Stylish Tweaks to a Standard Builder Home

Find out how one couple turned their small new build into a lively family home packed with personality.

home exterior

Slight tweaks set this Austin home apart from its neighbors and challenge the appearance of suburban sprawl. The grade-level front porch was built sans railings, giving the exterior a more open and inviting presence. Pops of bold orange—which stand out against the home's wood finishes and neutral color scheme—draw the eye to the porch.

Our Favorite Exterior Color Schemes

Retro Dining


This Austin-based family ditched the standard light fixture and opted for something much more eye-catching and unique than a typical pendant light. A George Nelson Saucer Crisscross Bubble Pendant from Herman Miller pairs perfectly with rich, navy Eames chairs. Both emphasize the home's midcentury tone. For a clean look and easy maintenance, homeowners skipped an under-table rug.

More Midcentury-Modern Decor Ideas

Baby-Proof Built-Ins


Instead of counter seating, the couple opted to add shelves to their kitchen island. The cabinets not only make the kitchen appear more modern, but also offer easy-access storage for cookbooks and toys. Plus, it allowed the couple to create a built-in play area for their son outside of the kitchen work zone.

Minimalist and Modern

living room

You can be sure this couple didn't buy their furniture as a set. Each piece stands on its own, giving the living room a flair of individuality while still paying tribute to the midcentury theme. Knickknacks, such as a golden deer bust on a credenza, are sparse and striking. To achieve a similar design aesthetic, rely on a color scheme to bring your living room together instead of furniture styles or patterns.

Vintage Vignettes


The couple framed a few album covers from their expansive and eclectic collection and hung them in the entryway of their home, adding some character and color to the wall. Other items, like a midcentury-style cabinet with tapered legs and vintage typewriter, were major finds at vintage stores across Austin. Millwork along the stairs adds extra texture and interest to the foyer area.

Orange and Blue Oasis


A bold painting ties together the many shades of the primary bedroom. Varying shades of orange and blue pair with a flurry of accent colors and patterns to add playfulness to the bright room. While the color scheme is bright and quirky, the furniture reflects the sleek and modern look that can be found throughout the rest of the home. If orange and blue isn't your favorite color combination, experiment by mixing and matching other warm and cool colors.

Open Concept Patio and Yard


On the other side of the kitchen's French doors lies the couple's outdoor dining area. To make the most of a small space, the yard is broken into three distinct zones: one for dining, one for lounging, and one for grilling. If you want to have it all but keep each area distinct and separate, consider using varied landscaping materials to differentiate. A grassy garden is a great place for kids to play, while concrete pavers provide support for a patio set.

Easy Outdoor Room Ideas

Breakaway Backyard

backyard patio with bamboo and seating
Kim Cornelison

Bamboo sets the mood and provides privacy in this alternative outdoor alcove. Glowing bistro string lights adorn the low fence that lines the property, while an L-shape bench allows for extra seating in a space that could otherwise feel cramped. Splashes of coral and turquoise stand out against the patio's natural materials.

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