With unique architectural details and nostalgic charm, older houses can be a joy to live in, but finding a complimentary decor style can be a challenge. Older houses already have a lot of inspiration built in, and there’s plenty of ways to make them feel more like a home.
Period Features: Decorating an Older Home
If your home has unique or interesting architectural features, you want to decorate in a way that complements them. It can be difficult to know where to start with this, so to help you out, here are a few tips:
- Older houses often come with beautiful features such as decorative molding and trim, and sometimes, all it takes is a lick of paint to restore them to their former glory. Match the color to the walls and ceiling to create a sense of uniformity and flow, adding a touch of gloss to decorative details to highlight them.
- Just because your house is from a particular era, it doesn’t mean you have to match the decor exactly. Minimal, contemporary elements such as neutral coloured furnishings, clean lines and rich textures can help to keep things fresh and modern without losing any of that old-fashioned charm.
- In older houses, overhead lighting can sometimes look too harsh, so consider using lamps and recessed lighting to create a softer, more nostalgic look.
Space: The Final Frontier
On average, older houses have less square footage than modern homes. Back in the 1920s, the average house size was around 1000 square feet. Today, the average size of a single American family house has doubled to around 2,301 square feet.
In smaller homes with inadequate storage space, comfy and cozy can quickly turn into cluttered and cramped, while larger houses can be a little awkward to work with. Fortunately, there are ways to create harmony in an older house, no matter its size.
If Your House Is Big
- Unusual room layouts or an overabundance of floor space can be tricky to work with, so try breaking them up into “zones” using items such as area rugs. Alternatively, you might consider using room dividers or shelving to help break up the space.
- To make things feel cozier, experiment with colors, textures and soft lighting. Items such as knitted throws or soft blankets can help, as can painting the ceiling a shade (or even several shades) darker than the wall can help a large room appear more snug.
- Tiny items will get lost in a larger space – so when choosing items such as chairs or beds, think in terms of proportion and scale them to your living space. Larger spaces also benefit from a few “anchoring” pieces (such as a large sofa) to help tie the room together.
If Your House Is Small
- Large items of furniture might look well in equally sizable rooms, but in small spaces they can dominate the room and overcrowd it, so before purchasing an item of furniture, measure the room as well as the item to ensure that it will fit.
- Open shelving can be a really effective way to create additional storage space in the home, and you can use them to create your very own “shelfie”, an aesthetically-pleasing combination of ornaments, framed pictures and other decorative items. For less-attractive items, invest in a few pretty storage boxes.
- If you have the budget, removing interior walls can help you create additional space in your home. An open-plan look can add a sense of flow and spaciousness, but keep in mind that doing so might alter the look of your house significantly.
When making renovations like these, call in an expert to help you decide whether the end result will complement the original character of your home. Finding the right architect to build your dream home can be a challenge, so seek out a local professional to help renovate your home while retaining its unique charm.