Owning a historic home can be both a pleasure and a challenge, but the charm and architectural interest of these homes habitually win people over, despite the sometimes daunting maintenance and repairs needed. Yet, as beautiful as these homes are, they can also be challenging to decorate. How can you respect the character of your historic home while still updating it for contemporary life? Check out these interior design tips for combining the old and the new.

What makes your home unique?

In order to truly do justice to your historic home, first identify the features that give it character. Whether it’s original millwork, a unique architectural feature, or original wood floors, you’ll want to play up these aspects of the space. In this living room, the gorgeous ceiling moldings, columns, and fireplace shine thanks to the neutral, subdued wall color and furnishings. The sleek, contemporary shapes of the sofas and coffee table balance the luxe ornamentation of the architectural elements.

historic homes with contemporary interior design

Use common sense

Some old-fashioned home design features make for a great conversation piece or add charm, while others may be impractical. For instance, many historic homes featured lots of small rooms off of narrow hallways, a plan which doesn’t lend itself well to contemporary life. In this case, you may want to combine rooms in order to create a more open floor plan.

updating historic homes with contemporary design

Don’t aim for a perfect recreation.

It’s rare that a faithful recreation of an interior exactly as it was originally intended will work well for modern homeowners. Instead of furnishing the entire home in period furnishings and textiles, mix it up and add some contemporary or transitional furniture.

In this eclectic bedroom, original dentil molding and traditional furnishings like the nightstand and chair contrast with the simple, clean lines of the bed. A simple color palette of gold, blue, and faded red, with pops of crisp white throughout, helps give the room a light, airy feel that is comfortable and current.

contemporary furniture in historic home

If you are considering updating your historic home, contact MJN & Associates Interiors today! With years of residential interior design experience, our principal, Michelle Nettles, can help you choose the furnishings and materials that will complement, not compete with, your historic home.