4 Design Tips for Older Homes

design tipsPhoto by Tina Dawson on Unsplash

Getting to build or buy a brand-new house is a dream for many prospective homeowners, but oftentimes the reality of acquiring a residence proves to be rather different. A variety of reasons can push buyers to purchase an older house instead of a newly constructed one, but in the end, almost everyone faces the challenge of redecorating and personalizing their not-so-new home. Short of ordering major renovations and remodeling, homeowners can employ some clever decorating tricks to spruce up their older houses. Here we have four relatively simple and inexpensive design tips to turn a preloved house into the home of your dreams.

1. Update the light fixtures

One quick and eco-friendly way to change the look of your home is to switch out the old bulbs and lamps for more modern light fixtures. Perhaps a chandelier with crystal pendants isn’t your thing, and you’d be happier brightening up the living room with colorful lamps. Maybe you have plenty of paintings and sculptures that would fall flat under featureless white fluorescent lights, and you prefer to see them under the warm glow of spotlights. Using new LED fixtures also saves more energy than older lighting options.

2. Work with (or against) your windows

Windows can either be the features or the banes of your homes. If your windows have a great view, flaunt it! Do away with broken shutters or generic blinds and jalousies, in favor of new draperies and perhaps even tinted glass. Got a stained-glass window? Make it the focal feature of your room by letting the light shine through onto pristine white walls. Turn deep windows and alcoves into sitting nooks with the addition of a low sofa or daybed.

If you are not so fortunate to have such elegant windows, and instead you are stuck with awkwardly built ones crammed into corners, or windows looking out on a boring view (or a blank wall), then do not fret! Cover up such windows with shelves loaded with herbs and indoor plants. Other window treatments include fabric hangings and even painted screens that can help conceal the outdoors or bad construction.

3. Make shelving work for you

A trick that works for old and new homes alike is to use shelves to display collections and memorabilia. Combining modern storage features such as glass and metal shelving can liven up a living room, a dining room or just any common space in an older home. There are two pluses to this decorating trick: you can declutter your space and at the same time show off items you are truly proud of. You need not be stuck with an odd collection of knickknacks and souvenirs that your guests will barely glance at, much less ooh and ahh over. Try using shelves to showcase your passions, be they old vinyl records, leather-bound books, or even your own works of art. Not only will these make great conversation pieces, but using visible shelving helps keep your favorite things on hand instead of locked away in storage.

4. Freshen up the paint

If you have time and the funds for it, then give your home a new coat of paint! Take the time to strip away the old layers of paint (chances are there will be more than one of these) and prime the surfaces before slapping on your new colors. Light and airy tints are great for making a room feel airier and more spacious, while darker colors lend a warmer feel to a space and can also be useful in covering up surface imperfections. If a wall to wall paint job all over the house is too daunting, consider simply repainting or refinishing the wooden baseboards and molding in your rooms using a complementary color. Other items to consider repainting include doorways and windowsills, as well as any built-in storage units.

Redecorating an older home may seem difficult at first, especially if there is little leeway to make significant structural alterations. Given a little creativity, this arduous task can turn into a very satisfying challenge of combining your house’s best features with your personal touch, to create a home that is truly one of a kind.

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