How To Add Architectural Wow to Your Self Build Home

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28 May 2020



Building your own home gives you an opportunity to create something striking and structurally unique. Architectural wow brings out the art in the structure. You shouldn’t have to rely on furnishings or decorating to bring your new house to life; the building itself can do that for you. Read on for a few tips on how to inject architectural glamour into your home.

Vaulted ceilings

There is something about the high ceilings of old buildings like cathedrals that evokes grandeur. Now that more and more people in the UK are designing and building their own homes, they want to create what a standard developer house would not. That includes vaulted ceilings. Not only is their height impressive, they also have the potential to flood a room with light from above. There is the danger of echoing, however, or that spaces might just feel too cavernous. You also don’t want to waste lots of space either. Rather than giving every room an abbey-like ceiling, restrict them just to spaces like living rooms or kitchens to keep them as a feature that you and your guests can enjoy. Hallways often lend themselves easily to vaulted ceilings, creating a striking effect felt as soon as you enter your home. You can also minimise their void effect by exposing beams or rafters, if you’re drawn to a more traditional than contemporary style.

Exposed posts and beams

Everyone loves an exposed post and beam, right? Well, you might not if you happen to be over six foot and have hit your head on one or two over the years. There’s a charm to them, though, something about being able to see the structure of the building that speaks to our historical inheritance. You shouldn’t have to worry about hitting your head on them anymore either as ceiling heights in new homes are significantly more generous nowadays, even with the addition of beams.

They’re also versatile, able to be hidden in the walls or placed in pride of place either side of a fireplace. Some people want post and beams galore and choose to have them all over their houses, some restrict them to the ground floor only, or just key rooms like the lounge and kitchen. For smaller rooms like bathrooms, they can be placed flush against walls, so you can get all the oldy-worldy texture without losing valuable floor space. They’re also a great idea for subtly defining open-plan spaces, so if you want to experiment with different interiors you can use posts and beams to ‘zone’ these areas.

Exposed architectural beams

Feature walls

These are a great option because they’re striking and economical too! A feature wall looks great almost anywhere; why not have a strip of natural stone next to your shower, or textured flock wallpaper in your lounge or bedroom? They’re a great opportunity to showcase a bit of wallpaper, stone, or paneling, that could be too much or too expensive if it were used around the whole room. When used well, a feature wall can bring a room to life. Try combining one with a fireplace for added wow.


The days of the Georgian window tax are long gone, and now more and more people want to open up their homes to the outside. The great thing about windows is that they’re a feature not only from the outside, but from the inside too. And with modern methods of insulation improving every day, large sections of glazing no longer mean lots of draughts. Glazing doesn’t just mean a standard window anymore, either; take a look at roof lanterns for a feature that will usher in light from outside while also looking much more striking than a simple window.

Just bear in mind that if you want towering windows in your double-height lounge, for example, you might struggle to find curtains big enough to cover them, so it might be best to locate the lounge at the rear or side of the property.

Open plan glazed dining area