7 Practical Tips for Breathing a New Life into Old Homes

About the author: Mike Johnston is a home improvement blogger and DIY enthusiast from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and contributor on several interior design, lifestyle, real estate and eco-friendly blogs. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.


By Mike Johnston

People often tend to look at home renovation like a holy grail of all DIY projects. The prize you will get at the end of the journey is awesome, but the trouble you need to go through along the way makes the whole thing seem pointless. Here’s the good news, Sir Galahad – this quest is only as complicated as you want it to be and your good old home can get a breath of new life even with the slightest of efforts if you know where to put it. Here are a couple of ideas.

Give your home a fresh coat of paint

Changing the backdrop will completely change the mood of the entire room, and set the tone for whatever you want to accomplish further down the road. A small room can drastically benefit from a super white coating that will visually expand the space. You can promote activity in the living room through energetic oranges and yellows, and calm the atmosphere in the bedroom with lavender. All you need to do this are a couple of pieces of quality painting equipment and endless creativity.

Use the flooring in a clever way

Here’s another vast area of your home that is incredibly important but tends to get overlooked. Just try adding a few simple rugs here and there and you’ll see how different your home will look overall. Also, rugs and carpet tiles are a great way to reinforce the look you are currently pursuing. Vintage rooms will require an appropriately rustic rug, a streamlined style will benefit from clear-cut monochromatic pieces, while the eclectic style will allow you to play with something more exotic like arabesque patterns.

Cast a new light on the whole affair

Much like paint, changing the way a room is lit can completely change its atmosphere. Layered lighting will create a very moody setting, bright light in combination with bright paint will open up small spaces, and you can’t imagine an industrial space without Edison bulbs. Keep in mind, though – if you are living in an old home plagued with overloaded power points and corroded wiring, first you need to find an experienced emergency electrician who’s available 24/7 and who can solve these urgent issues before you start meddling with the lighting. Unlike painting, doing wirework in damp, worn-out rooms can be very dangerous.

Take care of the beds and sofas

Now that you’ve created a perfect backdrop for your project, it’s finally time to commit to more intricate stuff, and is there a better place to start than your huge beds and sofas which make a very strong visual impression once you enter the room? Throwing a fresh layer of sheets over your furniture can also be very forgiving – why would you buy new pieces when it’s much simpler to hide the damaged points and imperfections. Sure, it’s cheating, but as long as it works…

Say yes to indoor plants

Adding an indoor plant to a medium-sized room can improve its air quality by a staggering 25%, literally breathing new life into your home. And if that’s not good enough of a reason to green up, keep in mind that plants make a very strong visual impression, create an uplifting atmosphere and play along with virtually any style that might cross your mind. Even the most sterile or moody spaces can benefit from a couple of contrasting elements, and you can’t find a better way to pull this off than moving in a few lush indoor plants.

Create focal points

Essentially, focal points are parts of a room, or even singular but striking pieces of furniture that draw all the attention and drastically change the dynamics of the entire space. Some of the examples would be creative mirrors, massive writing desks, interesting pieces of art, etc. A great way to nail this down is that once you’ve set the focal point up, rearrange the rest of the room around it to reinforce the effect. Even if you are operating with the old furniture, your room will never look the same.

Get rid of all the clutter

Here’s an easy one to tie this up. One of the main reasons why old homes look so tired and worn-out is because of the piles upon piles of tired and worn-out clutter lying around. Just ask yourself how many of these you are really attached to or you’ve used in the last year. You’ll see that nearly 80% of the stuff you cling to can easily find a way out. Whether you are going to donate these things to charity or throw a garage sale is up to you. Just stop suffocating your home and give it a chance to shine in a completely new light.

As we can see, aside from painting and tiresome wirework, most of the entries from this list can be easily checked in a matter of hours. So, what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and unleash your inner designer. Your dream home is waiting just around the corner.