How To Decorate an Old Living Room

If you own an older home, on the one hand you are lucky and on the other hand you are not. While older homes frequently have great bones, they also come with a myriad of other challenges like old wiring, decrepit plumbing, and drafty windows. Couple those limitations with small rooms and limited storage, and you may wonder why anyone in their right mind would choose to live in an older home rather than a newer one. For some people it is simply a matter of economics, either this is the home they have or the one that they could afford. While for others living in an older home is a labor of love. Here's how to decorate your older home.

Step 1

Scale It Up or Down
When you are decorating your living room in an older home, one of the most important things that you can do to get the most out of the existing structure of the room is to make sure that you pay attention to scale as you are selecting your furniture. That does not mean that a tiny room needs tiny furniture, but it does mean that whatever scale of furniture that you choose to put into your room is consistent throughout. For example, do not mix large scale and smaller scale furniture pieces. Use one or the other, and remember to keep your scale in mind when selecting accessories as well.

As you are selecting patterns for your wallpaper and furniture, you want to stay with the same scale as well. So large scale uses large patterns and smaller scale can use a smaller pattern. The effect of mismatching scale in your design yields a room that feels slightly disheveled and off balance.

Step 2

Showcase Good Bones

Use the elements that your old home offers to the best of its advantage. If your room has a fireplace, built in bookshelves or ornate moldings, decorate your room to make the most of these design gifts. You can sand, stain and repaint to add new life to an old feature, and you use color to showcase a single element in the room. Refurbishing where you can and replacing where you must can mix the old and the new to create a really exciting style.

If you are refinishing old molding you will need a big dose of patience, but the end result will be well worth it. Stripping old paint with paint removers, sandpaper and steel wool is tedious work, and when you are done simply apply a fresh finish or paint in several thin coats.

Step 3

Blend Generations for Interest
Repetition of a pattern in any room can give it weight and drama, so consider doing this with your furnishings. For example, if your home has arched doorways, consider chairs with slightly rounded tops, or if your arts and crafts style home has dark walnut floors, repeat the color on the walls with dark walnut picture frames. Repeating shapes and colors makes a room feel substantial, and it is an effective way to combine the new with the old and have them relate to each other.

You can also use old fabrics in new and unexpected ways. Instead of dressing your windows with dark and heavy curtains, perhaps that same fabric covering a footstool or as a pillow on the couch allows you to acknowledge the past without simply replicating it. By using touches of lush fabrics like silk or cashmere you can also add a tactile dimension to your new, old living room.

This article was written by Jessica Ackerman, a contributing author for - a unique home decor store featuring wall candle holders and wall artwork.

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