Simple Steps to Make a Vintage Home Look Modern

painting by BenSpark flickrOne reason we love Oak Park is the lovely, historic homes and condos that help give this village its character. Historic homes can be extremely well-built, but may not suit today’s needs and tastes.

A few changes can help update the spaces to make them more functional and inviting. Here are some tips to give a modern look to a vintage home.

  1. Write down your likes and dislikes.

Start by asking yourself what you like and don’t like your place. Is there too much wood? A lot of clutter? How is the walking flow? Does the furniture fit your style? The dislikes will help you prioritize changes, while the list of the things you love will identify the parts of your home’s character to preserve and highlight. Thinking about each room and writing down lists will make it easier for you to know your next steps.

  1. Consider removing walls.

If you live in an old home that has not been remodeled, chances are that there are numerous small rooms, which was the trend for many years. These days, people love the idea of one “Great Room” that connects the family room to the kitchen and dining area. Just because there are walls doesn’t mean they can’t come down! Talk to an architect or contractor about the options for knocking some down to open your space.

  1. Increase lighting.

One frequent complaint about vintage homes or condos is that they are dark. Remove ornate fixtures and replace them with can lights or a modern focal piece. Find out if it’s possible to put in some larger windows or doors with glass.

  1. Expose woods.

In many vintage homes, the wood floors have been covered up with carpet. Some even have carpet running through the bathrooms. Remove those carpets and finish the floors. If you don’t have wood underneath, look into installing wood, stone or tile. These materials will last longer and increase the value of your home.

  1. Replace hardware on cabinets.

This quick trick can easily be a weekend project. You can change the metal color, style and shape to a simpler, modern look.

  1. Paint.

Whether it’s just the walls or all the cabinets (if you’re feeling a little daring), a small investment in paint can go a long way. To create a modern, fresh look, bright and light is key. They may seem boring, but neutrals like bright whites, grays, and beiges will truly bring your space into the new century.

  1. Update furniture, art and rugs.

Just because your place is older doesn’t mean you have to have older-looking pieces. Embrace the modern with clean-lined furniture, newer artwork, or geometric-Moroccan style rugs. Embracing a little bit of minimalism when it comes to furniture will help get rid of the clutter and let the room breathe.

A modern-vintage home can be a calm, unique retreat. With a little work, you can have the best of both worlds.

By Lakshmi Bhargave

Photo by Flickr user BenSpark