How to Style Your New-Build Home

Your new home is a blank canvas waiting for you to add your unique stamp onto it. Our interior designers share their tips for creating the ultimate, stylish space.

Whether you’re downsizing after the family have fled the nest or preparing to move in with a partner, after you’ve chosen your dream new place, the next biggest decision (apart from what takeaway to order on moving night!) is decorating. Don’t panic – we’ve asked leading interior designers, who have created show homes and interiors for Berkeley, to share their tips on turning your new build into a beautiful home.

Get Inspired

Bedroom with Artwork

Choose artworks that are inspired by your location or are locally sourced
Image credit: Bruno Rondinelli; Twelvetrees Park

Even when you’re waiting to get your keys, there’s still lots of prep you can be getting on with. Una Barac, founder and director at Atellior, recommends immersing yourself in your new local area. “Purchasing a home in a particular part of town means we’re drawn to that area. Celebrating the location through locally sourced art is a really good way of personalising the space and rooting it in its locality.”

And whether you go old school with a notebook or create a Pinterest board – a mood board is a fantastic way of keeping your interior ideas together. Frances Hanson, head of interior design at Hunter Design, says: “Take to Pinterest or Instagram to discover your likes and dislikes. Update yourself on current interior trends, look at show homes at your development to understand what can be achieved. And take inspiration from not only interiors but fashion, art, nature, architecture etc.”

Find Your Furniture 

Sofa with artwork

Bring personality to your living room with a bold sofa
Image credit: Tony Hussey/St. George PLC; London Dock

A new home is a great excuse to treat yourself to new furniture. As well as being functional – things like sofas and cabinets can also be great key pieces and really bring personality into your space. Susan White, founder and MD at Phoenix Interior Design [], recommends: “Don’t overwhelm a space with too much, one key item/feature is often enough for a room. For example in a living room, one unique chair could look great as a feature, or it could be a large oversized artwork. Commit to one bold feature.” 

Experiment With Colour

Orange bedroom head board

Be playful and experiment with bold colour and patterns on accessories such as headboards and cushions
Image credit: Simon Winson/Berkeley Homes; Prince of Wales Drive

The colour scheme of a room is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Una says: “It’s important to build on the foundations of the base scheme, ensuring that the colours we choose complement doors, joinery, kitchen and bathrooms. Colour trends are fun to follow. On the other hand, combining neutral colours with accent colours in the smaller, decorative pieces is a solution for a purchaser looking to create a more timeless design approach.” Susan recommends starting small. “If you’re just starting out on the colour journey, be playful. Start with smaller items of bold colours you love, perhaps in a throw or big cushions. Build up your confidence from there. Rugs are great to add colour to a space too,” she says.

Think About Lighting

Living Room with Sofa and Television

Use table lamps and floor lamps to create a cosy ambience
Image credit: Simon Winson/Berkeley Homes; Royal Wells Park

Your new build will no doubt be lovely and bright, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan your lighting. Frances says: “How you light your spaces will highlight key design features in your home. Consider evening and day-time lighting. Use table lamps and floor lamps to bring in a lower level of light for cosy evenings.” 

Susan agrees: “From functional lighting to strategically placed lights that highlight features, lighting is a great design tool. Lamps are wonderful to add to a space – small, thin, chic standard lamps or fun colourful table lamps dotted around your room add colour and a soft, ambient light to a space.”

Living Room with lamp

Decorative table lamps and reading lights add character and highlight features
Image credit: Simon Winson/Berkeley Homes; Hollyfields

Add the Finishing Touches

Room with artwork

Stimulate all the senses with houseplants, diffusers and art displays
Image credit: Simon Winson/Berkeley Homes; Prince of Wales Drive

It’s often little details that really bring everything together. “Think about not just how the space looks but other senses like smell and touch – add diffusers to create atmosphere and give your home a welcoming scent. And don’t forget plants! These will not only look beautiful but also help to keep fresh air throughout your home,” says Frances.  

Susan recommends artwork. “Don’t be afraid to go large,” she says. “Whether that’s one very large artwork in a living room or a full gallery wall of small and medium pieces in a hallway. We love to place art in innovative ways, for example, in a glass shelf under a glass dining table, so you dine above your artwork, or install video screens to show off your digital art.” 

Finally, after all that decorating you deserve a glass of something special. Susan says: “We’re currently loving the bar cart and would definitely recommend that everyone buys one for their new home. They’re fun, glamorous and add a lot of personality to a space.”