Decorate your new-build home

25 November 2019

a photo of some paint colour charts

We certainly don’t want to take the fun out of personalising your home, but we do want to make sure you get things right.  So, here are a few things to take note of…

Painting and wallpapering

If you’ve just moved in and your house is brand new, your walls will probably be decorated with emulsion paint. You might be happy with the colour, but if not ideally you should wait until the drying out process is complete before repainting or wallpapering. Decorating at an early stage would only be a waste of time and money, as until the house is properly settled and the drying out process is complete (which usually takes nine months to a year) small shrinkage cracks may continue to appear in the walls – which, by the way, are completely normal in new homes.

When the time comes, make sure you fill in any minor gaps and plaster cracks with a decorator’s filler. Before painting or wallpapering you should remove any existing wallpaper from the walls. Use a steamer and avoid scraping too rigorously – otherwise you might damage the plasterboard.


Many ceilings have an Artex or similar plastic compound finish. These should never be sanded or washed. Instead, lightly brush to remove cobwebs and loose particles before painting with one or two coats of emulsion.


New woodwork tends to absorb a lot of paint or stain, so the first painting may not give as good a finish as later repainting. The surface should be cleaned and prepared properly and be totally dry before you start to coat it.

Every new-build home in the UK that is sold with an NHBC Buildmark warranty and insurance policy comes with a secure, online Home User Guide (HUG). HUG is a free, personalised portal where you can store all the information you need about your home. It also contains useful advice about moving into a new home, designed to help you settle in as smoothly as possible.

This how-to guide is just part of the guidance available on HUG. If you’re in the process of buying a new-build home, or have recently bought one, with Buildmark cover make sure you check out HUG. It’s also the place where you can most conveniently accept your Buildmark cover.

Take a look at our other how-to guides:

How to attach pictures, shelves and curtain poles

How to attach a floor fixing

How to connect a kitchen appliance

How to bleed a radiator

How to re-pressurise a sealed central heating system