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January 11, 2024
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Our Top 5 Interior Design Tips for Personalizing Your Builder-Grade Home

Do you live in a master-planned residential community? We do, too! There are many benefits, like community amenities, green space, walking trails, and quality-controlled homes. But with any large-scale residential development, finishes like lighting, hardware, and wall treatments are often generic. As a result, the interiors can sometimes feel uninspired. Whether you moved in ten years ago or it’s brand new, your builder-grade home can be infused with character, warmth, and personality without breaking the bank or requiring a complete overhaul. Here are our Top Five design tips for personalizing your home.   

1. Upgrade Light Fixtures

One of the most impactful ways to customize your space is by swapping out builder-grade light fixtures with ones that reflect your style. We love flush mounts for lower ceilings and hallways, a statement chandelier above the dining room table or stairway, and a charming sconce over the kitchen sink. 

A whimsical rattan chandelier in our Lafayette, CO project. Design: MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography 
Brass flush mounts above the island create drama without overcrowding in this Greenwood Village condo project.  Design: MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography

2. Personalize your Walls

Builder-grade homes typically have light, neutral paint colors that appeal to a broad audience. With no tonal variation, it can sometimes leave your space feeling sterile.  Luckily, you have plenty of options when it comes to wall treatments.

Paint – Paint has the power to transform interiors quickly and cost-effectively. Recently, we have seen the trends shift away from cool grays towards moody blues, earthy greens, and rich browns and reds.  These warm colors feel cozy and comfortable.

Paneling – When it comes to wall treatments, paneling is a great option to add depth and visual interest. Don’t limit yourself to the ever-popular shiplap – think about incorporating wainscotting, beadboard, or fluted white oak to elevate your space.

Wallpaper – Wallpaper is a timeless trend we cannot get enough of.  From florals to block prints, subtle patterns, or bold colors, there are endless options to explore. Plus, wallpaper isn’t just for walls – consider using it to line the back of bookshelves or adding it to a ceiling.

Pro Tip – Do you love wallpaper but have builder-grade textured walls? Don’t let that hold you back! Skim coating is your solution. A thin layer of drywall compound is applied to create a smooth finish. Now, make your wallpaper dreams come true!

An unexpected Portola Paints limewash backsplash in our Eastbridge project in Central Park. Design: MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography
Blockprint wallpaper paired with FIreclay’s “Oyster Shell”  tile backsplash in one of our Central Park builder upgrade projects.  Design: MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography

3. Invest in Built-Ins 

Custom carpentry is one of the more costly options on our list. Still, it offers a beautiful and creative solution to maximize the space and storage in your home. Popular asks from our builder-grade home clients include mudroom, shelving, and dry bar design.  But, our favorite of all built-ins is the banquette seating area. It’s oh-so-cozy, saves space in your dining area, and provides storage for lesser-used appliances. 

Arched custom built-ins flank the Roman clay fireplace in our Beeler Park basement project.  Design by MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography
A banquette seating area in the Eastbridge neighborhood, Central Park.  Design:  MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography

4. Switch Out the Hardware 

Hardware is often referred to as the jewelry of interior design. It is an easy DIY change that can personalize your space. You can choose knobs or pulls that align with your aesthetic, whether it’s sleek and modern, vintage and eclectic, or anything in between. For distinctive hardware finds, Etsy is a great place to look. Brass has ruled Instagram and Pinterest for the past few years, but we’ve recently seen an exciting turn toward brushed nickel.

Pro Tip: Don’t limit yourself to cabinet hardware!  Think about swapping out your bathroom’s generic towel bar and light switch plates. Hooks or rings make hanging bathroom linens easier, and unique switchplates feel custom and unexpected. 

Unique brass hardware in the Willow Park neighborhood.  Design: MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography
Brass switchplates and hooks provide interest in our primary bathroom project in the Conservatory Green neighborhood of Central Park. Design: MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography

5. Furnishings and Styling

What makes your builder-grade house feel like your home? It’s the personal touches that create a sense of ownership and connection. Take a closer look at your existing furniture and decor, and identify what brings you joy and works in your new configuration and what doesn’t. Then, invest in carefully chosen pieces that optimize the comfort and functionality of your home. Personalize your space with items from your travels, family heirlooms, or vintage finds that resonate with you. Doing so will help reinforce a sense of belonging and attachment, making your house truly feel like yours.

Cozy primary bedroom remodel and furnishings project in a Conservatory Green project in Central Park. Design: MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography
Furnishings and finishes project in Lafayette, CO. Design:  MC Design Interiors, Photo Credit: Elizabeth Gordon Photography

Swapping out builder-grade finishes, getting creative with wall treatments and styling with meaningful pieces will transform a generic house into a warm and inviting home. Enjoy the process! Follow @mcdesigninteriors for more home inspiration and interior design tips. 

Are you looking to take on an interior design project but are feeling overwhelmed? We’d love to help! Feel free to reach out – our contact info is below.


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