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Stop your new build from feeling cookie-cutter with these clever solutions

The Scapen's Beach Home Project, see more at www.lockwood.co.nz/home/scapen-family-home-te-puna/

Building a new home but want something unique? These creative solutions prove new-builds and personality do go together.

A fresh new home designed just for you is the Kiwi dream many people strive for. But, there’s a common misconception that choosing a new build means settling for a house that feels like it came straight off a production line. The reality these days is that building new actually offers exciting possibilities and the chance to tailor your home to fit your family and lifestyle.

Choosing a trusted building company is the first step to ensuring your new house feels like home. A good contractor can offer you solutions that can showcase your style while streamlining your budget. From design and layouts to interior style and personal touches, we’ve rounded up some essential ways you can customise your dream home journey.

Design and layout

People often get tripped up by the notion that new-build designs can’t be changed. While it depends on the building package you choose, you’d be surprised by the number of customisable options available to you. The secret to designing a home you’ll love for years to come is to know what you want to get out of it. Consider your family life, work routine and social habits, and use this to guide your wants and needs list.

Partnering with a building company that has a long legacy of designing New Zealand homes is your best bet, as they will have a range of plans and designs available that can be tweaked to suit your needs. It’s also worth checking out show homes to get a gauge of what’s possible.

Lockwood in particular has been building innovative homes for the past six decades, which has allowed them to distil their designs into layouts that work.  They have a number of inspiring options, including Designs by Lockwood – their bespoke service that allows you to work with their design team to fully customise your ideal home, and ReadyBuilt – which is a range of cost-effective designs that can be transported to your site.

Make a pinboard of your favourite Lockwood designs on Pinterest here

Lockwood's popular Lifestyler home design from the ReadyBuilt range. See www.lockwood.co.nz/home/lifestyler/ for more info.

Interior palette

Neutrals and new-builds go hand in hand so if you’re trying to add some unique style to your home it’s a good idea to get confident with colour. Using paint to add personality into your home doesn’t have to be scary idea. Soft pastels and muted, windswept colours like sage greens and pebble greys are right on trend and work with any interior. Match this subtle paint palette with warm timbers to bring in some contrast and visual interest. Lockwood’s new light blonded timber walls create a modern, beachy feel, which works perfectly with a Scandinavian style aesthetic. You can always add GIB to the walls once your house is on site if you feel like switching things up.

Remember that paint doesn’t have to limited to your walls – consider your kitchen cupboards, pieces of furniture and even your ceilings as subjects for your colour-campaign.

Fixtures and fittings

Often overlooked for big ticket items, your choice of fixtures and fittings are actually where you can get creative and add flourishes of character. Things like tapware, lighting, benchtops and splashbacks can make a huge different to the overall look and feel of your new home.

Matte black or brushed bronze tapware is a trending kitchen look right now. Combine these additions with a feature splashback (think statement tiles or tinted mirror) and a couple of oversized pendant lights to turn a run-of-the-mill kitchen into a standout space. To get inspired, start by looking at what other people have done with their new builds and make a moodboard on Pinterest. You’ll soon start to see a pattern emerge of the style of fixtures and fittings that appeal to you the most.

Or if you’re feeling unsure, choose a build option like Designs by Lockwood. It gives you access to a whole in-house design team who can help you nail the look you’re after. 

Even Lockwood’s ReadyBuilt option allows you to customise the floor coverings, kitchen, bathroom and scullery fit-outs, interior wall finishes, exterior colour, and joinery within the same wall openings.

Talk to one of their experts to see what’s right for your build.

Lockwood home peka peka


Your furniture, décor and special items are the best way for you to stamp your personal style on your home. Add some cushions, hang some art, place some pot plants and light a few candles – this part is all about adding the finishing touches that will create a welcoming and homely feeling. If you’re planning on buying new furniture to fit your new home try and introduce a mix of textures to add interest. Think: a new sofa dressed with tassled cushions, a chunky knit throw and lit with a stylish new floor lamp. Head down to your local Sallies or have a hunt on TradeMe and see if there are any bargains you can pick up – adding a couple of vintage pieces to an interior can help to create a sense of history. Good quality curtains in a neutral colour are also a great way to bring a feeling of luxury and depth to a fresh space.


Despite it often being left as an afterthought, your garden is one of the best ways to make your new-build feel established. It’s incredible how something as simple as a garden path, new lawn or a few potted plants can instantly transform a building site into a fresh family home. Creating an outdoor living space is an essential way to out a unique spin on your home. Lockwood has the option to add a deck to your new home once it’s landed on your site, which takes the hassle out of this process entirely.

For tricky areas with low light, artificial grass is an increasingly popular choice for low-maintenance landscaping. With a wide range of realistic options that are incredibly fast to install, you’ll immediately feel right at home. A little raised planter bed or hanging garden filled with herbs is a simple (and delicious) way to create another ‘homely’ element. 

The Seasider showhome in Tauranga.

Exterior style

When it comes to standing out from the crowd, your exterior style is where you can make first impressions count. Your paint colour and cladding choice will give your home street appeal. To help you get a visual idea of how your exterior could look, this fun online colour generator allows to you to play around with design combinations. Darker VG Pine with white trimmed windows is a smart option for the stylishly inclined. Similarly, cedar cladding is right on trend and can give your home an architectural feel. Giving your front door a coat of bright paint is a playful yet subtle way to create a unique look and bring colour to your entryway. 

Also think about your style of windows and doors as many new-build plans have the option to switch up your window treatments. With timber interior and aluminium exterior, and specialised glass options on offer it’s a good idea to chat to a design specialist to figure which one would work best for you.

Materials are key when it comes to your exterior, so to ensure your home is built with local renewable resources Lockwood is a good choice. They pride themselves on using sustainable pine with no treated timber waste. A standard Lockwood home is also designed to be highly earthquake resistant and withstand wind speeds of 115 mph, so you can rest assured that your eco-smart home is built to last.

To find out how you can start your unique housing journey visit lockwood.co.nz or call 0508 LOCKWOOD (0508 562 596)