Tips to Add Character to a Builder Basic Home {Part Two}

How to Add Character to a Builder Grade Home - The Inspired Room

Add Character to a Builder Grade Home

Hello again! It’s Cassie here and I am excited to be back with the second part of my builder-grade home series. In my last post I talked about why we bought a builder-grade home and some of our best and worst decisions. This time I want to share some tips for how to make a builder-grade home better.

Most basic, builder-grade homes lack character, not all, but generally speaking they tend to lack the charm of older homes. They usually have less woodwork, basic finishes, and simple lighting- think lots of can lights! When making a builder-grade home better, these are the areas I try to focus on improving.

A great, inexpensive way to add character and charm to a builder-grade home is to incorporate vintage accent pieces and/or furniture. Flea market finds or antique store treasures can be used as-is, or up-cycled and they add good visual interest to a basic room. These items tend to have lots of yummy texture, and that’s always a wonderful thing when your house finishes lack much visual interest.

Tips for Adding Character to a Builder Basic Home - Plank Wall Update - The Inspired Room

Our living room plank wall

You can also bring some texture and visual interest in with adding woodwork, such as molding, built-ins, shiplap/pallet walls, and even doors, like the ever popular barn door.

These are things you might find in an older home or a custom built home. Some basic homes have built-ins included, but they tend to cost the most if the builder is doing them. In our own home, we have done a few plank walls, added mudroom built-ins, and are in the process of designing some fabulous barn wood doors for our office

How to Add Character to a Builder Grade Home - Bedroom Plank Wall - Cassie The Inspired Room

Our bedroom plank wall-after


Our bedroom plank wall-before

Another inexpensive option is to update your walls. Paint is cheap in comparison to other updates and it can make a huge difference in how a space feels. There are also lots of other fun wall options, from decals to removable wallpaper, you don’t always have to make a life-long commitment to your walls, but you can play around with options that make your home feel more personal.

How to Add Character to a Builder Grade Home - The Inspired Room

Cloud decal wall and updated, vintage dresser (more from this room)

How to Add Character to a Builder Grade Home - Seaworthy Sherwin Williams Paint Color

Updated dining room chandelier – Paint color is Seaworthy by Sherwin Williams

My favorite way to add character in your home is through lighting. Lighting tends to be overlooked by many people, but it can be a huge game changer in how your home feels. Not only does adding different sources of light in your home make it feel cozier and more pulled together, the light fixtures themselves can add lots of charm and character to a home. If you buy a builder grade home and get a chance to have say where they put lights, think about any extra places you might want prewiring put in, and add your own lights later on. We chose to do this in our dining room (for a chandelier) and over our kitchen island. You can also replace current fixtures or add fixtures relatively easily if you bought your home later on.

How to Add Character to a Builder Grade Home- The Inspired Room

Updated kitchen lighting and paint (see all paint colors here)

I hope you all find these ideas useful! 

Until next time!

Cassie TIR

We love having our friend Cassie share periodic updates on her home and her projects. It’s so fun to see how she’s personalizing her builder-grade home!  — Melissa

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  1. Cassie, I really love your plank walls, especially the bedroom one. They add so much character to a room!
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  2. Your home is so inviting! Where did you get your chandelier and kitchen Light?? Crossing my fingers a planked wall is in my future :)

  3. Julie davis says:

    Great tips for those of us trying to get out of the builder grade rut. I’m loving the chandelier, can you let us know where you found that? Thanks!

  4. Cassie,
    Thank you for this, it’s just what I needed. We have what I think is a builder grade home. Very charmLESS. Plain, old home that was gutted and is lacking anything like moldings and such. We’ve been pondering moving (as we need more space) and the house is such a drag, I just can’t seem to make it feel like ‘home’ and I can’t figure out what is missing? I picked up Love the Home you have…and hoping it brings me some insight. Thank you for such a wonderful, inspiring blog for us searching for home!

  5. Your bedroom planked wall is stunning and tons of character! It’s very true that you can add character to a home that lacks it and DIY projects are not only fun, but usually more economical! Great post, Carrie! 😍

  6. Love those bedside tables in the master bedroom. Would you mind sharing where they are from? Thanks for the post! Op

  7. Ellen Bogle says:

    Love the plank walls and the light effect behind the TV. Can you tell how you achieved that look?

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