How to overcome ‘white box syndrome’ after moving into a new build home

007 Bellway EM Roman Gate Cooper Rooms

One of the many exciting things about buying a new build home is having a perfect blank canvas, ready for you to add your own unique touches in order to create your dream home interior. However, while some people spend hours scouring the shops or social media for tips and ideas on decorating their new home, others might find the prospect of starting from scratch a little daunting – and the phenomenon of ‘white box syndrome’ can set in.

What is white box syndrome?

This is the name given to the feeling of emptiness that can come with living in a new, undecorated house, which has yet to be given those personal details that make it into a home. Freshly-painted white walls and unfurnished rooms are exciting, but it can feel overwhelming knowing where to begin with introducing colour and character, especially if you’re a first-time buyer who has never decorated a home before.

SO 230802 mysurreynest N17

Image credit: mysurreynest

To help you move past white box syndrome and find your inspiration, we asked Karl Openshaw, Lead Creative at Blocc Interiors, to share his favourite design strategies for transforming a new build home into an inviting and cosy haven.

Professional interior designer tips for decorating a new build home

“Moving into a new build home is an exciting milestone, but the initial thrill can quickly give way to white box syndrome, a common yet often unspoken issue,” explains Karl, who has many years of experience in designing new build showhome interiors.

SO 231204 mychestnuthome N2

Image credit: mychestnuthome_

“It’s the sensation of living in a space that feels impersonal and unfinished. Brand-new homes typically have a neutral colour palette, which makes a great starting point, but it isn’t until you add your individual touches that you really begin to feel at home.”

Add colour and texture

Karl recommends adding colour to your new home through painted accent walls, or wallpaper: “Choose colours that reflect your personality and create a mood you love. Even a single bold wall can break up the uniformity of white.”

SO 230306 bellwayoakmont plot211 N7

Image credit: bellwayoakmont_plot211

Next, incorporate textures through rugs, cushions and curtains in a variety of fabrics. According to Karl, “these elements add warmth and depth, making your space feel more lived-in and inviting”.

Hanging your favourite photographs, artwork, and other wall décor that resonates with you “will not only add visual interest, but also make your space uniquely yours”, Karl adds. “Display mementos, souvenirs, and decorative items around your home that tell your story, and reflect your style.”

Incorporate greenery and natural elements

Indoor plants are a fantastic way to breathe life into a space,” says Karl. “They add colour, texture and a sense of tranquillity.”

SO 230511 N57

Image credit: living_at_ourmisbourne

Karl recommends choosing a mix of large floor plants and smaller tabletop varieties, to add visual interest at different levels within a room.

Invest in quality furniture

Whether you’re moving into your first home, or moving on to your next property, it’s likely that you will need to purchase furniture. Karl advises choosing “high-quality, statement furniture pieces that anchor your rooms. A well-chosen sofa, dining table, or bed can set the tone for the entire space.

SO 230511 littlehousearoundthecorner N4

Image credit: littlehousearoundthecorner

“You should also prioritise comfort and functionality in your furniture choices. This ensures that your home is not only beautiful, but also a place where you can relax and enjoy daily life.”

Layer your lighting

When designing showhome interiors, Karl likes to use a combination of lighting types to create a cosy and dynamic atmosphere.

SO 231010 the bellway victoria N7

Image credit: the_bellway_victoria

“Ambient lighting provides general illumination, while task lighting supports activities like reading and cooking. Accent lighting highlights art and architectural features.

“I also opt for warm-toned light bulbs to create a welcoming and relaxing environment.”

Contrast textures to add depth

“Combine different materials such as wood, metal, glass, and fabric to add depth and interest to your home interior,” says Karl. “For example, pair a wooden coffee table with a metal lamp or a glass vase.

SO 230811 Oakwood6 Georgia N2

Image credit: the_oakwood6

“Think about laying different textures in your décor, such as draping a soft throw over a leather sofa, or a shaggy rug on a hardwood floor.”

Create defined spaces to add purpose

A new build home presents a unique opportunity to design a living space that perfectly suits your lifestyle and meets your individual needs, unlike in an older home, where previous owners have left their own mark.

SO 231005 ourhometheaspen

Image credit: ourhometheaspen

Adding purpose to rooms and areas of your home can be achieved through the arrangement of furniture and accessories, such as area rugs, which Karl says can define different zones within an open-plan space: “Arrange furniture to create conversation areas and functional spaces, making each part of your home feel purposeful and inviting.”

For even more new build interior ideas and inspiration, take a look inside the homes of real Bellway homeowners like Emma and Dom, who have incorporated sleek ‘millennial modern’ styling into their Bellway Tailor home, and Abbi and Jack, whose Bellway Misbourne has a fabulously eclectic interior with plenty of personality. You can also explore the dedicated Instagram hashtag #mybeautifulbellway to see the homes of hundreds more Bellway homeowners, who have all put their own unique stamp on their new build blank canvas.

Header image: The Cooper showhome at Bellway's Roman Gate development, Melton Mowbray

Subscribe to Your Nest

All the latest home inspiration and advice straight to your inbox

By subscribing, you agree to our Cookies & Privacy Policy

Cookies on Your Nest

We use cookies on our website to give you a better experience, improve performance and for analytics. By using this website you agree to our privacy policy and the use of cookies

Consent settings
  • Essential
  • Analytics
  • Personalisation