When adding a few updates to a home that may be a hundred or more years old, it can be a little bit daunting to pick what are the highest priority projects, especially if your plan is to sell. As a vintage homeowner myself, ours was built in 1887, I understand how overwhelming all those projects can be. Especially if you’ve spent time on Pinterest or Instagram!
I specialize in selling vintage homes. What that means is I not only live in one, I go through hundreds of vintage homes every single year and get to see some great updates…and some not-so-great updates.
Here are three things I’ve consistently seen make the biggest difference in how a vintage home presents.
Fresh Paint Color
Paint color can make a dramatic difference in your home. And as I say that, you might be thinking about all the grays and “greiges” that have been popular for the last several years. However the gray tones are giving way to gentle warm whites and they’re beautiful in vintage homes. These whites pair especially with wood floors and trim.
My go-to white is Swiss Coffee 12 by Behr. It is an off-white with a soft muted neutral base so it’s warm without looking yellow. It’s like a canvas that shows off your art and furniture instead of wrestling with them.
Freshening up your entryway and stoop is another great project that you can do over a weekend. First clean the front porch and steps, wipe down or rinse off the siding, and touch up the paint near the entryway. Next paint or touch up the front door. Lastly, replace the hardware if it’s worn and dated or if the locks are tough to open. However, if the hardware is original to the home I suggest keeping it.
The final touch is to add flowers in a stylish pot and a brand new welcome mat (not that one that says “welcome” – just a simple mat.
This entryway transformation will make a noticeable impact for a few hundred dollars or less.
This is one of my little secret weapons. While I have a lot of tips, lighting is the one I want to emphasize because it’s so missed. Whether it’s your home that you plan to keep for 10 more years, or if you’re planning to sell, lighting is critical. This is especially true in older homes where lighting had to be added (or often not) later.
First of all, go through all the lighting fixtures in your house and replace dim bulbs with brighter ones. Luckily with LED bulbs this won’t up your electric bill. This is especially important if you’re planning to sell. If not selling and you enjoy dimmer lighting, do what you enjoy! However, if you’re selling, adding lumens adds profit. Just make sure that you get warmer temperature bulbs, because the cool ones will make your house feel like a morgue. Also stick with the same temperature throughout.
Once you’ve gone through the house and replaced the bulbs with warm temperature, brighter bulbs, take note of where you still have dark corners. You have two options to fix those dark corners. One is to add floor lamps or table lamps if they’ll fit without adding clutter.
Alternatively, try one of my favorite hacks. Home Depot and Amazon sell small uplights that are either battery powered or plug in. Just stick them into dark corners and they’ll brighten a corner without having to add another lamp. Now you have a much brighter space without making room for more lamps. Fair warning though, you’ll be dusting after this…trust me…I’ve been there!
Now you have my favorite hacks to inexpensively brighten and update your home on a budget. Please reach out to me if you would like more tips on how to update a vintage home. I’m much more realistic than Pinterest!