5 ways to pimp up your new-build

Do you live in a new-build or in a relatively feature-less home? Do you actually day dream about all these gorgeous period features you find in Victorian or Edwardian houses? Do you go all weak at the knees at the mere sight of original bay windows, stained glass, cornicing and ceiling roses? What would you give to discover original geometric terracotta floor tiles under your old carpet? Do you have fireplace envy or want to unleash our inner Downton Abbey?

Well, join the club... My first flat was a loft in an old factory in East London and I currently live in a modern townhouse that used to be a snooker hall in East London - pretty much as feature-less as a new build. Bottom line is, I've never actually lived in a period property, let alone light up my own fire... 

But... (god there is a 'but' or this would be the most depressing interior decorating blog post you've come across), this doesn't mean you can't give your pad that little bit of Victorian fairy dust.

You see, there are very clever people out there, who have come up with a range of cool and affordable ways to pimp up your new build (or any feature-less property for that matter). And if you don't want to 'fake it' there are also some modern alternatives to period features. See my top 5 below... I'd love to hear your stories on how you've turned your 'new' into the 'old' so feel free to comment at the end!


1 / Geometric DIY ceiling tiles

If you don't want to go down the traditional ceiling rose route but want to make your lighting stand out, check out those Rhombus ceiling tiles from those clever peeps at Fundamental Berlin. Made of polystyrene, they come as individual 'tiles' that can be fixed to your ceiling and walls with unique patterns to suit your space. They can be painted, then arranged however you like. Each set contains elements that cover a surface of around 1m² so you can get creative and literally build your own unique shape. Genius! 
Available from Fundamental Berlin - Approx. £120.  

Picture via Fundamental Berlin  

Picture via Fundamental Berlin

 

2 / Chim, chimney

If you don't have an original fireplace, well, you can just install a fake one. Simples. You can even buy a mantelpiece and have it installed onto any wall. Get it painted the same colour as you walls for maximum impact!. Abigail Ahern (one of Stella + the Stars' design heroes) stocks this stunning model called Venus - I love the convex mirror too but that's for another post. 
Available from www.abigailahern.com - price on request. 

3 / Get creative with mouldings

Another easy and cheap way to add a little period touch is to install mouldings to your walls (dado rails or panels for example) or even doors. You can easily buy decorative mouldings from many online sellers and DIY shops and these can be used as trims or to add detailing and a finishing touch to walls, ceilings and furniture.
The Victorian Emporium has a good and affordable selection. www.thevictorianemporium.com

Picture via www.housetohome.co.uk

4 / Get tile-tastic

Encaustic tiles (also widely known as cement tiles) were a key feature of Victorian and Edwardian hallways back in the day but if you're not lucky enough to find them hiding beneath your floor, you can just buy them new or even go for reclaimed ones.
A great range can be found at www.wallsandfloors.co.uk. Prices start at £20/sq. m. 

Picture via www.remodelista.com

Picture via www.remodelista.com


5 / Trompe l'oeil wall paper

Sorry, another French word just thrown in here, which basically means 'trick the eye'. If you want to give a room a bit of Georgian feel, but don't want to cover the walls with wooden panelling, check out this beautiful wooden panel effect wallpaper designed by Young and Battaglia. The wallpaper can be used to create a striking feature wall or even decorate a whole room.
Available at www.fashionwallpaper.co.uk. £70 per roll.