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6 decorating tips for old houses

Naia Carlos Naia Carlos
by lifelife GmbH Scandinavian
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Old buildings are part of the landscape, not just in Manila but all throughout the country. From sleepy towns in the province to urban corners in the metro, there are decades-old homes scattered about that just needs a little bit of care and patience.

There are many advantages to acquiring a home that’s already been tested by time. Most of these types of houses are quite large and made of sturdy, high-quality materials. Timeless features – hardwood flooring, fireplaces, stained glass windows, to name a few – make these old houses very valuable even after all these years. However, it can be difficult to create a modern look that’s current with the times out of these old-fashioned residences. Not to mention, the project can be very expensive. Consult a professional interior designer to help you furnish an old building classily and create a stunning and comfortable living space for the whole family.

To get you started, we've compiled a short list of guidelines for tackling this project. Here are six handy tips that can help you highlight the best features of an age-old house while injecting a bit of contemporary flair.

Tradition and modernity in harmony

There’s no need to sacrifice an old house’s classic features to create a modern living space. However, it’s extremely important to choose the right features to highlight – and which ones to conceal. Repainting the walls is one way to hide the imperfections that may have accummulated over the years. Painting the walls and ceiling a light and neutral color helps to embrace a more modern look as well as brighten up an older room.

Sometimes, awkward old-fashioned windows keep the home from achieving an impeccable aesthetic, so floor-to-ceiling curtains should do the trick. Trendy and up-to-date elements can also help furnish old buildings in a modern way, such as the light fixtures and chairs in the featured home above. Modern artwork is also a good way to modernize the living areas. 


It’s not quite futuristic, but this look is still a very modern design for the kitchen. Tiles with a checkerboard pattern extend over the kitchen’s floors, and the geometric design is a pleasant contrast to the arched trim on the wall. This archway might have been a door in the building’s original design, but now it is a charming feature that provides a classic touch to the cozy home.

While original floor plans of old estates can sometimes be difficult to modernize, it can definitely work when executed properly. In smaller houses, it might be a better idea to keep the original layout, since there is little space available to mix things up in. What definitely needs to be updated are the appliances. Furnish the old building with modern equipment for utmost safety and efficiency.


Small bedrooms, which are common in old houses, can be a challenge to decorate, but going minimal can make the space seem much bigger. Avoid clutter and keep large furnishings to a minimum. Light colors are also refreshingly appealing in cozy spaces. Here, the dark curtains at the end of the narrow room create the illusion of depth and breaks the monotony of white.

While clutter is unappealing, don’t forget to add a bit of character in the bedroom. Nature-inspired elements go well with the rustic charm of many old houses like a solid wooden chair or freshly cut flowers.


Revamping delapidated spaces are fine, but the original design of old buildings are particularly stylish and authentic when the features are well-maintained. This includes the wooden parquet floor, stucco-covered ceiling and finely crafted wooden doors. Nothing is quite as arresting in an old house than a beautiful doorway.

Wing doors and sliding doors often open into a spacious living area. It’s as charming today as it was in decades past, but if your old home isn’t fitted with one, door manufacturers can easily install a beautiful set of wing doors anywhere in the house. Barn doors can work in old homes as well, a charming alternative that is both rustic and innovative.


In revamping old buildings, kitchens and bathrooms are usually refurbished with new tiles so the original look and authenticity of the house is practically unrecognizable. However, it’s possible to recreate the original vibe of these spaces with materials that inspire traditional charm. Instead of modern tiles, go for parquet floors and stucco walls for old world glamour in your modern apartment. Real wood is not advisable in the bathroom, but wood-style tiles are readily available and works just as well visually.

Similarly to the kitchen, it’s important to upgrade outdated hardware such as the faucets, knobs and handles. Also, check that the plumbing is working perfectly.

Storage space

Finally, practical storage space for washing machines, dishwashers and other modern equipment didn’t exist in the construction of classic apartments. Reach out to professional carpenters to help you equip the entire house with ample storage solutions. For more ideas on great storage from scratch, check out these 19 beautiful wooden cabinets you can ask your carpenter to make for you.

Modern home by Casas inHAUS Modern

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