Recently, a blog follower asked me to give her advice about adding older pieces to a newer home. Blending the old and the new is a challenge faced by many people who find themselves living in a newer home, but wanting it to have the character and feel of an older home.
Here are a few things both small and large that you can do to add some vintage character to your newer home:
If all of the furniture in a room is new, the room tends to look like a furniture showroom or a room in a model home. By adding some older pieces, such as a vintage rug, or an antique desk, chair, or table, you will make a space feel warmer and give it some depth. Even a single vintage piece in a room will add character and interest.
Here, the antique mirror adds sophistication to the space:
A worn-looking farm table adds a rustic feel to this kitchen:
A vintage runner adds charm to this kitchen:
Change Light Fixtures
Adding period light fixtures to your home is a good way to add vintage character.
Melissa of The Inspired Room added vintage lighting to her new-build craftsman-style home:
Add Architectural Details
If your newer home doesn’t have the historic architectural details that you would like, then you can have them added. Moldings, wainscoting, beaded board, shiplap, and window frames can all be added to your space. Such details go a long way to add visual interest and historic character.
In the new home below, shiplap and molding has been added to the walls, butted board has been placed on the ceiling, and the fireplace has been given a historic-looking mantel and brick surround:
Look at all the beautiful millwork that was added to the new home shown below. You would be hard pressed to tell that it was recently constructed:
Change Hardware and Fixtures
By changing out contemporary-style doorknobs, drawer pulls and knobs, light switch plates, and plumbing fixtures for vintage or vintage-inspired ones, you will change the look and feel of your room.
In Lauren Liess’s former kitchen, she used vintage-inspired drawer pulls, kitchen fixtures, and lighting to add character, and she replaced her upper cabinets with open shelving and painted her lower cabinets:
If you find yourself with unattractive, builder grade kitchen and bathroom cabinets, a new paint job makes for a quick and easy transformation with a vintage vibe. Benjamin Moore has a historical collection of paint colors that are beautiful and authentic.
Marian of Miss Mustard Seed blog is in the process of painting her new-build living room woodwork white. It makes a striking difference in the character of the room, as shown in the photos below.
Add Salvaged Materials
If you have hollow and builder-grade doors, you can change them out for solid old salvaged doors. In addition, salvaged wood flooring and beams can add warmth and character.
Jennifer of the blog Dimples and Tangles recently replaced her newer front home door with a salvaged old door that she painted blue. What a transformation it has made to her home’s exterior!
Before (Jennifer’s former front door):
After (Jennifer’s salvaged front door):
There are two blogs that I would recommend if you are interested in the topic of incorporating vintage furnishings in a newer home. Jenni of the blog Dear Lillie added beautiful vintage character to her 1970s/80s era home. She is full of amazing decorating tricks! Marian of the blog Miss Mustard Seed recently moved and purchased a new build home that she is just starting to update, as seen in the photos of her living room above. She is incredibly talented! The living-room portion of her renovation is a great illustration of the transformative power of paint, and I am eager to see what she has in store for the result of the home.
Do you have any tricks for adding character to a new home?