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10 ways to add character and charm to featureless rooms in a modern house

ways to add character

D'you know that feeling when you look around and think: "Hey, this place is looking really rather boring!" The scales may have fallen from your eyes in a home you've occupied for years. Or maybe you've just moved in - and it's time to start turning the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan ...

But how to make that transformation? Well, here are some considered suggestions about how to bring your tired or featureless home environment into something way more attractive.

Wall Art

Use artwork, photographs or prints to add visual interest to the walls. Choose pieces that reflect your personal style and create a focal point in the room. There are countless opportunities to buy eye-catching and stimulating pictures and posters online (old metalwork posters and signs are all the rage currently). But also think of the process as an exciting opportunity to dig out and put to use personal creations or sentimental photos, using material which, although free, will have great sentimental value.

Accent Wall

Create an accent wall by painting it in a bold colour or using wallpaper with an eye-catching pattern. This can add depth and texture to an otherwise plain space. In terms of colours and designs, the world really is your oyster nowadays when it comes to wallpapers and paint.

If you decide on an overall plan, the aesthetic appeal of the wallpaper design is an essential consideration. It should complement the overall style and decor of the room. With paint, consider the color scheme and how it will harmonise with the colours of existing furniture, flooring, and other elements in the room. In smaller rooms, lighter colours and delicate patterns can help create an illusion of space and make the room feel more open. Darker wallpapers may work well in well-lit rooms, while lighter wallpapers can brighten up rooms with limited natural light. Both paint and wallpaper not only serve an aesthetic purpose but also need to be practical and easy to maintain.


Hang decorative mirrors on the walls to create the illusion of more space and reflect light. It's an old trick ... but tried and tested! Choose mirrors with interesting frames or unique shapes to add character.

Decorative Moulding

Install decorative moulding or trim along the walls and ceilings. This can add architectural detail and create a sense of elegance and charm. It's easy to overlook the fact that there are a huge variety of designs in the area of coving and what is sometimes referred to as "crown moulding".

Chair rail moulding is a horizontal trim installed on the walls, typically positioned at a height of around 30 inches from the floor. It serves both a decorative and practical purpose. From a design perspective, chair rail moulding can add visual interest and create a sense of proportion and balance in the room. Baseboard moulding is installed at the bottom of the walls, where they meet the floor. It provides a clean and finished look to the room.

Panel moulding is a versatile decorative moulding that can be used to create visual interest on walls. It is typically used to create framed panels or wainscoting. By installing panel moulding in rectangular or square shapes on the walls, you can give your modern living room a more formal and elegant look.

Textiles and Fabrics

Introduce texture and colour through textiles such as curtains, drapes, rugs and throw pillows. Opt for patterns, prints or textured fabrics that complement the room's colour scheme.

Design features in the textiles used should be in harmony with both the function of the room and the people most likely to use it. They can provide a focus of interest where necessary - or blend into the background if other inputs are the intended focal points.

Plants and Greenery

Bring in plants and greenery to add a fresh and natural element to the space. Place potted plants, hanging planters, or a vertical garden to add depth and character.

This is an area which it's easy to get wrong! Some plants thrive in bright, direct sunlight, while others prefer indirect or low-light conditions. Choose plants that match the available light in your space. Different plants have different watering needs. Also, evaluate the available space in your home for houseplants. Consider the size and growth habit of the plants you're interested in.

If you're a beginner or have a busy lifestyle, opt for low-maintenance plants that are more forgiving and easy to care for. If you have allergies or pets, consider plants that are non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Consider the lifespan of plants and whether you prefer to have long-term companions or enjoy the process of nurturing new plants.

Statement Lighting

Use unique light fixtures as focal points in the room. Choose chandeliers, pendant lights or artistic lamps that add a touch of personality and style. Table lamps can draw attention to stylish pieces of furniture as well as providing a light source in a specific location.

Vintage or Antique Pieces

Incorporate vintage or antique furniture, accessories, or decorative items into the room. These pieces can add a sense of history and uniqueness to the space. You might want to consider installing antique bookshelves or display units to showcase books, collectibles and decorative items. Arrange them creatively to add visual interest and reflect your personal style.

Personal Touches

Display personal mementos, photographs or artwork that hold sentimental value. This adds a personal touch and makes the space feel more inviting and unique.

Remember, adding character and charm to a room is about reflecting your own personality and style. Experiment with different ideas, mix and match ... and don't be afraid to be creative!


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