You are unique and your home should be too. Here’s how to add character and personality to your home with 23 ways you can do it now.
What is character in a home?
Have you ever heard someone say, “oh, he or she is such a character!” They are usually talking about someone who is fun, and personable, and knows how to engage with people or make them laugh.
So how do we apply that to our homes? Not the laughing part but how can our home be a place that is fun, full of personal style, and a place where people feel comfortable? How can we design that mood we all love in our homes?
How do I make my house have character?
Just like that magnetic person that you are drawn to, a house can be given so much character.
When you put yourself (and whoever is living in the home) and what you truly love into your space, it will reflect who you are. A house is just more than four walls.
Add items that show your spirit, and your home will always be authentic and rich with personality. Well, provided you are willing to share yourself, your passions, and your loves.
Even sparse, modern homes can exude character when they have elements that are special (usually custom) and carefully curated.
Custom doesn’t always have to mean expensive. Think of it as tailored to the customer (YOU) and that can be done by you!
A Jane Austen quote:
“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”
23 ways to add character and personality to your home
Here are my favorite ways to add personality and soul to a home:
Some lighting is the jewelry of a room and can make a statement. Choose light fixtures that have personality and provide a mood.
If you really don’t need that huge fan in the ceiling, take it down and add something that will show your style. Put a fixture in an unconventional spot, or add a ceiling medallion to make a basic chandelier feel special.
Rooms need multiple layers of lighting for different tasks, so make your lamps fun and add something unique there too.
Upgrade the doors and trim
To bring character to a new build, try switching up the doors to either an upgrade or something with history like a vintage door.
For a vintage option, the key is to purchase an old door slightly larger than your opening so it can be cut and fitted to your opening. This is much easier than having to adjust walls.
Old doors can also be utilized on sliding tracks to save on space. Unique hardware can really make the door stand out as a statement as well.
Upgrading window or door trim can add character to a new home. Frankly, it can bring quality to a home of any age and is an easy DIY project with the right tools.
New hardware will really change the look and add character to your home. Think of doorknobs, drawer pulls, and hooks.
Hardware is the jewelry of a room and can really define your style and add a layer of good design to your space.
Don’t forget the ceilings
So many times people simply forget about their ceilings. However, ceilings are an amazing way to instantly add character to a spot. Remember, a home is more than four walls, it’s actually five!
Adding architectural interest to the ceiling with paneling or wood will not only add a wonderful layer and depth to the design of an area, but can provide a gorgeous focal point as well.
Ceilings can also be painted a color or even wallpapered. Either way, whatever your approach, look up and don’t forget the ceiling! It will make a huge difference in the room.
Add furniture to the kitchen or baths
Daydream for a minute with me and let’s go to a farmhouse in the English countryside. What do you see? Kitchens with freestanding furniture, area rugs, a hearth, and small wood bins. Antique furniture, even just a chair to lay a bag on or toss a robe on, allows it to work in a bathroom as well. That is real charm!
You can add furniture to a kitchen or bath, even in a modern home, to bring character and purpose to the space. If the room is small, replace the vanity or cabinets with furniture that can be transformed to function as needed.
Adding personality and being creative are the best affordable ways to make your home your own unique haven.
Respect it’s history
With a new construction home, it’s important to bring items into the space that create character. But with an older home, there is already a history.
A life has been lived there, and there may be good bones waiting to add warmth and style. Respect the history of your home and its original style.
You can still make it your own and offer eclectic elegance and charm, but not fighting who the house is will serve you best.
Window treatments are such an important layer to adding character and personal style to a space. This is the number one area I always allocate in my budget and spend as much as I can.
Whether it be roman shades, plantation shutters, or draperies, window treatments do more than just control privacy and sunlight.
Wallpaper is my favorite way to add personal style to a home, as it brings in color and pattern. You don’t even need to wallpaper the entire room, as one focal wall could make a specific zone pop.
I even love to wallpaper boring spaces like a laundry room or closets. Not only does it add great detail, but it makes those mundane chores like laundry or hanging up clothes that much more enjoyable when looking at charm and beauty.
Built-ins + cubbies
Built-ins not only have the power to completely transform a zone, but the storage they provide always makes a big impact on the house.
Open shelves are a great place to display collectibles and show your style and personality. And if the room is smaller, they can provide much needed storage with charm while saving space.
If you have a new build home in your future, definitely add built-ins to your budget. They will add instant character to your home, and with an interesting paint color, can make the home feel storied.
Statement tile or carpet
I’m all for classic choices when designing a new build property, but you gotta add a little fun and character somewhere. Statement tile or carpet is another way to add layers of personality and color.
In my home, which is Cape Cod architecture, I made classic yet personal choices throughout the house. But when we got to the basement, it was a safe place to have a little fun and add color and pattern to an otherwise bland space with patterned tile.
My husbands home office also got some great patterned carpet. It adds a layer of pattern and style in the space.
Create a focal point
One of the best ways to add character to a room is to establish a focal point. Whether it be a real or faux fireplace, statement wall treatment, paint mural, or a gallery wall, add spirit and warmth by making a specific area for your eye to go.
This will not only show your personality in how you execute your display, but it can be the anchor to a large area.
Especially in a new home, rooms need warmth and a soul to be woven from spot to niche and beyond. This will bring the space together.
Mirrors are such a good way to bounce light throughout your space and bring a reflective surface that can expand your room while adding charm.
Try vintage mirrors that have a patina, and those with textured frames that can really show personal style.
Be weird if you want
The good thing about decorating your home for your pleasure and eye is that there are no design police that come over and tell you that you are doing anything wrong. So if you want to be a bit weird, or super colorful, with whatever breaks you out of the mold, then go for it!
In my own home, I am lucky enough to have a home office which is my place alone. Being a designer, I love many styles, so in this room I am able to embrace a bit more casual, rustic, and unique look that speaks only to me and try out all my weird ideas.
It’s okay if you don’t like it, it’s just for me. And that’s how you should think about your space. So be bold and colorful, paint those walls a rainbow of shades if that is what you love! Let your ideas flow and think outside the box!
Whether new home or renovating an old one, built in window seats can instantly add a little character and whole lotta charm!
There is just something so cozy about curling up in a window seat, reading or having great conversation, and watching the world go by outside.
Window seats can even provide storage with cabinets, drawers, or an open area below them.
Consider the view
Do you have a great view from your windows? If not, create one to add to the beauty of your home.
Before I finished my side yard, I looked out to an unfinished weedy patch. Sadly, that was the view from the kitchen table. So when we designed the landscape and had a refresh in the backyard, I created a little space that would add charm and whimsy from my view inside.
If you have a great view, put together a cozy seating area where you can look out and enjoy it from inside too.
Highlight nooks + crannies
Pass through areas can become nook and crannies, and even provide areas to store all the things.
Reevaluate hallways, dead ends in rooms, and make them into comfy spaces that can add character to your home.
Bring in the art
I love art, especially vintage art! I believe that the patina of vintage art can instantly add character.
So whether you have an artist in the family, heirloom pieces, great photography, or the beginnings of a great vintage art collection, bring it in and let the personality shine!
Display your collections
Collections aren’t just for the dining room hutch. Displaying your flea market finds throughout your rooms will add character and show off the things you really love.
Whether it be ironstone, milk glass, or mustard yellow stoneware, the depth of colors will bring a bit of history as well.
Open shelving in a kitchen can display everyday items and provide easy access living.
Add architectural interest for the ultimate home character
To make your rooms feel completely transformed, add architectural interest with beadboard, groove panelling, batten board, moulding, or shiplap.
These additions can make an entire space feel storied, and add instant character to a new build. I even love to add vintage architectural pieces to a renovation or new home to give it extra patina. Read more here about how to add architectural salvage for interest in your home.
Decorate with vintage
Antique furniture is definitely made better than most of the wildly available pieces today. It can also add a history to a space that is not found any other way for the budget.
Think of adding large staple pieces that ground a room, like a dining room table, kitchen table, a hutch, a secretary or desk and smaller entry and side tables. Choose pieces that have something special in their shape, color, or patina.
You can always paint a sturdy piece that has seen better days and needs a little finish refresh. Give a new look to an old piece with a chalk and clay paint.
Start at the entry
The entry of the home starts the story and can set a specific mood of character and charm, whether it be a new build or renovation.
Even if the entry is large or small, add elements that create the warmth you are seeking.
When you establish your cozy mood upfront, you can instantly add character to a new entry that will define things to come. This should be the beginning of all your great ideas to add style.
Small ideas can have big impact. These were all affordable ways to really add some punch to the entry.
Make the kitchen a gathering place
If you don’t have a huge budget for a kitchen redo, don’t fret. There are so many ways to add character to your kitchen.
From open shelving, to transforming cabinets or countertops with paint, updating hardware, refreshing the walls, or simply styling out the space with vintage finds, the kitchen should feel like a place people want to be.
Gather all your ideas of how to entice the senses, and begin with those that are in your budget. Sometimes the affordable ways of adding character, are the best ways.
Books + photographs
Even if you aren’t a book lover, adding vintage books to your decor can bring character to your home.
Books add a charm that make you think of cozy nights in front of a crackling fire reading, or sitting in the window seat daydreaming and reading a story that takes you to another time. Books can tell a lot about the homeowner.
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About Creating a Home
A new build or an old home
Whatever your circumstance, and wherever you live (even rental living) there are easy ways to add character and personality to your home.
Simply lean into the things you love most, bring out those items that tell your story, and create a mood that you want to evoke.
For more inspiration, follow me on Pinterest. I have some great boards that I know will inspire you.
Shop some of my favorite things for my home here.
What are some of your favorite ways to add personality to your home? Tell me in the comments below!