If we had the choice, the majority of us would opt for a home with plenty of character. Even in this age of minimalist decor, we can’t beat the charm which character properties can bring. We’re talking wooden beams, sash windows, and walls wild with the history of years gone by. It’s the country-cottage living ideal, and it’s one which most of us harbour in some way or another.
The trouble is, of course, that character properties aren’t always as good as they seem. When you come to buy one, you start to realise that you could pay through the teeth for those additions you love so much. In general, character properties are a fair bit more expensive. To make matters worse, general upkeep and maintenance on properties like these tend to be through the roof. In some extreme cases, your mortgage lender may even refuse to risk their money on an investment like this. All of which, as you can surely imagine, can be a whole headache you don’t need.
That’s why many homeowners are now looking for ways to add some old-time charm to newer properties. It’s also why there are endless articles telling you how to do just that. The trouble is that many of these focus on things like sash windows and wall panels. Sorry to burst your bubble, but those can cost a fortune, too. Sash windows, in particular, are sure to break the bank. And, installing things like wall panels is an intensive task which could also cost you in the long run.
The good news is, we have a solution for all your old home woes. While these classic features can look amazing, we don’t think they’re necessary. Instead, we’re here to argue that you can get classical at home with nothing more than the accessories you use in each room. Keep on reading to find out how.
Invest in antiques
Few accessories are better for creating a classic look at home than actual antiques. That’s why your first port of call should be to invest in at least a few of these for each room of your modern house. Of course, you can end up spending a fair amount here too, so keep your head about you. Get into the habit of visiting antique fairs and auctions to get a feel for what you can get for what prices. You’ll be surprised to find that many of the smaller accessories and pieces in places like these are cheaper than you’d imagine. As a general rule, auctions are best, but even antique fairs have their gems. Then, once you have a price range in mind, start stocking up on some key pieces. Remember that even one or two antiques on display in each room are going to go a long way towards that classic look. Try to stick to things with classic features which scream ‘character’ the moment you walk into a space. In no time, you could transform your modern home with this step alone.
Choose classic feature pieces
Speaking of screaming character, it’s also worth investing in classical feature pieces. These work wonders for transforming a room because they’re the first thing anyone sees when they walk in. In that way, this can work even better than those wooden beams would. These could be larger antique pieces, like a classic coffee table or chest of drawers. Or, you could achieve the same thing through recreation pieces. Something like the Waldorf Duresta sofas are sure to look like a seating arrangement fresh out of the history books. Even something like long curtains cut from the right material could complete the picture here. If you’re at a total loss, visit some traditional homes and take note of what you see there. The chances are that there are at least one or two furniture pieces which steal the show. And, they’re probably pieces that you can easily find alternatives for in your home.
Divulge in the distressed look
If you don’t fancy giving centre stage classical pieces, you could always go more subtle with a few distressed accessories. These are easy to buy and usually pretty cheap thanks to the popular trend of ‘shabby chic’ in the home of late. Most home stores have at least one or two distressed-looking pieces. These can add more of an aged feel than you might think. Investing in a jug which looks like it’s been through the wars, for example, could complete your classic bathroom. Sanded down wooden frames could be all it takes to make those shelves look a whole lot more classical. You may even find that something as simple as a distressed coffee table can bring your whole room to life, in a historical sense at least. In truth, you can probably find more rustic versions of near enough every accessory you can think of. While you don’t want to go overboard with these, a few well-placed pieces can make even the newest rooms look like they’ve seen some things.
Don’t be afraid to repurpose what you’ve got
If you don’t fancy paying for pieces which have been made to ‘look’ rustic, why not create the same effect yourself? Repurposing furniture has become big business in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. This is the easiest way to get the classic look in any home. All you would need to do is get out your sander and get to work. That polished wood coffee table could look like a pricey antique in no time. Even that leather sofa could look fantastic if you turn your hands to it. You may even find that you have a rug around the place which you can work on to give the impression of age. And, of course, it’s worth turning to thinks like your photo frames to complete the look. These options are the best thing we’ve mentioned so far because they needn’t cost you a penny. The fact that you’ve turned your hand to them also means that they add a whole new level of character. In no time, you’ll find yourself wondering ‘New build? What new build?’ the moment you close that front door behind you.
Focus on art
When you visit a grand traditional manner of any kind, what stands out to you the most? When you watch period dramas, what do you notice the most in all the rooms? In most cases, you’ll find that it’s the art. Large domineering portraits were all the rage in days gone by. And, they could be the thing which sees you complete that classic look in the newest of properties. We’re not saying, of course, that you need a gold-framed, lifesize painting of yourself up on your living room wall. That would be a little strange, and not a bit cheap. But, you may find that hanging more traditional-style paintings does the trick here. The thing to remember is that you want frames that at least look gold, but you can achieve that with a lick of paint. See, there’s that repurposing again. In an ideal world, you also want real paintings, preferably in oil. Get into the habit of looking out for these while you’re at those auctions, or even in charity shops. If you buy small paintings by lesser-known artists, you should be able to achieve this without spending much. You may also find that buying the frame and picture separately saves you a fair amount. Even if you can’t find the real deal for a reasonable price, a well-done print could achieve much the same effect. Once you have your paintings to hand, you can get to work hanging them in the right place to create that grand feeling. Admittedly, you may not want to go as all out with this as they did in the days of old. That could push your rooms a little too far. But, one or two well-placed pictures are sure to work a treat.
Before you fork out on those expensive classic elements, then, you should think again. In reality, the things mentioned above are sure to create more immediate impact than a set of sash windows on their own. And, you’ll have much more money left over after investing in these efforts. All the better for keeping up the hunt for the ideal antique piece. You could even keep that money in the bank for next time you fancy switching things up with your interiors. Admittedly, the quest for the ideal pieces may take you a while. This isn’t as easy as hiring a professional and telling them what you want. With antiques, especially, you may have to attend a few events to find the pieces you’re looking for. But, that makes it feel all the better when you finally find the ideal thing. As easy as that, you can give your rooms their own histories in a way. One thing’s sure; your home would soon become some kind of modern time machine.