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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Allen Design Team

7 Ways to Modernize Your New England Antique or Historic Home



Breathe life into your historic gem of a New England home! Owning a historic home is a privilege, offering a chance for unique connection to the past in daily life and showcasing incredible craftsmanship throughout. However, sometimes those charming vintage details can start to feel a bit, well, dated. The good news? You can modernize your historic home without sacrificing its character. Here are 7 creative ways to strike the perfect balance between old and new:



Tip # 1. Light Up Your Space with a Modern Twist:

Original light fixtures are often beautiful works of art. Yet, updating them with a modern touch can breathe new life into a room. Consider replacing old shades with sleek glass globes or adding a contemporary chandelier. Refinish and/or restore the original fixture if possible, but restoration can become costly and extend the timeline of your project; only you (the home owner) can make that final decision. The overall key with lighting is to complement your existing style, not clash with it.


Tip # 2. Paint a Pretty Picture: A Modern Palette for Vintage Walls:

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders! Modernize a space by introducing a bold accent wall with a deep, dramatic color. Feeling more subtle? Explore modern hued patterned wallpapers that add visual interest without overwhelming the space. And don't forget the fireplace! Painting those classic bricks can create a stunning and modern focal point.



Tip # 3. Embrace the Functionality and Style of Modern Shelving:

Floating shelves and built-in bookcases offer a perfect blend of practicality and modern aesthetics. They provide valuable display space for books, artwork, or decorative items, giving your walls a clean and modern look while also dramatically decreasing clutter.



Tip # 4. Modern Art Meets Vintage Charm: Create a Gallery Wall:

Modernize your space with a statement piece of art or curate a captivating gallery wall. A collection of black and white photographs displayed in matching frames adds a sophisticated touch and allows you to personalize your space. Already have artwork? Updating the frames of existing pieces can also work wonders.



Tip # 5. Find the Perfect Balance, Modern Complements Vintage:

Strategic furniture placement can dramatically impact a room's feel. Replace a few older pieces with cleaner-lined, modern furniture. This doesn't mean a complete overhaul! A couple of statement pieces can create the perfect blend of vintage and modern. Look for transitional furniture that complements the style of your home while offering a touch of contemporary flair.



Tip # 6. Play with Modern Patterns for a Touch of Personality:

Modern fabrics are a wonderful way to introduce color and pattern into your historic space. Consider bold throw pillows, printed curtains, or a stylish throw blanket. These elements can add a touch of personality and modernity without compromising the overall character of your home.



Tip # 7. Embrace Minimalism for a Clean and Modern Aesthetic:

Less is often more, especially when it comes to modern design. Declutter your space and simplify your décor. By removing extra items, even those who consider themselves maximalists will create a clean and airy atmosphere that feels fresh and undeniably modern. This approach allows your historic details to shine through without feeling over cluttered.


Remember, modernizing your historic home isn't about erasing its past; it's about celebrating its unique character while creating a space that reflects your personal style and contemporary living. So, don't be afraid to experiment and have fun!


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