Up to Date: Tips for Decorating Old Homes to Give Them a Modern Feel

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If you've been living in an old house and you're ready to sell, you may want to modernize your home. While you can't change the existing structure, you can update the decor.

Here are some tips for decorating old homes to help them sell. These are easy fixes with minimal effort that can make a big difference. Take a look!

1. Change Hardware

This is the number one way to make your home appear more modern, even if it was built years ago. Styles in handles and drawer pulls change with the decades, so if yours look like the same kind your grandma had, it's time for a change. You should change out any knobs or hardware in your home that give away its age.

If you're not sure, take pictures of what you have and visit the hardware store. Someone there can help you find out whether yours look dated and help you select new ones that would match the existing decor.

2. Change Fixtures

This article offers some reasons why your home may not be selling, chief of which is that it needs fixing up. Decorating can be a huge part of this, including the old fixtures. Old faucets, lighting, and other fixtures date a home as fast as hardware does.

Look for more modern faucets and lighting options. If you're on a tight budget, consider shopping at places like the Habitat Restore and other discount home improvement stores. This is a great way to rehab your home and give the impression that it's more modern.

3. Match Your Furniture

Buying all new furniture is hard when you're trying to move. Yet it can work in your favor at showing. The more like a magazine cover your house looks, the better it will sell.

You can try looking for discount furniture that all matches at secondhand stores, as long as you make sure it's modern. Other home decor stores like IKEA are fairly affordable. And if you really can't swing all new stuff, matching couch covers for all your furniture can get the job done in a pinch.

4. Neutral Modern Paint

While an eye-catching, avant-garde paint job may impress your friends, it won't impress the people looking at your real estate photos online. If you do manage to get a showing despite the photos, that will be the first comment they make on their way out. Instead of asking potential buyers to imagine what the house could look like if it had more modern paint, show them.

Turn vintage avocado green rooms into modern wonders. Repaint with neutral, modern colors like a farmhouse gray or an understated slate blue. Those are easy to match with many decor options, and your potential buyers will have an easier time imagining their stuff in your house.

If you're painting yourself, be careful about details. Spend the time to tape and prep so that you don't get paint on the ceiling or the floor. Take outlet covers off instead of trying to paint around them.

5. Bedding Recommendations for Decorating Old Homes

Check out Pinterest for some ideas about modern bedding. Granny's old quilt isn't going to cut it if it's yellowed with age or full of quirky colors she liked. Instead, choose modern comforters that will fit with what the potential buyers hope to see.

6. Modern Throw Pillows

Neutral colored throw pillows dress up a room. From popping one on an easy chair to adding them to all your sofas in the living room, a throw pillow modernizes a room. It also makes it look more stylish, even if your spouse doesn't understand the purpose behind them.

7. Clean Carpets

Borrow a carpet scrubber from a friend, and if none of your friends owns one, then rent one. The difference it makes is worth the expense, and your potential buyers won't have to wonder if the carpet stains will come out. Even if there aren't any stains, a good scrubbing can brighten any carpet's color. 

Make sure you scrub the carpets several days before photos and showings because it takes a while to dry. Plan to get out all your fans and open windows if weather allows to help the carpet dry faster.

8. Update the Front Door

You want your home to welcome visitors and help them get excited about what's inside. Dress up the front door and porch area to create anticipation and a favorable impression from the moment they step foot in the door.

One way to give it a modern look is to paint the door a bright color. This is a trend that's easy to remedy if they don't favor it, but it's one that makes the home look more modern.

Add a vertical welcome sign that leans against the corner, and install some potted plants (even if you end up taking them with you to your new house). These details give potential buyers a reason to look twice at your home.

9. Install New Outlet Covers

Nothing makes your home look its age like old, yellowed outlet covers. Instead, install modern ones–plain white looks great and helps the home look newer. It's a subtle change and a cheap fix, but it makes a world of difference.

10. De-Clutter

Nothing creates the illusion of space in a small room like clearing out the junk. While you know the story behind every tchotchke and trinket, the visitors won't have the background to help them appreciate it. Instead, it will look like an overcrowded room, and that makes it hard to picture the potential.

Out With the Old, in With the New

When you're having trouble selling your older home, take a look around with an unbiased eye.

There are several changes, like those listed above, that can help you make the home look more modern. Decorating old homes is a great way to give buyers a look at the possibilities.

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