How to Successfully Modernize an Old House

a big old house with a modern twist

There’s something special about old houses. They have a charm and character that’s hard to find in newer homes. But if you’re not careful, that charm can quickly turn into a liability. If you’re thinking about buying an older home, or if you already live in one, here are some ways to modernize it and bring it into the 21st century.

Get rid of the wallpaper.

Wallpaper is a holdover from a previous era when people didn’t have the time or money to invest in painting their walls. It was also used to cover up flaws in the plaster beneath it. These days, there’s no need for wallpaper. Paint is much easier to apply and remove, and it can be used to create any number of different looks.

So rip off that dated floral paper and start fresh with a clean canvas. For example, a neutral-colored wall with an accent wall in a bright, bold hue can make a room look more modern and inviting. Or you could use a faux finish to give your walls the texture and dimension of marble or stucco.

Regardless of what you choose, keep in mind that the color should complement the other elements in the room. So, if you have bright, colorful furniture and accessories, choose a more subdued wall color to balance it out.

Update the hardware.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to modernize an old house is to update the hardware on doors, cabinets, and windows. Replacing doorknobs, hinges, and switchplates is a relatively inexpensive way to give your home a facelift. And if you want to go a step further, you can replace old-fashioned door locks with more modern keyless entry systems.

For instance, you could install a keyless entry system on your front door, allowing you to open it with a code or even a smartphone. This can provide your family an extra layer of security and peace of mind.

You can also update your cabinets and windows with new knobs and handles. Look for pieces in different materials, such as stainless steel or brushed nickel, to add a modern touch to the room.

Let in the light.

Older homes often have small windows that let in very little natural light. And while large windows may not be possible, there are ways to maximize the light that does come in. Mirrors reflect light and make rooms seem brighter and larger. The strategic placement of mirrors can brighten up even the darkest corners of your home.

Skylights are another great way to add extra light, especially in rooms like bathrooms and kitchens where privacy is an issue. For example, you could install a skylight above the shower to let in natural light while still providing you with privacy.

In addition, you can also add light fixtures to dark corners of your home. Look for energy-efficient LED lights that don’t draw a lot of power, and invest in dimmers so that you can adjust the brightness when needed.

a bathroom with many mirrors

Remodel key areas.

If you want to really modernize your home, consider remodeling key areas like the kitchen and bathroom. This can involve changing out outdated cabinetry, installing new countertops and flooring, and replacing old appliances with energy-efficient models. You might even decide to add a room or two to make better use of the space.

Whatever path you choose for the bath’s makeover, make sure to hire an expert bathroom remodeling company. They can help you ensure that the renovation is done properly and will last for years. This is because experienced remodelers know the best way to update an old house without compromising its integrity.

For the kitchen, you can add an island or update the sink and faucet. Adding a backsplash with modern tile can also give the room a fresh look. And don’t forget to upgrade appliances like your refrigerator and oven to more efficient models.

Open up the floor plan.

One of the hallmarks of older homes is their small, compartmentalized rooms. While this may have been practical for families 100 years ago, it’s not so ideal for today’s families who are accustomed to open floor plans. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to knock down walls and open up your home’s floor plan.

Just be sure to consult with a structural engineer first to make sure the wall you want to remove isn’t load-bearing. For example, if you want to open up the kitchen and dining room, a structural engineer can determine if it’s safe to remove the wall between them.

Moreover, if you have a two-story home, you can even create a more open feel by removing the walls between the upstairs and downstairs. This will give your home an airy feeling that is sure to please modern homeowners.

Add some green space.

If you’re lucky enough to have a sizeable lot, consider adding some green space. Gardens not only add curb appeal but also provide a place to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

If a full-fledged garden is too much work, try something simpler, like planting some flowers or adding a few potted plants around your front porch or patio. Or, create a small herb garden in your kitchen to add some fresh herbs to dishes and give the room an inviting scent.

No matter what you decide to do, adding green space is an easy way to give your home a more modern look that will be enjoyed for years to come.

If you own an older home or are thinking about buying one, there are many things you can do to modernize it without losing its original charm. With a little bit of elbow grease (and maybe some professional help), you can turn your old house into a stylish, modern space that will be the envy of all your friends and neighbors.

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