7 Ways to Transform a Builder Grade Home into Your Personal Oasis

Below is a recent article written by River North Design District (RNDD) Member Candy Scott of MOOD | Design + Build. As the founder of MOOD | Design + Build, Candy has 15 years of experience in the field of interior design including both residential, and commercial settings.  As the lead senior designer and creative director of the team, she has a genuine desire to create special places reflecting the heart and soul of their clients. Candy graduated from Meredith college in Raleigh, NC with a Bachelor’s of Science in Interior Design. Through the years, she has won multiple awards working with large developer and corporate clients outfitting high rise condominium lobbies, clubrooms, and model show homes. In 2014 she founded MOOD | Design + Build, where she has continued to work with residential clients and small business owners on their homes, offices, and small scale commercial interiors.

7 Ways to Transform a Builder Grade Home into Your Personal Oasis

So you were lured into buying — or renting — a new construction apartment, condo, or single family home. That’s terrific, in some ways, but super boring in others. Especially if your home could pass as your neighbor’s.

New construction has its perks. It’s new for one. But the tendency for builders is to duplicate the same layouts, finishes, and colors over and over again.

If you want something new, can you still make it unique?

It’s all about interior styling. Think about that little black dress. Super basic, but the key is in how it fits your shape, the shoes you wear, and the fabulous accessories. (The same applies to the gents and their classic suits.)


If you want to turn your plain Jane home into a personalized oasis, here are 6 tips to get you started:

Lay out a floor plan.
You can either hire a professional (like myself, eh-hem) to draft your floor plan on CAD and space the furniture arrangement. You’ll want to maximize the space without over-furnishing but also stay mindful of empty gaps that could use something really interesting.

Jazz up your furniture.
If your surroundings are basic, you need interesting pieces. You can stick to classic sofas and sideboards but really get funky with side chairs and tables, coffee tables, headboards, benches, etc.

Paint your heart out.
We’ve all heard it’s the most inexpensive way to transform the MOOD of a space. Well, it’s true. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a little color. And while you’re at it, a fabulous wallpaper will do wonders for your boring dining room, office, or foyer.

Fill your walls with art.
Art has the potential to transform a space. I like to go to art museums to soak in the creative genius and inspiration from all the greats. Pretend your home is an art gallery, reflecting your life, feelings, and philosophy. Don’t just fill walls — let the walls speak.

Rugs, rugs, and more rugs.
Unless you have naughty pets (and sometimes children), take advantage of your floor space. A family room turns into a comfy oasis with a cream shag you can roll around on.

Light up your life.
I always say lighting is the jewelry of your home. Don’t be afraid to swap out fixtures everywhere. If you’re renting, you can take them with you. Just hire a local electrician to wire them. And while they are at it, have them install dimmer switches. These are an absolute MOOD must-have.

Well-placed, meaningful objects are a treasure. Treat them as such. A pottery piece your child made can be an artistic gem if placed well. However, take caution to not overdo it. It can turn into that dreaded thing called clutter. It might take some fiddling around to get it right, but it’s well worth the effort. If you’re feeling stuck, check out Pinterest or images of spaces you love and try and mirror the interior.

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Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take your time to collect and curate. Focus on one room at a time and let yourself get creative. Before you know it, your cookie cutter home will be a coveted space by you and all of your friends and family!

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