For those who love DIY, the charm of historic houses, or overseeing every step of a redecoration process, there can be no greater joy than renovating an old home.
Although renovations can be lengthy journeys, fraught with design challenges, unforeseen hiccups, and sleepless nights, when they are complete, the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction is second to none.
For anyone thinking of embarking on such an exciting adventure, there are some things that are important to take into consideration, before even lifting a sledgehammer or paint roller.
This post will run through some creative renovation ideas for old homes, as well as some tips on how to get the most out of any old home renovation.
1. Keep the Charm
One of the most exciting things about renovating an old home is getting to bring out the charm and character it possesses. Sometimes, at the beginning of a renovation process, it can be difficult to see the underlying beauty in a time-battered building.
But even the most weathered houses have their charm, sometimes it just takes a little digging to find. If the walls and floors are completely unsalvagable, why not choose one statement feature, such as a door or window, to restore to its former glory.
2. Stick to Your Guns
It is precisely because of their powerful characters that old houses are such a joy to renovate. However, this can also make them difficult to decorate, while still maintaining your own unique vision.
Picking a direction and sticking with it is a good way to overcome this hurdle. From the outset, try to figure out whether you want the new interiors to stay completely true to the house’s history, or if you’re just using the house’s bones to create something completely new for yourself. Not having a clear vision can result in a confused looking finish.
3. Create More Space
Renovating an old home is a great excuse to update its layout to suit your own tastes and needs. One natural quirk of many old houses is that they tend to have kitchens that are on the smaller side, for example.
As such, sometimes it is necessary to open up certain rooms. It’s completely ok to want to slightly alter the layout of an old house slightly to make it more in keeping with the demands of a modern household and lifestyle.
4. Little Details, Big Impact
When you’re choosing the interior design details for your home renovation, remember, sometimes less is more. As we’ve said, it’s wonderful to be able to maintain the character and history of an old building, but you don’t want to do so to the extent that your home feels like a showhouse or a museum.
Little touches, such as retro light fixtures, wallpaper, or door handles are a great way to nod to the house’s history, but make sure to keep some touches of your own to help to turn your house a home.
5. Add in Modern Touches
As above, you will want to keep the home’s history alive, but when renovating your old home, it’s still good to add in some modern touches. For example, replacing plumbing and electrical systems is often advisable, especially in particularly old homes.
The ultimate goal should be to create a home which celebrates the rich past of the house but is still equipped with everything a modern-day dweller needs to survive. If you don’t want it to look too modern, you can always tuck away things like TVs in cabinets and fridges behind wood paneling.
6. Improve Safety, Not Just Aesthetics
Making your old home more spacious is not the only thing you can do to improve it during a renovation. There are also a number of steps you can take to make it safer. Replacing old and rotting wood or faulty electrical wires are two of the most common ways to improve the safety of a home.
You may also consider adding new features. Today, especially in areas that are disproportionately affected by hurricanes or storms, many people are installing so-called safe rooms in their homes, to minimize potential damage from natural disasters. You can read more on safe rooms here.
7. Make Sure the Bare Bones Are Robust
“I want to renovate my house where do I start?” is a commonly heard refrain from people interested in old home renovation. This is a good question, with a simple answer. Make sure the bones of the house are solid.
Unless you are a professional yourself, it is always a good idea to have experts come in and examine the skeleton of the house to check that it is solid, and in a livable condition. Have someone check the roof of the house first, then the foundations. Finally, check the walls doors, and floors. These are the smartest – and safest – places to start with your renovation.
8. Find Ways to Save Money Where You Can
Renovating an old home is a dream for many people, but one thing that often stops them from realizing this dream is the amount of money it costs to do so. Renovating an old home can be expensive, there is no doubt. But there are some clever ways in which money can be saved. Remodeling an old house on a budget is definitely doable.
Try using recycled and salvaged fixtures or building materials, instead of buying new. Conversely, it can be cheaper to have reproduction antique furniture made than buying genuine antiques to decorate your home. Finally, consider doing some of the demolition and/or heavy lifting yourself, to save on hired help.
More Renovation Ideas for Old Homes
The cardinal rule for any old home renovation? Try to enjoy the process.
Although renovations can be a stressful time, it is important to remember what all the hard work is building toward a dream house filled with life, love, history, and character. When the stress is getting to be too much try to remind yourself that in the end, it will all be worth it.
For even more design inspiration, DIY tips, and renovation ideas for old homes and new ones, take a look at the rest of our home improvement content.