How to give new life to an old home

Older homes are often said to have ‘character,’ but after a while, that character can become outdated and too retro for the times. So, how do you take an older house and turn it into something modern with that homey touch? Here are a number of ways to take your home from old to modern without losing what makes it special:


  • Keep original brickwork. Brick adds a certain element of character. If the bricks are worn and need some attention, you can always paint them to match the new exterior of your home. The textured look adds visual appeal to your design.
  • Don’t be afraid to show some wood. Unpainted wood can give rooms a rustic, warm ambience while maintaining some character that only an older home would have.
  • Try incorporating some retro colours, like a dark green or burnt orange. These go great with natural wood colours and make the space stand out from other regular homes.
  • Keep some of the old backsplash. It’s probably best to ditch most of it, but keeping a small area to add character to a feature wall is never a bad idea.
  • Don’t hide beams. These give the space a sense of history while also looking polished and sturdy.
  • Hold onto the original trim – they just don’t make it like they used to. Do whatever you can to hold onto the intricate design of old trim to give your space personality.
  • If you aren’t a fan of open concept, keep the old door frames. They’re sturdy and highlight the original beauty of the space.
  • If your original window frames are still in good shape, keep these as well. Give them a darker paint job that matches the trim throughout the room to really draw the eye to the beautiful craftsmanship.
  • Keep some unusual retro finish. This adds something unique to a room and will help maintain the quaint charm of your old home.
  • If the house has a fireplace, don’t upgrade it to something modern. The vintage look of the old brick and the screen add contrast and definition without taking up too much space. If the look of the old fireplace doesn’t match the aesthetic you’re going for, build it out instead of pulling it out. You can keep the original brickwork to add some character and put a wood-burning stove in the new nook to hold onto that rustic, wood-burning feel.
  • Add unique furniture. Nothing adds character like an interesting chair or table here or there.


Keep these ideas in mind when you’re transitioning from old to new, but also being careful to not give up what makes the old space so great. It may not be easy, but giving your home a modern, yet vintage, look could be what sets your home apart from all the others.

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