Not many people are lucky enough to live in a historic home. These homes often possess a unique layout, quality structure, and intricate details. Not to mention they often even have their own story and lots of character and charm. They are a dream come true of many homeowners! However, the way we live has changed a lot. From the way we work to the way we socialize, the needs of a 21st-century family are quite different from families who built these homes. For that reason, many owners decide to renovate or redecorate their homes in a manner that will blend the old with the new. In this article, we’ve prepared some guidelines that will help you to furnish a historic home for modern life. Whether you already live in a beautiful old house or you’re planning to buy one, here are some ways to combine the historic charm with modern design!
Preserve the old charm
If your home has good bones or a unique structure and layout, there’s no need to do a complete reconstruction. Of course, some restoration might be a good decision, depending on the condition of your home. However, most designers will work around the home’s unique features and try to preserve them. Quality hardwood, stained floors, staircases with beautiful banisters, or hand-made rosettes and ornaments are the features that give your home its distinct look and character.
What’s best is that you can easily incorporate them into the more modern styles and trends. You can furnish a historic home for modern life by opting for a new color palette, adding luxurious or minimal table lamps or installing modern light fixtures, choosing the right furniture, and experimenting with materials and textures. Signature decorations and art pieces can successfully bridge different styles and make your home come together. That way, you’ll create an extraordinary place that not only looks beautiful but is also very comfortable and functional for a modern family.
Choose a neutral color palette for walls and ceilings
Your historic home probably comes with beautiful molding, trim, and door or window details. It’s usually best to highlight these unique features with a fresh coat of paint. Choose pure white or other neutral hues such as light gray or matte white for the best effect. The white and black color scheme will also work great and create a perfect backdrop for your furniture and decoration. This way, you’ll get to maintain the elements that make your historic home unique, and they’ll combine well with more up-to-date furniture pieces and accent decorations.
Of course, it’s essential to ensure your items don’t get damaged during the painting process. It would be good to store your furniture during the project and hire professional furniture movers to help you. If you have valuable antique pieces, hiring experts in safe transfer of furniture will ensure nothing goes wrong.
Light will affect the ambiance
Natural and artificial lighting is crucial to creating an ambiance and atmosphere that will blend the old with the new. Use as much natural light as you can, and make sure to showcase unique aspects of your home.
For example, if you have stained glass windows, let them shine against the white walls and use them as a source of light and an art piece. If your windows have a beautiful vintage trim, use in-window shades instead of curtains. On the other hand, if you have unusually placed windows (not uncommon in some old homes), you can use draperies to cover them. Or you can opt for light, breezy curtains that will let the light in but won’t highlight the windows too much.
Lamps and light fixtures can also help you furnish a historic home for modern life. You can use traditional or stone table lamps, floor lamps as well as crystal chandeliers, or wall sconces to layer contemporary decor in all rooms of your beautiful home. For example, if you opt for heavy, antique furniture pieces, you can contrast them with modern, minimal light fixtures.
Similarly, if you choose sleek, streamlined furniture, opt for more opulent, vintage light fixtures that will complement the historic architecture and give your home a luxurious flair. Lastly, don’t forget your outdoor space. There are many landscape lighting tips that will make your home look beautiful on the outside as well.
Choose furniture pieces that will accentuate your home features
One way to furnish a historic home for modern life is to choose more contemporary furniture pieces. After all, you want your home to be comfortable and cozy as well as to suit your needs. Therefore, opt for elegant, streamlined pieces that won’t divert attention from the historic features of your home. Sleek, modern pieces will give your home a modern appeal while highlighting its unique features.
Furniture made of wood will go exceptionally well with different styles. Wooden tables, chairs, cabinets, etc., will add a stylish touch and fit naturally. For example, light floating shelves can complement your antique fireplace or brickwork perfectly. At the same time, you’ll have more storage room as well as a place to showcase your collectibles and decorations. Make sure your furniture is properly packed and protected before you move into your historic home. Remember that wooden pieces need special treatment during moving, so be careful about transporting and handling them.
On the other hand, maybe you have antique furniture pieces that you want to incorporate into your new home. They are a great way to add to the experience of history, but be careful not to overdo it. Combine them with simple light-colored pieces and textured materials. That’s one way in which you can combine antiques with modern decor, without different styles clashing with each other.
Use the decoration to bring different styles together
When it comes to decoration, mix traditional with modern styles. Use antique pieces as accent decorations and combine them with more subdued, sleek modern furniture. Colorful and playful accessories such as art pieces, cushions, or area rugs will pop against the neutral background and create a bridge between the different styles. It’s a good idea to pay attention to details that can make it all come together stylistically.
The possibilities are endless! Choose options that suit your wishes and taste and make your home look unique. If you want to furnish a historic home for modern life, the key is to maintain balance and create a space that will suit your needs and showcase your personality as well.
Andrew Greene is an interior designer and a history buff. He enjoys exploring various styles from different epochs and creating unique and distinct spaces. In his free time, he loves to travel and spend time with his family.