One of the most common requests real estate agents receive from new clients is to find a home that has character — but what does that mean? Character in a home means different things to different people, but it often involves a sense of uniqueness, that a house is special in some obvious and profound way. The most character-filled homes tend to be some of the most expensive, as home buyers are willing to pay a premium for the feeling that their property is one of a kind.
Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to buy a home that already has character. With the right updates and upgrades, you can build character into any home, regardless of its location or age. Here are a few of the best ways to add character to a house:
Investigate the Home’s Inherent Style
As tempting as it might be to replicate the character you see in other homes, copying and pasting character rarely works as you expect. The most character-filled homes are those with design elements that suit their natural style, and imposing a contrasting style onto your home will only make the spaces feel incoherent and uncomfortable. Unless you are planning to demolish your current property entirely, you will not be able to erase your home’s fundamental architectural design — so you might as well work with it.
Before you embark on your character-building journey, you need to take some time to research your home’s inherent style. You might use a resource like this guide to domestic architectural designs from 99% Invisible to identify the general style of your current home. Then, using the web, you can research typical features of your home’s style and find inspiration from similar properties. You should pay close attention to the materials used, the shapes employed and the ornateness of the decoration, to ensure that the character you put into your home is cohesive and pleasing.
Invest in High-quality Hardware
Character tends to be in a home’s details, which means that you might be able to add the touches of character you desire without embarking on any major renovation projects. One of the simplest ways to imbue your home with character is to swap out the standard hardware around your home for more unique and interesting pieces. Cabinet and drawer pulls, door handles, sink faucets and more can be replaced to great success. Hardware is much more impactful on your home’s look and feel than you might expect, and with a small amount of effort and investment, you should see a major improvement in character.
Consider Adding Millwork
Millwork consists of various types of trim and molding that you can add to the interior of your home. Currently, a large variety of millwork is exceedingly trendy, and many homeowners are adding extensive amounts of paneling to imbue their walls with character. Indeed, well-executed moldings can upgrade the look and feel of a home, especially because millwork can be difficult to hang with precision. However, before you launch yourself into a millwork project, you should be careful to determine whether wainscoting and other moldings suit your home’s architectural style. Many home designs do not suit the application of excess millwork, which could look tacky rather than tasteful.
Improve Cabinetry and Vanities
Many home builders place the same set of cabinets and bathroom vanities in every kitchen and bathroom, with the effect of eliminating this essential opportunity for architectural character. If you cannot afford to upgrade your kitchen or bathrooms entirely, you might focus on making updates to the cabinetry. In addition to replacing the hardware, you might apply a layer of paint that suits your interior style. You can also add decorative details like trim to cabinet doors. In bathrooms, it is relatively easy to replace a small vanity with a dresser or nightstand, which creates a remarkably character-filled look.
Acquire Outstanding Lighting
Altering and adding unique lighting is a good way to make your home’s character shine. Many homes are built with identical light fixtures that lack any personality whatsoever, and replacing these with more character-filled options does much to improve the style and atmosphere of your home. Specifically, task lights and accent lights — like the lights over your bathroom vanity or the chandelier in your dining room — deserve to have more character. Other fixtures that have lights attached, like ceiling fans, can also be updated to enhance the look of your interior spaces.
If your dream is to live in a home bursting with character, you are the only person standing in your way. The sooner you start researching your current home design, the sooner you can start filling every corner of your home with character you will love.
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