Jessica Buckley, from Jessica Buckley Interiors, says:
"New builds are often very uniform so creating a sense of individuality is important. All rooms look better when they seem to have “evolved” over time and have a bit of personality; a room with everything the same style or period becomes dull very quickly. The key is to mix and match a little - use vintage or antique furniture to add some instant history and character and mix in more modern pieces. Don’t be put off antique furniture thinking it’s all brown and ugly - Gustavian Swedish chests, for example, are beautifully pale and could work very well in a contemporary setting.
"When looking at lighting I recommend steering clear of the high street offerings (we’re trying to inject some individuality, remember) and splash out on something really beautiful - I like Brabin & Fitz or Porta Romana for something extra special. Alternatively, if budgets are tight, go for something vintage and scour junk shops and eBay until you find something you love. I once found a beautiful pale pink glass lamp on eBay (see pic below) and had it rewired it with some bright pink cable and topped it off with a patterned silk shade; it’s one of my favourite pieces.
"If you're keen to create the feel of a period property in a new build, the installation of some architectural features is key. Cornicing, skirting boards and architraves are worth paying attention to - but be careful not to go overboard as anything too grand or elaborate will stick out like a sore thumb. Doorways in period homes are often wider than the skinny doorways in new-builds so if you can bear to open up the doorways and widen them, that'll make a difference. If this sounds too dramatic then at least replace the doors themselves - plain modern doors can be replaced with period doors quite easily. Find doors at architectural salvage yards or simply buy new ones in traditional style and paint them a lovely colour.
"New builds are often fitted out with fairly economical hardware fittings, usually something rather tasteless chosen by the builder (sorry builders, but it’s true). Ditch the cheap brushed nickel door knobs, plug sockets, window latches, kitchen fittings, etc and look for something more refined in a polished brass or polished nickel. These are the small details which make a huge difference.
"Of course modern rooms can be decorated beautifully in a completely contemporary style. Personally I prefer some traditional elements, so I would always incorporate them into a modern room. Traditional styles in fresh contemporary colours is one of my favourite looks."