How To Successfully Design & Remodel an Old Home

  • Balancing modern amenities with the historical charm of an old house is key to successful remodeling.
  • Preserve original features where possible to maintain authenticity and add value to the space.
  • Use creative design to make the most of unique spaces and layout challenges presented by older homes.
  • Repurpose old furniture and incorporate elements from the house’s original design for the character.

Old homes are often full of character and charm, but they can also come with many unique challenges that make designing and remodeling them a little more complicated than working with a newer home. Whether you’re looking to renovate an old Victorian, farmhouse, or craftsman-style home, here are some key tips and tricks to keep in mind that can help you make the most of your space while preserving the integrity and history of your house.

Consider Modern Updates That Complement Your Home’s Style

One of the biggest challenges when designing and remodeling an old home is balancing modern amenities with the home’s original style and character. You don’t want to completely modernize the space and lose its historic charm, but you also want to ensure that your home is functional and livable. One solution is to choose modern updates and amenities that complement your home’s overall style and architecture. Here are some solutions to consider:

Use Modern Technology

Incorporating modern technology into your old home can significantly enhance its functionality without compromising its historic charm. Smart home technology, such as programmable thermostats, security systems, and home automation devices, can seamlessly blend with your home’s aesthetics while providing modern convenience. Energy-efficient appliances and lighting are another great way to introduce modern technology, offering both cost savings and environmental benefits.

Incorporate Elements From Your Home’s Original Design

Utilizing elements from the original design of your house will maintain its historical authenticity while allowing for comfortable living. This could mean restoring original hardwood floors, maintaining unique moldings, or exposing the original brickwork. However, if certain features are beyond repair, you might consider replicating them instead. There are numerous resources and reproduction hardware options available that can help you retain the old charm while still renewing the space.

Consider Repurposing and Updating Old Furniture Pieces

Repurposing old furniture pieces is a fantastic way to enrich your old home’s character while being environmentally friendly. It not only gives new life to outdated or worn-out pieces but also adds a touch of nostalgia and uniqueness. For example, a weathered wooden ladder has the potential to become a delightful bookshelf, while an antique dresser can be repurposed as a unique vanity during a bathroom renovation.

man happily choosing new furniture for home

Preserve Historic Features Whenever Possible

One surefire way to maintain your home’s historic charm and add value to your space is to preserve its original features as much as possible during renovation. Elements like historic trim, crown molding, and original wood floors can add character and warmth to your home, and they’re often difficult (and expensive!) to replace once they’ve been removed. Here are some areas of the house to prioritize:

The Exterior

The exterior of your home is the first thing people see and can significantly impact its curb appeal. When designing and remodeling, be careful not to make drastic changes that could alter the home’s original appearance. Instead, focus on restoring or repairing any damaged areas while maintaining the house’s overall style.


The bathroom, often a small but impactful space in your home, offers endless opportunities for blending modernity with historical charm. When remodeling, it’s crucial to retain features such as vintage tiles and antique fixtures where possible, enhancing them with modern amenities for comfort and functionality. If your bathroom requires extensive remodeling, it might be worth consulting with a reliable bathroom remodeling company that specializes in old homes. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations, ensuring that your bathroom serves your modern needs and remains true to the original spirit of your home.


Fireplaces are often considered the heart of a historic home and are also one of the most sought-after features for many homeowners. If your old home has a fireplace, consider restoring it rather than removing it. You can update the fireplace with modern gas or electric inserts while still maintaining the original mantle and hearth.

modernized fireplace with cozy space near it

Make the Most of Your Space

Older homes often come with some unique challenges when it comes to space planning. You may have smaller rooms, narrow hallways, and awkward layouts to contend with, but with some creative thinking and thoughtful design, you can make the most of your space.

Look for opportunities to create multipurpose rooms and flexible living areas, and consider adding built-in storage or converting an attic or basement into usable living space. Moreover, don’t be afraid to experiment with color and texture to add depth and character to small spaces.

If possible, consider working with a designer or architect who has experience with old homes. They can help you come up with creative solutions to make the most of your space while preserving its unique character and history.

Remodeling an old home is a unique experience that requires thoughtful planning, creativity, and attention to detail. By keeping these tips in mind as you embark on your renovation journey, you can create a space that honors the history and character of your home while adding modern amenities and your own personal touch. From preserving original features and choosing complementary modern updates to making the most of your space and blending old and new design elements, these tips can help you create a beautiful, functional home that will be enjoyed for generations.

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