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How to Liven Up a Cookie-Cutter House

Buying a home requires balancing a lot of needs. Home buyers have to consider everything from the neighborhood to the home’s state of repair, the down payment to the local school district. When all is said and done, the home that checks all your boxes might lack a little of the character you always dreamed about. 

Fortunately, the easiest thing to change about a house is its interior and exterior design. Read this guide to learn how to liven up a cookie-cutter house so your property matches your personality. 

1. Give Each Room More Color 

Builders and home sellers alike often choose the colors with the most popular appeal. While neutrals can be gorgeous, they can also feel boring if you dream of a home that has a little more visual interest. Your neighbors likely have rooms in the same light gray or beige color as yours.  

You can change this before you even move in all your stuff. Look for paint colors that add something bright and fun to your home. Lighter colors give a house personality compared to neutrals that blend into the background. Then, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add in fun design elements like accent walls and contrasting colors. 

2. Add Landscaping and Flower Boxes 

Natural elements like plants and flowers can do a lot to make a cookie-cutter home look more vibrant. Add a few flower boxes to the front of your home. You’ll immediately boost your property’s curb appeal and create something new on a street full of repetition.  

Landscaping is another great way to liven up a cookie-cutter house. Add something to your yard that no one else has. You could grow an apple tree in your front yard or privacy bushes along your fence. If you’re a more serious gardener, you can also start planning your garden beds to create landscaping that lives and breathes unique character. 

3. Change Your Lighting 

The right lighting will make any house feel like a home. It can also make properties stand out in a neighborhood. Accent lighting — like a lamp post or garden lights — draws the eye by making outdoor living spaces perfect for celebrating even when the stars come out.  

Interior lighting is another change that can make a big difference in the feel of a home. Start by maximizing the natural light available to you by playing with window draperies and shades. For darker seasons and times of day, implementing smart lights can help you set different moods in a snap. The living space you once felt was drab can become energizing, cozy or romantic without expensive changes. 

4. Swap Your Doors 

Your entrance doors are easy ways to affect character without large-scale renovation. You don’t have to stick with the doors that came with your house. Swap them out for different designs for an instant upgrade. Make your new front door colorful or match your interior doors with your decorating. 

For the interior, changing an entrance can change up the flow of the entire space. Anyone with a revamped farmhouse design could use a sliding barn door to cover a closet entrance in a kid’s room or hallway.  

Transform the door to your bedroom by widening the doorframe and installing French doors. See what’s available at your local hardware store or compare door designs online to find one that matches your dream home. 

5. Replace Your Baseboards 

Many cookie-cutter homes use the most basic building materials because the project is streamlined. As a result, your baseboards may only be an inch or two tall. Pry them away from your wall and replace them with baseboards of a different design or color. After just a few minutes of installation, the entire room will look brand new. 

Note that this change works best if you’re confident in your DIY skills. Not sure how to work with baseboards? Read about how you can remove them with a putty knife to avoid paying costly contractor fees. Anyone can swap them for a modern design with a nail gun and some caulk. 

6. Get Stunning Porch Furniture 

If your home has a front porch or patio, new furniture is a clever way to make it stand out from the others on your street. Invest in pieces you’ll see from the road, like large couches or wicker daybeds. Hanging plants, seasonal decor and other small touches can also contribute to the home’s character. 

You could even use the opportunity to make your porch a year-round space. Add a patio heater that matches your furniture so chilly wind doesn’t keep you from watching sunsets on your porch. 

Smart Ways to Liven Up Your Cookie-Cutter House 

You may feel stuck in a home that’s exactly the same as your neighbor’s, but there are many ways to figure out how to liven up a cookie-cutter house.  

Whether you work on your property’s interior or exterior features, your home will look radically different and match your personality more closely. 

Guest article written by Evelyn Long is a Baltimore-based real estate writer and the founder of Renovated, a web resource for home improvement and market trends.  

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