How to Add Character to Your Builder Grade Home

How to Add Character to Your Builder Grade Home

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Looking for inspiration on how to add character to your builder grade home? Read on to learn more about the projects we’ve done in our home!

Transforming a builder-grade home into a unique, character-filled space can seem daunting, but it’s easier than you might think. Builder-grade homes often come with a clean, neutral slate, which is the perfect starting point for personal touches and creative upgrades. Whether you’re looking to add architectural interest, bring in unique decor elements, or infuse your personal style into every corner, there are countless ways to elevate your space and make it truly your own.

I’ll explore a variety of various priced projects and impactful strategies to add character and charm to your builder-grade home, turning it into a place that reflects your personality and feels uniquely yours. From DIY projects to thoughtful design choices, get ready to transform your home into a cozy, inviting haven that stands out from the rest. Happy decorating!

$$ Lower Priced Projects – Add Character to Your Builder Grade Home

These are some lower priced project options when beginning to dream about how to add character to your builder grade home. Depending on the size of your home, some options like painting the walls could vary by a lot in terms of prices.

Kitchen Cabinets Before upgrade builder grade home add hardware to cabinets
before after

Add or Change Cabinet Hardware (add knobs or pulls or both!)

One of the first things we chose to do (even before we were moved in) was to add hardware to our cabinets. The cabinet doors have a small groove in them for you hand, but I kept thinking about dirty hands constantly touching them. I didn’t want to finish to rub off sooner than necessary.

Dining Room Before Paint How to Add Character to Your Builder Grade Home Dining Room After Paint
before after

Paint the Walls

We spent a majority of the spring and summer of 2022 painting our walls white. When we moved in the walls were tan with off-white base trim. The first winter was soooo dark and gloomy inside. We set out on a quest to brighten dark interiors. We chose a really bright white wall with a nice contrasting grey for the trim.

Entryway before light fixture Entryway after light fixture
before after

Add Light Fixtures

Our house is full of 6″ halo lights, which has been super annoying. A lot of them fall out of the ceiling and a lot of them flicker. We only had a ceiling fan in the living room and the primary bedroom. We added ceiling fans in the two other bedrooms, added a modern chandelier in the dining room, and added flush mount lights in the entryway and primary closet. I also bought the same flush mount light for the hallway, but we have yet to install it yet.

Small Bathroom Before Mirror Change Small Bathroom After Mirror Change
before after

Replace Bathroom Mirrors

I found a simple thick framed mirror that came in different sizes to add a little character to the bathrooms. I have a larger one in the primary bathroom and a smaller one in the other bathroom.

Doorknobs before Black Hardware
before after

Update Doorknobs and Hinges

After we painted the entire house, I added new black hinges and black doorknobs on the interior doors. The only thing that sucks about the hinges I purchased is that the pin doesn’t come out which we found out when we started installing tile flooring. Zack tried removing the pin but they didn’t budge – I had to read the reviews to find that out -thanks Amazon for a useless product.

We also changed out all the doorstoppers with this matte black option.

Bathroom Hardware Before Builder Grade Small Bathroom Updates: Before and After
before after

Update Bathroom Hardware

I replaced the nickel hardware in the bathroom with this sleek matte black option. I also added these matte black hooks in the bathroom for towels.

Living Room Model Upgrade Builder Grade Home Add Window Treatments
before after

Install Window Treatments

I added blackout curtains in our bedroom and added these white curtains in the living room. The curtain rod is a simple option from Ikea and I got these cute finials for the ends.

I haven’t gotten around to the other rooms, but I did add a cute bamboo option for the front door.

Kitchen Faucet Before 2022-08-07 17.13.43 Upgrade Builder Grade Home Change Faucets
before after

Change Faucets

Zack wanted to have the type of faucet with a sensor that responds to motion in the kitchen (when he’s handling raw meat), so I picked out this Moen option.

I have plans to change out the faucets in the bathrooms, but I haven’t picked out my favorite yet!

$$$ Higher Priced Projects – Add Character to Your Builder Grade Home

These are some of the higher priced options to add character to your builder grade home. They are bigger ticket items that you could pay a contractor to complete or you can try to DIY.

Living Room Before Living Room After
before after

Change Flooring

After about two and half years in the house, our LVP flooring was breaking in high traffic areas. We made the decision to install porcelain tile floors. We did it ourselves to save money, but it was still a higher cost.

Hallway Before Updated Trim
before after

Update Trim

As we moved through each room replacing the flooring, we also decided to update the trim. We tried to keep the original trim at first, but it kept breaking when we were removing it from the walls. We also tried to find a match at Home Depot or Lowes, but we couldn’t find it. So we decided to go with a more modern style of a 1×4 board.

Patio Before add character to your builder grade home Patio Extension
before after

Extend the Patio

When I brought my patio furniture from the apartment to our new house, the patio wasn’t any bigger than our balcony. Except the balcony had rails! The furniture was too large. We decided to double our patio footprint to give us some reasonable outdoor living space.

Kitchen Pantry Before Our Custom Walk-in Pantry Progress and Reveal | DIY
before after

Install Custom Built-in Pantry

We hated our closetmaid shelving in the pantry when we moved in. We did trust that it could take the weight of some of the items we purchased (like a box of Topo Chico), so we ended up stacking things on the floor. It was so cluttered and messy and in need of a good overhaul. I designed what I wanted it to look like and how it could function and we diy’d it!

Closet Before Install Custom Built-in Closet
before after

Install Custom Built-in Closet

Just like our pantry, we hated our closetmaid shelving in our closet. I went for a full Ikea PAX wardrobe design and we diy’d the installation. We added trim to make it built-in.

Flower Bed Before add character to your builder grade home Front Yard Brickwork
before after

Install Brick Flowerbed

To add a little curb appeal we hired someone to install a brick flowerbed in the front yard and matching brickwork around the tree.

Laundry Room Before add character to your builder grade home add cabinets
before after

Add Cabinets For Extra Storage

And just like the pantry and closet, our laundry room had one closetmaid wire shelf. Where am I supposed to store anything? How much weight can that hold? Why would I want to look at all the clutter out in the open?

We purchased some pre-fab cabinets from Home Depot and installed them to hide the clutter. You can see the laundry room before and after here.

House Before add character to your builder grade home Gutters
before after

Install Gutters

It is Texas code not to have gutters on the house. We hired someone to install gutters to preserve the integrity of our lawn. We get a lot of rain in the spring and we don’t want that affecting our foundation.

What are some projects that you’ve done to add character to your builder grade home? Let me know in the comments below!


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How to Add Character to Your Builder Grade Home

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