Updating An Old House Without Losing Its Soul

If you buy an older home or a landmark property, there’s a very good chance that you’ve bought it precisely because it is a little aged and old-fashioned. Many people love the aesthetic, which is why they often sell high. However, they’re not always particularly fit to modern sensibilities, either practically or in terms of décor taste. You can do a lot to improve and fit the home to your needs, but it doesn’t mean you have to gut it and remove the heart that you loved so much in the first place.


Respect what works

Old homes are full of design choices that would very rarely get chosen nowadays and some of these are going to be little more than eyesores. However, if you see a function that appeals, do more than keep it. Draw attention to it and use it to highlight a sense of prestige about the place. Check out property24.com, for instance, if you have a pressed ceiling to find out how to restore it and return it to its former glory. For example, you can repaint it a stark white and use dark walls to offer a contrast, so it draws the eyes and pops a little more. Show a little respect to the better features of the home.

Embrace the practicalities of modernity

That doesn’t mean that you have to respect absolutely everything in an old home. If something is impractical, then it’s time to rethink it. You might very well feel like a bathroom needs to be gutted and replaced entirely and you should feel free to do so if the existing bathroom isn’t going to meet your needs. Just as you should consider replacing inefficient fireplaces in ill-repair. There’s nothing with fitting an old kitchen with new appliances, either. Don’t feel like living in an older home means that you have to hamstring yourself where modern practicality comes into place. Think about using before styling in all cases.

Don’t live with drafts

One of the areas in which this is most true is when it comes to the energy efficiency and ability to control the temperature and environment that you’re in. The truth is that many old homes are actually better insulated than you might expect. They had to be built better to retain heat in the winter because they didn’t have fueled heating. That said, there are still a lot of changes you can make if your home is poorly insulated without up walls and resorting to wholesale replacements. Services like unicosystems.com, for instance, are great for finding the existing gaps and filling them in without serving too much of a disruption. Similarly, there are upgrades you can make to existing doors and windows if you don’t want to replace them entirely.


Find the replacements that don’t refresh

That said, sometimes a replacement is necessary if a window or door is in ill-repair. We all know the risks, that you can immediately alter the façade of the home and make a mismatch between a contemporary, modern-looking window or door compared to the rest of a classic aesthetic. However, that’s not an issue that you need to grapple with, necessarily. It’s all about scanning the market for the providers that offer the solutions with all of the benefits of modern windows without changing the look. Find out more at historicalwindows.com to see some of these replacements and solve two issues with just one step. If you can’t find a provider near you, however, it’s best to replace what doesn’t work rather than live with it. Especially when it comes to the ability to actually be warm and comfortable in your home.

Tackle those tough spaces

As mentioned, there might be some elements of interior décor that do work and some that don’t. One that clearly doesn’t in the little, awkward spaces that are often found in older homes. Often, these are storage areas for things we don’t use or need anymore and don’t offer enough space for a new room. However, if you don’t want to have to resort to knocking down walls to open them up, you can find a new use for them instead. Services like carptenterandcarpenter.com can help you turn them into bespoke, fitted furniture, for instance. That way, you can make them much better suited to modern storage needs. It also helps you save some space that new furniture might take up, too.

Go au natural

If you want to renovate or find yourself needing to replace walls or surfaces that have fallen into disrepair, you might have a conundrum on your hand. You don’t want to make things too contemporary and create a mismatch throughout the home. But you want to make sure that areas like the kitchen are fit to modern standards. In that case, always think about the natural options available. Could exposed brickwork or stone interior walls make a good replacement? In the kitchen, could a marble countertop look a lot more organic than a granite one? The right natural materials help you maintain a timeless look, while many of them are still more than suitable for modern use.


Don’t fall into a time loop

Just because you’re living in an old home doesn’t mean that you have to live in an old-fashioned home. While you should take care of some of the property’s heritage, going with kitsch, outdated interior design to the extreme can make it look like more of a costume, rather than your own tastes. Stressed or refurbished French furniture can create a great rustic look, but overusing it can look too ornate and distant. Similarly, too many old-fashioned fabric patterns will make for an eyesore in any home. Marry old and new by matching here and there.

As with all things, it’s about balance. Use what works, reworks what almost does, and know when you need to start over from scratch. With good judgment and a little intuition, you can end up with an old home that’s fit for modern living.

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