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Can You Decorate a New Build House Straight Away?

Eager to make your new build feel like home? Many homeowners wonder, “can you decorate a new build house straight away?”


The short answer is that while personal touches can be added through furnishings and temporary fixtures, it’s generally best to wait for construction materials to fully settle and dry before undertaking any major painting or wallpapering. We’ll explain why patience pays off and how to safely add character to your new home in the meantime.

painting decorating

Key Points:

  • Wait 6-12 months before decorating a new build home to allow for drying and settling of materials, which can prevent future damage and ensure warranties remain valid.

  • During the waiting period, use non-permanent decor like soft furnishings, wall art, and strategic furniture choices to personalize your space without risking damage to the building materials.

  • Before painting or wallpapering, conduct a thorough inspection for defects, plan your color scheme considering the desired mood, and consider using breathable paints if you’re eager to decorate sooner.

Why Waiting is Crucial for New Build Homes

Moving into a new build home is exciting, and it’s natural to want to make your mark and start decorating immediately. However, experts advise waiting a few months, ideally between 6-12 months, before applying paint or wallpaper.


This waiting period allows new building materials to dry out and settle, reducing the risk of cracks and movement.

The Drying Process

The drying process is essential in new builds. It’s not an exaggeration to say that a standard 4-bedroom new build house can hold upwards of 80-90 buckets of water in its materials. This moisture, trapped within building materials, needs to be thoroughly dried out to prevent issues such as condensation and mold growth.


Before you start decorating, ensure your fresh plaster on the walls is completely dry. If you apply paint or wallpaper adhesive to walls that aren’t fully cured, you risk compromising their hold due to moisture absorption. Even breathable paint, which we will discuss later, may struggle to adhere properly to new plaster that hasn’t fully dried, increasing the risk of peeling or flaking.

cabinet doors, storage space, indoor living space , energy-saving improvements, cavity wall insulation

Hairline Cracks and Settling

As your new build home dries out and settles, you may notice small hairline cracks, particularly above doorways, on architraves, and beside stairs. This is completely normal and part of the natural drying process. However, it’s essential to address these cracks before decorating to ensure a smooth finish.


Ignoring these small cracks and proceeding with decoration can lead to worsening damage. Cracks may expand or increase in number if their underlying causes are not resolved. Evaluating the size and pattern of these cracks can help distinguish whether they are due to natural settling, variations in temperature, or potential construction issues. This evaluation can help you decide when to seek a professional’s opinion.


Minor gaps and plaster cracks should be filled with a decorator’s filler to ensure as good a finish as possible for the decoration and to prevent the necessity of future corrective measures.

Decorating Options During the Waiting Period

While you wait for your new home to settle, there are still ways to inject your personality into the space. You can introduce color, pattern, and texture into your new build home using furniture and accessories. These decorating options allow your new build to settle and dry out as needed, without causing any damage or requiring permanent alterations.


Adding soft furnishings such as curtains can enhance the aesthetics of a room while maintaining the integrity of fresh building materials. Personal touches like:


  • framed art

  • family photos

  • lighting

  • furniture

  • plants


Adding your own stamp can also add character to your space without making permanent changes. This way, you can start decorating your new home without risking any potential damage.

Furniture Selection

Selecting the right furniture pieces for your new build home is essential. Before you begin shopping, make sure to accurately measure your space to ensure a proper fit. This will help you avoid the stress of items not fitting on delivery day.


Modular furniture, which allows for flexibility in layout and easy adaptation to different spaces, can be a smart choice for new build homes. Consider practicality and versatility in furniture, such as extending dining tables or compact sideboards for efficient use of space.


And don’t forget to use colour strategically in your furniture selections. This can tie together the interior design and add vibrancy to neutral new build interiors.

renovation projects to add value to house

Preparing Your New Build Home for Decoration

Before you start decorating your new build home, it’s important to prepare it properly. This involves a thorough inspection of your home for any defects and issues, such as wall imperfections, cracks, uneven plaster, or dents.


It’s also crucial to plan the design of your space, taking into account the mood and atmosphere you want to create.


If you find hairline cracks during your inspection, they need to be professionally remediated. This often involves not just filling them but also determining if there are any structural concerns that need to be resolved to prevent recurrence. Additionally, ensure that the surface is clean, properly prepared, and totally dry before you start painting the skirting boards.

Inspection and Snagging Survey

Conducting a snagging inspection survey is a crucial step in preparing your new build home for decoration. A snagging inspection identifies both minor cosmetic issues and major construction defects, ensuring the new build meets quality and safety standards.


Upon completion of a snagging inspection, homeowners receive a comprehensive report detailing defects. This report includes follow-up inspections to ensure issues are resolved. Consulting with a structural engineer can provide assurance that essential repairs are properly carried out before proceeding with decoration.


And don’t forget to report any creaking floorboards, as they may be potential signs of defects in construction that require further examination.

Planning and Design

Once your new build home has passed the snagging inspection, it’s time to plan your design.


Gather inspiration from favourite items or external sources, such as:


  • Social media platforms like Instagram and Houzz (see ours here!), which feature real homes and design journeys

  • Design magazines and books

  • Home improvement shows and websites


And don’t forget to test paint colours with large swatches under different lighting conditions. This will help you see how they respond and adjust your choices accordingly to ensure they align with the intended mood and design theme.

new home colour ideas blue

Breathable Paint: A Solution for the Eager Decorator

For those eager to start decorating, breathable paint offers a solution. Breathable paint, such as emulsion paint, can be applied to new build walls before the 6-12 months waiting period is over without impacting the drying process. These paints allow walls to:


  • Release moisture

  • Prevent damp

  • Prevent flaking

  • Prevent mold


However, while breathable paints help the walls to properly dry and allow fresh air to circulate, they may come with limitations such as higher cost and potentially less polished finishes compared to standard paints.


In conclusion, decorating a new build home is a process that requires patience, planning, and careful execution. From understanding the importance of waiting before decorating, exploring decorating options during the waiting period, preparing your home for decoration, to choosing the right paint, large projects, and creating a cohesive interior design, each step plays a significant role in achieving a personalized and harmonious living space.


Remember, asking the right questions and taking the time to do it right not only ensures your new home looks great but also maintains its structural integrity and value.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you paint new build walls straight away?

Wait a few months before painting or wallpapering new build walls to allow the property to dry out and settle. Painting or wallpapering too soon can result in issues like peeling paint or bubbling wallpaper.

Can you put pictures up in a new build?

In a new build, it’s important to check with your managing agent or developer about policies for hanging items on walls, as they may advise you to wait before using nails or screws to avoid affecting your guarantee.

When can I decorate my new build house?

You can start decorating your new build house around 6-12 months after it has been built. Waiting for this period allows the house to dry out and settle, reducing the appearance of small cracks and nail pops that are normal in new homes.

Why should I wait to decorate my new build home?

It’s important to wait 6-12 months before decorating your new build home to allow the building materials to settle and dry out, avoiding potential hidden problems or warranty issues.

Providing Luxury Cheshire Homes

At Elliott Construction, we provide a vast amount of home construction services and products to the North West. We build new homes in Cheshire, and our Cheshire builders are available in the following areas: