How to Update an Old HomeSome old homes might need a complete overhaul, but many can be modernized with just a few updates. You may be able to pick and choose from this list to achieve a perfect blend of old and new for a timeless look that lasts for years to come.
1. Renovate a Single SpaceIf your budget is tight, you might have to narrow your focus down to a single space. The kitchen or bathrooms get the most use and often look the most dated. A kitchen renovation or bathroom remodel can freshen up your home, even if you can’t touch the other areas yet. See also: 10 Signs It’s Time to Renovate Your Kitchen
2. Renovate for Energy EfficiencyOlder homes were not built with energy efficiency in mind. Update your appliances to newer Energy Star models. Replace your windows with double- or triple-pane versions. And consider adding a few energy efficient modern conveniences like a dishwasher or central air conditioning.
3. Renovate the ExteriorIt’s tempting to focus only on the interior of your home when you decide to update it, but there are important reasons to consider renovating the exterior, too. Depending on when your home was built and what the building codes were then, there may be some structural issues that need to be addressed.
- Is your foundation still strong?
- Is your exterior solid?
- Is it time to repair the roof?
4. Streamline the Interior DesignYour home has probably lived through at least one or two renovations. The older your home gets, the more updating it has experienced. If patchwork renovations have created a disjointed look throughout your home, it’s time to streamline. Whatever you choose to update, update it throughout the entire house. If you remove the shag carpet in your bedroom, remove the shag carpet in the rest of the house. If you replace the baseboards and trim in one room, replace it all. One way to start streamlining is by updating your window treatments. Replace old blinds and dark, heavy valances with modern wood blinds or roman shades.
5. Open the LayoutOld homes are typically compartmentalized. The open concept floor plan so popular in today’s houses is still a relatively new thing. Revamp the layout of your main living space to open it up and breathe new life into your home. Older kitchens and bathrooms feel cramped. Consider rearranging those rooms to create more space.
6. Replace Minor Fixtures & FaucetsLight switches and plates, outlets and outlet covers, cabinet hardware, door handles, and register covers can really date your home. Updating these minor details can be an inexpensive way to make a big difference in your home’s appearance. Light fixtures are another easy feature to update. Check out How to Choose the Best Lighting for Your Kitchen. Don’t forget the exterior lights, too. Have you ever updated your thermostat? A new programmable thermostat will look modern and save you money on your utility bills! The faucets in your bathroom look old in style, but they’ve probably gotten kinda gross over the years, too. You don’t need a plumber to replace your faucets, so it’s an easy way to massively improve the style of your bathroom.
7. PaintIf you can only choose one thing to do to update your old house, paint is probably the top option. It’s the best value because it doesn’t cost as much as some other major upgrades, yet it has a dramatic effect on the look of your home. You can use paint on more than just walls. Consider refinishing these other elements for an updated look:
- Baseboards and trim
- Built-in shelving and furniture
- Light fixtures
- Door hardware