How to Make an Older Home Feel Fresh and Bright | Kathryn Smith
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How to Make an Older Home Feel Fresh and Bright

Older homes are often packed with charm and history, but they can also feel dark, cramped, or dreary. You may have bought your house because you love the period or it had a feature -- bay windows, say, or an attic -- that modern houses all too often just don't offer. But when it comes to stepping inside after work every day, you start feeling glum at the smallness of the rooms or the shadows in the corners.

Fear not. There are many changes and smaller updates you can make to capture the bright, fresh feel of a newer home without sacrificing the original charm of a vintage house. They are relatively easy (and quick) to do, and they don't cost a fortune. Here are 3 of the best ways to make an older home feel new again.

1. Paint, paint, paint

Nothing freshens any home like a new paint job, and your older home isn't any exception. But choose your paint wisely. Remember that pale neutral colors make a room look larger than darker colors do. They will also, of course, make a room that has been painted a darker color look lighter.

The pale neutrals also make an excellent backdrop against which to hang accent pieces: a favorite abstract picture with vibrant notes of orange or a tasteful set of sepia photographs, say. You can also place an antique table with a favorite vase and fresh scarlet flowers against a pale neutral wall for a pop of color.

So think pale ivory, very pale grey, light beige, or even a blue so pale it can pass for white. All are your friends in making a room look bigger. And, by the way, if you have two small rooms together, or a set of adjoining small rooms, painting all of them the same pale neutral will make the entire area seem bigger.

Final tip: older homes sometimes look dingy because the walls are dirty. Even a clean home will accumulate layers that need to be scrubbed. Be sure and wash your walls thoroughly before painting.

2. Let your light shine

In addition to painting the rooms a light color, use light, light, light like a palette. If your rooms have access to natural light (aka the sun), take every advantage of it. Remove any heavy curtains from the last owner, for example. Think gauze curtains or shutters that you can leave open during the day.

For rooms without natural light access, invest in new lamps that shed light to every corner. Tip: either keep the lamps the same pale neutral (this will also make the rooms look harmonious and larger) or buy one lamp that works as a decorative piece in every room. A thin contemporary lamp can serve as an accent piece just as much as a piece of art can, and brighten up the room.

3. Update light switches, plates, and handles

Sometimes, little things mean a lot. Nowhere is that more true that in replacing items so small you might not think of them as being part of the room decor...until you realize how much an update freshens the room's look. We're talking the often overlooked light switches and plates in every room, and kitchen cabinet handles.

Light switches and plates have often been painted over, and then painted over again. They are a magnet for grime. So for a polished look, choose a uniform contemporary set and put them in every room.

Kitchen cabinet handles tend to become dated easily. They are a fun and very inexpensive way to add a new look to your kitchen. If your kitchen is neutral, go with a kick of color. If it's had mix and match over the year, go for a neutral set of kitchen cabinet handles.

Your old house has a lot of historical charm. These ideas will fill it with new charm to go with the old, and if you need to make any larger changes to your home reach out to us at Equity Prime Mortgage for help with renovation loans.