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How To Add Historic Charm to Any Home

Every home has its very own charms and enchantments. Uncover a few of the best ways to add a touch of the past to your home’s more modern decor.

William Faulkner once wrote, “How often I have lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home…” We can all agree that, in the crazy chaos of life, home can sometimes be the only comforting thing. Whether you find your home intangibly in the people, places, or the things you love, home does have a physical location within wooden walls and doors.

We can’t all live in the most exquisite and dreamy houses in the world, but we can add touches of character to our living spaces to transform them into a place we like to call home. To enhance your home’s individuality in a sleek, modern world, consider focusing on nostalgic details. Here is how to add historic charm to any home, no matter how yours compares to others on the block.

Modern livingroom with antiques
Modern livingroom with antiques

Play Dress-up on Your Walls and Floors

Regardless of if your home is a modern build-up, a minuscule studio apartment, or an architectural powerhouse, each home is not cookie-cutter. That’s because it’s yours. Do you have visions of the past? Care to curate retro vibes? Your home has so much potential to explore. The power is in your hands to dress up your home, and your walls and floors are great spaces to start.

Add a touch of charm to your walls with decade-inspired wall art and focal elements, or contribute a new sense of texture to the walls through wallpaper, beadboard, or architectural molding squares. For the floor, try rolling out a vintage-style rug that creates instant old-world flair, even with modern furniture. Like a solid pair of jeans, a good rug will go with any style or aesthetic. 

Integrate Classic Materials

Besides the placement of antiquated adornments on the outskirts, using classic materials is another way to add historic charm to any home. For a notable vibe, wooden elements are naturally cozy and add unparalleled character. Reclaimed and salvaged materials, in particular, like salvaged barn wood or older wrought iron, add a signature touch. Tile also sets the tone with color and flair.

Keep other tactics in mind for classic material use, such as switching out contemporary hardware with timeless, detailed alternatives. You can scour marketplaces for a variety of interesting knobs, latches, chains, or handles to incorporate into your own style—with a tie of eras long passed, that is.

Antique glasses, a handkerchief, and books on a nightstand.
Antique glasses, a handkerchief, and books on a nightstand.

Display Antique Treasures 

Do you have old heirlooms, collectibles, or flea market finds stowed away in the attic, garage, or crawl space? Or pieces that you simply don’t know what to do with? Incorporate historic charm in the unique decor objects that make up a stunning vignette of the past and present together. Don’t keep such pieces out of sight, out of mind, or collecting dust.

Learn how to decorate with unique antique busts and sculptures. Utilize juxtaposition with mid-century art or collectible objects. These vintage pieces are not time-capsule traps—rather, they’re marvelous ways to lend a layer of history to a living space. Adding ageless character to a home is about storytelling in its finest hour.


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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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