and is designed for your lifestyle.