Decor6 Budget Friendly Updates to Personalize Your Builder Grade Home

6 Budget Friendly Updates to Personalize Your Builder Grade Home

There is no question that purchasing a brand new home has a lot of perks. Unfortunately, not everyone can see past the lack of character or minimal customization that a builder grade home has to offer.

After moving into our third new build home, I have learned that there are a number of budget friendly ways to create personal style and comfort in an otherwise blank slate.

With the purchase of your new home, there will come a time when you get to meet with your design team. If you are prepared with these suggestions before selecting your finishes it will not only save you money, but it will allow you to focus on the areas that may require additional spending. 

Here are my top 6 ways to enhance your not so custom home without breaking the bank: 

1. Lighting

There is nothing more displeasing then the standard boob like lights that come with a new home, thus it is no surprise that this is first on my list of updates to make. Transforming each space in your home with new lights to suit your desired style is a must! Most people think lighting has to be a major expense but it doesn’t have to be. Locally, here in Ottawa, Ontario, there are a number of places including Structube and Multi Luminaire, that offer cost effective and on-trend lighting options to enhance your main focal points in each of your rooms. If you have a room that works well for pot lights, they can be installed after-wards for a fraction of the cost then what your builder will charge you at the design centre.. Don’t be afraid to try a different light in every space but I suggest keeping hallway and adjoining room lights similar or the same.

Here is a picture of my favourite versatile light that can be used anywhere in the home. 

Hallway light and mirror

2. Hardware

When you are at the design centre picking finishes for your new home, I am always shocked by the cost of hardware. There are minimal options and they charge an arm and a leg for upgrades., When it comes to choosing a knob or handle for your kitchen cupboards for example, choose a standard option and upgrade them yourself once you have moved in.Your kitchen is not an area to cut corners but with hundreds of options out there, you’re sure to find one that will suit your style better and save you a lot of money. Try looking to see what places like Wayfair and Home Depot have to suit your style and your budget.

Cabinet knobs

3. Bathroom Mirrors

Change out the mirrors or better yet don’t have them installed in the first place! Not having them installed saves you the trouble of having to rip them off your walls and ruining your drywall and paint. It also forces you to  pick new ones for your bathrooms right away. You can easily find mirrors for well under $100 at Homesense.

bathroom mirror

4. Paint

If there is one thing your builder will surely cut corners on it’s paint. Even if you were somehow convinced that their “upgraded” paint was higher quality you will sadly be mislead. In the initial design of your home, try to stay as neutral as possible allowing for a bright blank slate. Paint can add up quickly so start in high traffic areas where marks and fingerprints might be more noticeable. If you have children you will notice this before you even have your first meal in your new home. Next focus on main living spaces like your living, dining, and bedrooms. A half wall is a nice budget friendly way of minimizing marks and residue that upgrades both the quality and style of a room for half the price. Bonus, if you finish a half wall with a trim it can also create a custom feel to your home.

Paint and half wall

5. Fireplace

If you are lucky to have a fireplace installed in your new home’s plans, don’t feel obligated to have to use one of their limited options for your mantel or surrounding stones. This space should reflect your personal style and be an inviting gathering space for your guests. By opting to leave the fireplace bare and picking out your own stones or tile later will not only save you money, but there is a wide-variety of options to pick from to create a very customized element to your home.


6. Backsplash

Last but not least is the backsplash. With so many options to choose from, including everything from easy to install stick on designs to endless tile and stone options, choosing a custom backsplash in a basic shaker cabinet kitchen can completely transform your kitchen from generic to revived and refreshed. Pair this with your new pulls and knobs and you’re good to go!


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