Do you live in an old house, or are you planning on buying a home with a bit of history? Chances are you fell in love with the old building because of its character and uniqueness, however there are plenty of ways that these kinds of properties can be problematic. The trick is to modernise the house so it feels fresh and up to date without losing its charm. Here are some of the ways you can go about it!
Rejig the layout
Older homes reflect the style of living at the time. Kitchens were once seen as a ‘backstage’ kind of area that hosts could shut the door on, and then bring out food and entertain their guests in a larger living and dining room. Bathrooms in old houses are often located downstairs, added as an afterthought when it became the law for every home to have a flushing toilet. Off road parking generally wasn’t a thing since older homes were built during a time that cars families commonly didn’t have cars. For these reasons, you often need to rejig the layout and make some improvements when it comes to bringing an old house up to modern standards. Extend the kitchen and remove the adjoining wall to create an open concept space. This is popular in current homes and reflects the style of entertaining of today. It tends to be more relaxed, guests join the host in a large kitchen while they cook or sit at an island for casual dinner parties. Move the bathroom upstairs, the place where it’s expected to be in modern homes. If you have space on the side of your property you may be able to have a garage built, otherwise turn the front garden into a driveway to create that all important off road parking. These kinds of changes don’t have to detract from the charm of the old home, but make it so it’s livable for today’s lifestyles.
Improve the air quality
The thing with older homes, particularly if they’ve been left unoccupied for a while is the air can feel a little stale and musty. To breathe new life into the place, this is something that needs to be put right. Your first step to improving the air quality in the home is to get rid of anything that could be causing a problem. Black mould for example releases spores that are bad for the respiratory system. Pests are another thing to consider, insects breaking down produce irritating particles, and rodent droppings and urine can release toxins reducing air quality. Dust mites are another common yet significant problem when it comes to air quality, if you plan on keeping any carpets or rugs left by the previous sellers then it’s worth hiring a professional carpet cleaner. They might look fine but they could be hiding all kinds of nasties, something like the Rug Doctor will be powerful enough to remove all of the dust, dirt and bacteria that could be contributing to poor air. Another area to look at is the air vents and any air conditioning units on the property, look into how to hire hvac technician and have professional come out and clean everything to a high standard. Giving the property a good deep clean, getting rid of any clutter and then plugging in an air purifier will have the home feeling fresh and clean.
A great way to decorate an old home is to freshen things up while maintaining its character features. If you have a stunning brick fireplace, original tiles, a stained glass window or another charming feature for example- keep it don’t cover it up! But modernise the rest of the room around it. Have all of the walls skimmed and painted a light, neutral shade. This will make any home look fresh and maximise the space. Unless they’re original wood and you want to maintain them, paint doors and skirting boards in a brilliant white. Repaint ceilings, removing dated decorative techniques such as artex- this isn’t original it’s just outdated and awful! Be careful though, some old artex can contain asbestos which needs to be removed by a professional. You could have a company come in and remove the lot, or send it away for testing. If it comes back negative from asbestos then you could remove it yourself and save yourself some money. If you want to keep your old home looking classic then things like real wood or natural stone flooring makes a good alternative to carpet. It’s easier to clean and you can always put down some rugs to make it a little cosier.
Finally, it’s worth decorating your home with a nod to its past. If you live in a Victorian terrace for example, you could choose a couple of items of furniture in a Victorian style. An armchair, a chest of drawers or a sideboard are examples. You can find just about any style and era of furniture online, but if you’re lucky you might find an old piece that you can upcycle yourself. Something like a traditional lighting fixture or lamp again can be a fun statement piece with a hint of the house’s past in a room that’s otherwise very modern. When you’re adding things like radiators, new taps and fixtures you could bear in mind the era of the home. For example, lots of old homes wouldn’t have been built with radiators so you could choose styles that blend in as much as possible or aren’t obvious to look at.
Old homes are a joy, you get to live in a place that’s steeped in history. If you sit and look around the rooms you can really imagine who lived there in decades gone by and what their lives would have been like. There’s something about them that you just don’t get with new homes. But they often do require some work, particularly if you old home has never been modernised. These tips should help you to update the space without completely losing the old home underneath.