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Top Updates for Traditional Homes

Love the charm of a traditional home but still want to feel like you’re living in the 21st century? Here are three ways to add a contemporary vibe to a home with history.

We’re defenseless against the charm that older homes exude. From quirky design details and the elegance of original fixtures and flooring, there’s just nothing quite like finding a home with a little bit of history.

While the sophistication of a traditional home is hard to pass up, it can present obstacles, such as updating it to fit your modern lifestyle. Though its bones may be beautiful, sometimes the home’s interior and exterior could use a facelift — or two.

Here are three great ways to modernize a traditional charmer.

Use a clean, neutral palette


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Traditional homes tend to lack a light, airy feel. Historically, classically designed homes featured dark, moody elements like banisters, exposed beams, and heavy fixtures or appliances. One simple way to brighten a room while maintaining the home’s original design is to add a few coats of white paint. A clean color palette allows the room to feel more light and bright.

For the exterior, a fresh coat of boldly colored paint, like red or blue, on the front door is a fashion-forward way to boost your home’s curb appeal without altering the home’s original features.

Opt for natural light

Courtesy of Zillow Digs

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

If your home has small windows or lacks natural light, consider adding more or larger windows, or installing skylights. If you have the space and budget, you can also add a sunroom where natural light pours in from all sides.

Skylights are particularly useful in areas like the kitchen or bathroom for natural overhead lighting. Large picture windows are ideal for a front room or living room to provide a better view of the outside while also creating a visual anchor.

Another bonus of having a lot of natural light: you’ll have less need for electric lights, which is particularly important if your home is ill-equipped for installing new fixtures.

Add contrast for an instant boost

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

One of our favorite ways to modernize traditionally styled spaces is through unexpected contrasts. Consider mixing metals in the kitchen and bathrooms: Choose a polished nickel faucet and pair it with chrome drawer pulls for a contemporary vibe. In the kitchen, opt for a copper faucet and sink, but go with iron or dark metal for cabinet and drawer hardware.

You can also add contrast by mixing matte and glossy materials. Of course, good ol’ black-and-white is another way to get instant oomph. The stark contrast between different metals, materials, and colors helps bolster your home’s contemporary style without altering its classic construction.



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