If you buy an old house, there are plenty of ways to make it look newer…minor renovations, replacing carpets, painting the walls, updating the fixtures. But what about those new houses that you wish had some of the character you only see in old houses? If you buy a modern home and wish it was a little more charming and classic, there are also plenty of things you can do.
Don’t settle for whitewashed walls and cookie cutter decor. Here are 10 ideas for making your new home look like it’s been around awhile:
1. Invest in some crown molding.
In older houses, it’s all about the small details like crown molding, which provides a beautiful finishing touch to any room. You can do it yourself if you have the right tools, but if not, it’s best to hire someone to get the job done correctly. Crown molding will give your home an elegant, traditional look. Best of all, you can install it in every room of your home in a short amount of time.
2. Mix your furnishings.
Go for a classic layered look and mix your modern pieces with antiques and classic handmade furniture and cabin furniture. Gradually collecting your furniture and accessories over time is the best way to achieve this. Matching Western furniture sets have their place (like the bedroom, for example), but living rooms and dining rooms should have pieces from several different time periods.
3. Decorate with reclaimed bricks.
Lay reclaimed bricks for an established look. Construct outdoor paths and patios with salvaged or recycled building materials. The different shapes and colors of antique bricks will add the old-fashioned charm you seek.
4. Use natural materials.
If you want your countertops or floors to appear older, opt for natural materials rather than laminate or vinyl surfaces. Wood or stone are both better options.
5. Add some antique appliances.
Whether your house in 100 years old or brand new, there’s something undeniably charming about using antique appliances. And you don’t have to go all out—something as simple as one vintage appliance, like a stove, will add endless old-fashioned appeal. You can also decorate your kitchen with smaller vintage appliances, like old-fashioned mixers.
6. Use an old front door.
Salvage an old door and replace your modern front door with it. The old door will add unique charm to your new home.
7. Try installing beadboard wainscoting.
Beadboard enhances any plain wall, and if you have basic DIY skills, you can install it yourself. In older homes, the fanciest beadboard is reserved for the main floors, so try installing it in the dining room or the master bathroom. Save simpler designs for the bedrooms and spaces that are not often seen.
8. Paint your walls with traditional colors.
Nothing dates a home quite like color. And while that’s not always a good thing (think the greens and oranges of the 1970s), you can transport your home back in time by using the right hues for painting. This is where the fun comes in…you can research old color patterns and look at photos of old houses until you find a color scheme that works for you. Victorian and Colonial interiors call for different colors, and sometimes paint companies will have different collections to help you mix up the perfect combination.
9. Build in some bookcases.
Built-in shelving is very practical. Turning empty space into a valuable storage area is never a bad idea. And since many old homes came with built-in bookcases, they will give your home an old-fashioned look. You can have shelves installed into your wall, and there are also several DIY hacks you can try to give the look of built-in shelving. Use them for books alone, or style them according to your personal taste.
10. Install vintage light fixtures.
Nothing will add old world charm to your home like an antique chandelier or old-timey light fixtures. You can find them at salvage shops or flea markets, or you can buy new lighting that is specifically designed to look older.