How to Make a Cookie-Cutter House Unique

With the rise of tract neighborhoods and cheaply made houses, most of the homes built today look very generic. But just because you have a cookie-cutter house doesn’t mean it has to look like every other house on the block. 

Here are some ways to breathe life into your home:

Opt for Unique Decor

Nothing against big-box retailers, but if you’re buying all of your home decor from Target, IKEA, or another popular chain store, then you have to remember that hundreds of thousands of other homeowners are purchasing the same exact decor. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if the goal is to make your home feel custom and unique, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.

Opt for unique decor by knowing where to shop. Online shops may offer a better variety of unique items like benches, coffee tables, room dividers, lamps, rugs, bookshelves, mirrors, and wall decor. Even something like a convertible sofa bed can help bring a room to life.

You may also find an assortment of options at second-hand stores, antique shops, or estate sales. And if you have a large budget, you could always commission a local craftsman to build you a piece. 

Install Custom Lighting

Most cookie-cutter houses have basic builder-grade light fixtures. But if you want to give your home a unique look and feel, you should consider investing in a custom lighting design that incorporates layered lighting. 

As explains, “Layering your lighting simply means stepping beyond the basic overhead general light and thoughtfully arranging different styles of lighting to create a cohesive and functional lightscape.”

Typically, a layered lighting setup consists of ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. The combination of these three layers creates a beautiful aesthetic that makes every space in the home feel warm and cozy.

Add Crown Molding

If you’re looking to infuse some charm into your home, look no further than custom details that harken the design and architecture of yesteryear. 

As This Old House acknowledges, “Sometimes beautiful old house details are swapped out for trendy design, and newly-built homes can lack the character of trim and custom millwork altogether. If the architectural details of yesteryear are what you crave, get the look for less with some DIY.”

More specifically, you should try installing crown molding, beadboard wainscoting, and other custom trim work. Though it may sound intimidating, it’s actually pretty easy. As long as you have some basic tools (like a miter saw and a finish nail gun) and know how to measure, you can do it. Here’s a detailed breakdown of everything you need to know.

Improve Curb Appeal

Up to this point, we’ve given you some ideas of ways you can spruce up the interior of your home and make it yours. But what about the outside? Since 99 percent of people who pass by your home will never come inside, you’ll also want to make your curb appeal unique and endearing. Here are a few ideas:

  • Paint the front door. For a quick way to set your house apart, try painting your front door. A soft pastel color (or even a crisp black or gray) can make a big statement. Another option is to purchase a new front door and to give it a natural stain.
  • Add window boxes. Add some depth and visual interest to your home’s exterior by installing window boxes. You can easily make your own boxes with just a few tools. (This is a great option if your HOA doesn’t allow you to change the color of your exterior. It’s one of the few ways you can brighten things up without breaking any rules.)
  • Bring your porch to life. Your front porch serves as a transition between your yard and the home. Bring it to life by integrating some cozy features. Benches, lamps, outdoor rugs, and decor all work together to create a unique look.
  • Refresh landscaping. Landscaping is one of those things that requires a lot of time and hard work, but attention to detail will give you a gorgeous look that leaves your neighbors jealous. If you don’t want a ton of ongoing maintenance, try hardscaping.

With a little sweat and creativity, you make your house stand out in your neighborhood (without breaking any HOA rules or building code walls). And thankfully, most of these projects can be completed in just a weekend!

Give Your House New Life

There’s nothing wrong with having a tract-built home or a cookie cutter house in a master planned development. However, there’s something to be said for making it your own. By incorporating a few of the suggestions outlined above, you can do just that. Pick a couple of options and give it a try.