How to Decorate a Historic Home

June 6, 2024
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Decorating a historic home is a unique and rewarding challenge. These homes come with rich histories, architectural details, and a sense of charm that modern homes often lack. The key to historic home decor is to enhance the character of the property while integrating modern comforts and personal style. Whether you're a new owner of a historic home in Grapevine, TX, or simply looking to refresh your existing space, this guide will help you strike the perfect balance between preservation and innovation.

Embrace the Architectural Details

One of the most appealing aspects of a historic home is its unique architectural features. These elements often tell a story and provide a glimpse into the past. When decorating your historic home, it's essential to highlight and preserve these details.

Original Moldings and Trim

Original moldings and trim work are often intricate and beautiful, showcasing the craftsmanship of a bygone era. Instead of painting over these features, consider restoring them to their former glory. Stripping away old paint and refinishing the wood can reveal stunning details that add character and elegance to your home.

Fireplaces and Mantels

Historic homes often feature grand fireplaces and mantels that serve as focal points in a room. Enhance these features by restoring the original brick or stonework and adding decorative elements such as antique mirrors, vintage artwork, or period-appropriate accessories. This not only preserves the historic charm but also creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Windows and Doors

Original windows and doors are another key feature of historic homes. While replacing them with modern alternatives may be tempting, restoring these elements can maintain the home's authenticity. Consider repairing and weatherproofing old windows and refinishing original doors to keep the historic aesthetic intact.

Choose a Color Palette that Compliments the Era

The color palette you choose can significantly impact your historic home's overall look and feel. Selecting colors that complement the era in which the house was built can create a cohesive and harmonious decor scheme.

Victorian Homes

Rich, deep colors such as burgundy, emerald green, and navy blue were popular in Victorian-era homes. These colors can be used on walls, in wallpaper patterns, or as accents in upholstery and drapery. Pair these deep hues with intricate patterns and detailed woodwork for an authentic Victorian look.

Colonial Homes

Colonial homes often feature more subdued and earthy tones, such as soft blues, muted greens, and warm neutrals. These colors can create a serene and timeless atmosphere. Incorporate these shades into your walls, furniture, and textiles to achieve a classic Colonial style.

Mid-Century Homes

Mid-century homes are known for their bold and vibrant color schemes. Think mustard yellow, teal, and burnt orange. These colors can be used as accents in furniture, rugs, and artwork to bring a touch of retro flair to your historic home decor.

Integrate Modern Comforts with Vintage Charm

While preserving your home's historic charm is essential, it's also important to incorporate modern comforts and conveniences. The key is to blend old and new elements seamlessly.

Furniture and Upholstery

When selecting furniture for your historic home, opt for pieces that complement the architectural style while providing modern comfort. Antique or vintage furniture can add character, but mixing in contemporary pieces can prevent the space from feeling too dated. Upholstery in rich fabrics such as velvet or linen can enhance the overall aesthetic.


Lighting plays a crucial role in historic home decor. To maintain historical integrity, restore or replicate period-appropriate fixtures such as chandeliers, sconces, and pendant lights. At the same time, consider incorporating modern lighting solutions, such as LED bulbs and smart lighting systems, to enhance functionality and energy efficiency.

Kitchen and Bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms in historic homes often require the most significant updates to meet modern standards. When renovating these spaces, aim to preserve original features such as cabinetry, tile work, and fixtures while incorporating contemporary appliances and plumbing. For example, a vintage clawfoot tub can be paired with a modern faucet and showerhead to create a blend of old-world charm and modern luxury.

Use Vintage and Antique Accessories

Accessories play a vital role in tying together the decor of a historic home. Vintage and antique accessories can add depth and authenticity to your space.

Artwork and Mirrors

Vintage artwork and mirrors can enhance the character of your historic home. Look for pieces that reflect the era of your home or add a touch of timeless elegance. Antique frames, portraits, and landscapes can create a gallery wall that serves as a focal point in a room.

Rugs and Textiles

Rugs and textiles can add warmth and texture to your historic home decor. Persian rugs, kilims, and other vintage carpets can complement the architectural features and color palette of your home. Additionally, antique textiles such as quilts, tapestries, and lace curtains can add a layer of history and charm.

Decorative Objects

Incorporate decorative objects that reflect the period of your home. Antique clocks, vintage vases, and old books can add character and tell a story. Mixing these items with contemporary decor can create a curated and eclectic look that feels both timeless and personal.

Maintain Authenticity with Period-Appropriate Finishes

Attention to detail is crucial when decorating a historic home. Using period-appropriate finishes can enhance the authenticity of your decor.


Restoring or replicating original flooring can significantly impact the overall look of your historic home. Hardwood floors, tile, and even linoleum can be restored or chosen to match the era of your home. Consider refinishing existing floors or installing reclaimed wood for a truly authentic touch.


Hardware such as door handles, cabinet knobs, and light switches can add subtle yet significant details to your decor. Look for period-appropriate hardware or high-quality reproductions to maintain the historical integrity of your home. Brass, bronze, and porcelain are popular materials that can add a vintage touch.

Wall Treatments

Wall treatments such as wainscoting, beadboard, and wallpaper can add texture and interest to your historic home decor. Choose patterns and materials that reflect the period of your home, and consider incorporating hand-painted or custom designs for a unique and personalized touch.

Blend Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Historic homes often feature beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces that can be seamlessly integrated into your decor. Creating a connection between indoor and outdoor areas can enhance the overall ambiance and provide additional living space.

Porches and Patios

If your historic home has a porch or patio, make the most of it by creating a comfortable and inviting outdoor living area. Vintage wicker furniture, wrought iron tables, and cozy cushions can create a charming and functional space for relaxing and entertaining.

Gardens and Landscaping

Incorporate period-appropriate plants and landscaping elements to complement your home's architectural style. Heirloom flowers, heritage vegetables, and antique garden ornaments can create a cohesive and historically accurate outdoor space. Consider adding pathways, arbors, and seating areas to enhance the usability and beauty of your garden.

Find Your Dream Historic Home with The Wall Team

Decorating a historic home is a labor of love that requires creativity, respect for history, and an eye for detail. Whether you're restoring an old mansion or adding personal touches to a charming cottage, the process can be both rewarding and transformative.

If you're considering making Texas your home and are interested in historic properties, The Wall Team Realty Associates can help you find the perfect match. With years of experience in the local real estate market and a passion for preserving the charm and character of historic homes, The Wall Team Realty Associates offers personalized service and expert advice. Whether you're looking for a grand estate with a rich history or a quaint house with vintage charm, we can help you navigate the options and find your dream property. Contact The Wall Team Realty Associates today and start your journey to finding the perfect Texas historic home.

*Header image courtesy of The Wall Team Realty Associates

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