Traditional accents in a modern home

How to Make an Old House Look New

An older home allows you to enjoy the perks of historical charm and character, but it also comes with the challenge of preserving the history while simultaneously having the look and feel of the present. You can achieve a happy medium by mixing traditional with modern to create a personalized transitional style.

Mixing Modern and Traditional Interior Decorations

Before we dive into how to mix the two styles, it’s important to differentiate between the two.  Modern style is defined by clean, colorful, crisp lines. Color palettes are simple colors, with simplicity being in all aspects of the design. The design is sleek with minimal clutter, and common materials are steel, glass and metal. Traditional style, on the other hand, boasts a rich, vintage feel, highlighted by dark wood, rich colors, textures, curved lines, and layering. Materials and textures in traditional design include velvet, silk, and finished wood.

To avoid a design disaster, it’s important that you choose one style to be more dominant in your room’s design. This means that the main style will be found in your major furnishings, while the secondary style will be incorporated into your space through the use of smaller accent pieces. Pick a style to ground the room and let your accessories highlight the secondary theme.

It will also be important to choose similar pieces or looks from both styles to create a cohesive and harmonious look. For instance, select similar colors, shapes, and textures from both modern and traditional style to tie your room together.

Or, take a traditional piece of furniture and paint it modern white, or reupholster the fabric on a traditional chair with a more modern fabric to blend the two styles inconspicuously. Blending the two styles will create a timeless design that will last years beyond your design makeover.

Modern home design ideas mixed with traditional elements

Interior Design Tips on Decorating an Old Home

Thanks to built-in bookshelves, wide-plank pine floors, architectural detail, craftsman doors, and intricately designed hardware, historic homes are a dream for many homeowners. When an older home boasts such charm, it’s important to preserve that history throughout your design.

If your home has stained glass, highlight this feature by keeping your walls a crisp white. An older home will most likely be more traditional in its architecture, so try incorporating crisp clean lines and simple colors for a modern twist.

Living room with walls painted “night green”

Challenges to Keep in Mind When Decorating an Older Home

The character and architecture of an older home is a great perk, but those same features can create quite the challenge when it comes to decorating or renovating in general. Some challenges might seem minor, such as imperfections in the walls, while others can be more intensive, such as outdated or painted shut windows, uneven floors, or a kitchen that’s stuck in the past.

If your walls, ceiling, or trim have imperfections, try painting these surfaces one color, such as white. By doing so, you will hide such flaws while simultaneously highlighting the beautiful crown molding and trim in the process.

For a flooring refresh, replace any outdated carpet with more innovative flooring, or have the current hardwood floors refinished to give a fresh spin on the home’s history.

Room with both modern and traditional decor

For more design ideas, visit our Design Trends and Inspiration category on our blog.