Modernize Your Period Home Without Losing Its Charm With These Tips

Modernize Your Period Home Without Losing Its Charm | The Enterprise World

Have you inherited a charming older home or perhaps bought one fixer-upper with a ton of character? Congratulations! These homes offer a unique blend of history and architectural beauty. But let’s face it, sometimes the outdated features and lack of modern amenities can feel…well, outdated.

The good news is that you can modernize your period home without sacrificing its inherent charm. In fact, blending modern updates with classic features can create a truly stunning and comfortable living space. Here are some tips to guide you through this exciting process.

Highlighting Your Home’s Best Features

Before diving headfirst into your historic home restoration, take a step back and appreciate what makes your period home special. Is it the intricate crown molding? The gleaming hardwood floors? Perhaps it’s the cozy fireplace or the grand staircase. Whatever these features are, make them the focal point of your design plan.

  • Emphasize Architectural Details: Architectural details are like the jewelry of your home – they add personality and value. This could include anything from original moldings and built-in bookshelves to stained glass windows and decorative hardware. When updating other elements, ensure these details are preserved and accentuated. For instance, consider painting moldings in a crisp white to make them pop against a colorful wall.
  • Restore Original Elements: Does your home have a fireplace that’s been boarded up or hidden behind paneling? Perhaps the original doorknobs have been replaced with generic hardware. Restoring these elements to their former glory can breathe new life into your space and add a touch of authenticity.

Marrying Modern and Classic Styles

Modernize Your Period Home Without Losing Its Charm | The Enterprise World

The key to a successful update lies in creating a harmonious blend of old and new. Here’s how to achieve that:

  • Mix and Match Furniture: Don’t feel pressured to stick to a single-period style when it comes to furniture. A sleek, modern sofa can look fantastic next to a vintage armchair. The key is to choose pieces that complement each other in terms of scale, color, and material. Play with textures by incorporating a plush rug alongside a mid-century coffee table.
  • Modernize Lighting: Older homes often have limited or dim lighting. Strategically placed modern light fixtures can completely transform a space. Recessed lighting can add brightness without compromising the aesthetics. Consider sleek sconces for hallways or statement-making pendant lights over a kitchen island.

Creating a Light and Airy Feel

Many period homes can feel a bit dark and cramped. Here are some tricks to open things up and create a more light and airy atmosphere:

Modernize Your Period Home Without Losing Its Charm | The Enterprise World
  • Embrace Light Colors: A fresh coat of paint in a light and neutral color can make a world of difference. Opt for whites, creams, or light grays to create a sense of spaciousness. Don’t be afraid to add pops of color with throw pillows, artwork, or accent furniture.
  • Let the Sunshine In: Maximize natural light by keeping windows clean and uncluttered. Sheer curtains or blinds will allow sunlight to filter through while still providing privacy. Consider replacing heavy drapes with lighter window treatments. In some cases, strategically placed skylights can also add significant natural light. For these situations, skylight blinds can be a helpful addition to regulate light and temperature.

Modernizing the Kitchen and Bath

The kitchen and bathroom are often the most used rooms in a home and also the ones that tend to need the most updating in older houses. Here’s how to modernize these spaces without losing the period charm:

  • Classic Style with Modern Touches: When updating your kitchen or bathroom, consider opting for cabinetry in a classic style, such as shaker cabinets. These timeless designs complement period homes beautifully. You can then incorporate modern elements through sleek countertops, stainless steel appliances, and stylish hardware.
  • Focus on Functionality: Modern kitchens and bathrooms are all about functionality. Consider installing pull-out drawers, built-in organizers, and improved lighting to make these spaces more efficient and user-friendly.

Preserving the History

While modernizing your home is important, it’s also crucial to preserve its history. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Modernize Your Period Home Without Losing Its Charm | The Enterprise World
  • Work with a Reputable Contractor: When undertaking any major renovations, especially those that involve historical features, find a contractor who has experience working with period homes. They’ll have the knowledge and expertise to ensure the work is done correctly and in accordance with any local preservation guidelines.
  • Respect the Original Design: Major structural changes can drastically alter the character of your home. If possible, try to work within the existing layout. Consider alternative solutions, such as partially opening up walls or incorporating clever storage solutions to maximize space.


Modernizing your period home is an exciting opportunity to create a space that’s both functional and stylish. Remember, respect the home’s history while embracing your personal touch. With a little planning, creativity, and inspiration from online resources and magazines, you can transform your charming older house into a comfortable haven that you’ll love for years to come.

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