I’m gonna be blunt. Most of the homes built in the last 20 years lack character.

Unless you’re willing to shell out the dough for a custom home, the days of wrap-around porches, lead-pane windows, and exquisite craftsmanship are long behind us.


But there’s good news! Even if your house was thrown up in less than 2 weeks by a mass-producing builder, you can totally give your home a character boost. This is the first post in a series that will show you five easy ways to upgrade your builder-grade home to appear custom.

Lighting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to make your home look and feel custom. Most of these suggestions won’t even require a contractor or special-ordered fixtures. You can go down to your local hardware store right now (provided you’re reading this during business hours), choose a new fixture, and finish the job this weekend.

You can add instant impact to your kitchen by installing task lighting under the cabinets. Replace the can lights above your island or bar with pretty pendants. You can even have a professional replace a fluorescent box light with recessed LED lights. If that’s not an option, you can replace the old box with a new one. They make some today that really aren’t that bad.

If you have a formal dining room, mount sconces on the walls for an intimate atmosphere. While you’re at it, change that blah chandelier above the kitchen table to something more unique.

One of the best ways to improve your lighting situation in the bathroom is to replace that vanity light that’s installed in every tract home in America. You know the one I’m talking about…


This is better:

Another popular bathroom trend is adding a chandelier over your garden tub. This can make your bathroom feel instantly luxurious.

Perhaps the easiest and most common method of customizing your home is to replace your bedroom ceiling fan with something that better fits your style. Edison bulbs have been popular for the last few years, and I can see this trend staying with us for a while.

You can also have a contractor wire reading lamps directly to the wall beside your bed. I love this look.

Another great way to make your home feel custom-built is by changing your light switches to dimmers. Most hardware stores sell dimmers for under $30. Add them to your bedroom, the living room, the dining room, and the new chandelier in your bathroom! 😉

Interior lighting isn’t the only option we have for customization, though. Attractive outdoor lighting is often severely lacking in builder-grade homes. Switch the old fixtures by your front door for new ones. If you want your exterior to really pack a punch, hire a landscaper to install lights under your trees, in your flowerbeds, and along your walkways. You can also DIY with solar lights.

Whether you’re going for a relaxing, energizing, or romantic vibe, lighting is key to creating the mood you want in a particular space.

Come back next week for Customizing Your Home: Part 2!

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