Photo courtesy of Roomations

By: Lakshmi Jayanthi of

Oak Park is filled with lovely homes that have a ton of character, which means they can be vintage. These homes can be extremely well-built and a few simple decisions can update the spaces to make them more functional and inviting. Here are some tips if you’re settled into a vintage home but are looking for a modern look. 

1. Write down your likes and dislikes

This may seem obvious, but to start with, ask yourself what it is about your place that you like and don’t like. Is there too much wood? A lot of clutter? How is the walking flow? Does the furniture fit your style? The list of the things you love will tell you what parts of your home’s character to preserve and highlight. It will also make you less timid about drastic changes in other areas, because you’ll have confidence that the parts of your home that add the most character will not be touched. Thinking about each room and writing it down will make it easier for you to know your next steps.

2. Consider removing walls

If you live in an old home that has not been remodeled, chances are that there are numerous small rooms, which was the trend for many years. These days, people love the idea of one “Great Room” which usually connects the family room close to the kitchen and dining area. Just because there are walls doesn’t mean they can’t come down! Talk to an architect or contractor about the options to knock some down to make an open space. 

3. Increase lighting

One big complaint about vintage homes or condos is that they are dark. Remove ornate fixtures and replace them with can lights or a modern focal piece. Find out if it’s possible to put in some larger windows or doors with glass. 

4. Flooring

Expose those woods! Many homes cover up the wood floors with carpet. Some even have carpet running through the bathrooms! Remove those carpets and finish the floors. If you don’t have wood underneath, look into installing either wood, stone or tile. These materials will last longer and increase the value of your place. 

5. Replace hardware on cabinets

I love this quick trick that can easily be a weekend project. You can change the metal color, style and shape to a simpler modern look. 

6. Paint!

Whether it’s just the walls or if you’re feeling a little daring, repainting all your cabinets, a small investment in paint can go a long way! To really create a modern, fresh look, bright and light is key. It may seem boring, but sticking to neutrals like bright whites, grays and beiges will truly bring your space to a new century.

7. Furniture, art and rugs 

Just because your place is older doesn’t mean you have to have “older” looking pieces. Embrace the modern with clean-lined furniture, newer brighter artwork, or geometric-Moroccan style rugs. Embracing a little bit of minimalism when it comes to furniture will help get rid of the clutter and let the room breathe. 
A modern-vintage home will inspire you to have the calm, unique retreat you have been looking for. The possibilities are endless and with a little work you can have the best of both worlds. If you’re looking for design suggestions for your vintage home from a professional interior designer, be sure to visit 

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