How to Renovate an Old Home And Keep the Charm Alive


As newer homes tend to take on the same cookie-cutter feel, many people opt for older homes that contain a more unique and individualised charm.

If this sounds like you, perhaps you’re wondering how to renovate an old home while still keeping the charm that makes it so special. Modern amenities can clash with the cosy feel of an older home.

So, before you get to work, here are # ways to update an old home while retaining the charm that you originally fell in love with.

Evaluate for Hazards and Know Your Limitations

While you might have grandiose plans for your old home, some things might not be possible. Other things, might be possible, but at a very high price.

It’s important to know and appreciate your home’s limitations. Some of these limitations will come from the use of hazardous material in your home’s original (or subsequently updated) finishings.

For example, the linoleum in your kitchen floor might contain asbestos. Your popcorn ceiling might also have asbestos.

And that paint – is made with lead?

Removing these elements could mean that you’re also releasing toxins and putting yourself and your contractors in danger. If that’s the case and you don’t want to pay a premium to have the proper hazmat for removal, consider ways you could cover up these elements while leaving the toxins in place.

In addition to hazards in your old home, you could be faced with structural issues that limit your redesign ideas. While many people like open concepts, that might not be possible with an older home that has smaller rooms and several structural beams for support.

Learn how to work around these limitations and incorporate them into your modern, but charming, renovation.

Retain Antique or Period Relevant Finishings

While some original elements in your home can be difficult to remove, you will definitely want to keep others. Look around your home and make note of the finishings relevant to your home’s era. Some of these time-specific features are beautiful, unique and can be preserved (you won’t find them in new homes, so hold onto them if you can).

Some examples include:

  • Glass door knobs
  • Six pane windows
  • Intricate crown molding
  • Patterned floor tiles/splashbacks

If any of these classic home elements are in good condition, find ways to clean and liven them up. They will definitely add a level of charm to your renovated home that you will not find in new construction.

Don’t Confuse Charm with Outdated

But, while you are getting nostalgic thinking of the wonderful finishings to keep in your house, don’t confuse charm with outdated.

There are parts of your home that will need complete (if not near complete) renovations. One of the main areas that will likely require a full renovation is the kitchen.

While it might seem kind of cool, a 1950’s era kitchen is not going to be practical or look very charming in your renovated home.

Allow Some Imperfections

When executing your renovation, remember that not all of the lines will be perfectly straight. Not all of the corners will sit at exactly 90 degrees. And that’s perfectly fine.

You want to allow some imperfections in your renovated home as they will add to the charm. Perfectly boxy, industrial type houses do not have charm.

Allow the slight settling of your home to show in certain places as a testament of the time your home has been around.

Fill in the Gaps

If your home doesn’t include many perservable, period-specific finishings, feel free to add more. You can buy new glass door knobs or install a tin ceiling if it matches the era and décor of your home.

Feel free to include these types of finishes to help add to the charm of your renovation.

Preserve Flooring

If your old home has original wood flooring still in tact, consider preserving it.

It might require some refinishing or repairs, but you want to salvage it if you can! Keeping the original wood flooring will add a level of character to your house that you will not be able to add with new tile, carpet, or upgraded wood flooring.

If you don’t like the look of your wood floor, or if you can’t refinish it, consider painting it! A painted wood floor in an older home can help you personalise it while keeping a key original element in tact.

Save and Update Windows

You definitely don’t want to keep drafty windows in your home. However, if possible, try to update your old multi-pane windows to keep the original look, but upgrade the insulation.

If it’s not possible to save the windows, try to replace them with new replicas that still give the classic look, but provide modern energy efficiency.

Ready to save money on your home loan?

Get Started