How to Decorate a Historic Home

How to Decorate a Historic Home

Decorating a historic home is a great opportunity to blend the charm of the past with the comforts of modern living. For homeowners in Fort Lauderdale, the process of decorating these homes can be both fun and challenging. This blog provides a comprehensive guide to historic home decor, offering tips and inspiration to help you transform your historic property into a stylish and functional living space.

Understanding the Historic Home Aesthetic

Before diving into the specifics of decorating, it's essential to understand the aesthetic principles that define historic home decor. Historic homes often feature distinct architectural elements and design motifs that set them apart from modern properties. Key characteristics may include:

  • Architectural Details: Crown moldings, wainscoting, and original woodwork are common in historic homes.
  • Flooring: Hardwood floors, often with intricate inlays or patterns, are a hallmark of historic properties.
  • Fireplaces: Many historic homes feature grand fireplaces as focal points in living spaces.
  • Windows and Doors: Original windows and doors, often with unique hardware, add to the home's character.

Tips for Decorating a Historic Home

1. Respect the Architecture

When decorating a historic home, it’s crucial to respect its architectural integrity. This means preserving original features wherever possible. Instead of removing or covering original details, highlight them as focal points in your design. For example, if your historic home in Fort Lauderdale has beautiful crown molding, make sure it stands out with a complementary paint color or finish.

2. Choose Period-Appropriate Furnishings

To maintain the historic character of your home, consider incorporating period-appropriate furnishings. Antique or reproduction furniture can enhance the authenticity of your decor. Look for pieces that reflect the era of your home. For example, you could look for Victorian, Colonial, or Art Deco styles. Mixing these with modern elements can create a balanced and inviting space.

3. Use a Neutral Color Palette

A neutral color palette can provide a great backdrop for your historic home decor. Whites, creams, and soft grays can highlight architectural details and make rooms feel more spacious. You can then introduce pops of color through accessories like pillows, rugs, and artwork. A neutral palette can also enhance the brightness of your interiors.

4. Incorporate Vintage Textiles

Vintage textiles, like Persian rugs, lace curtains, and embroidered linens, can add warmth and texture to your historic home. These pieces often feature intricate patterns and craftsmanship that complement the character of older homes. Layering different textures can create a cozy vibe.

5. Highlight Original Features

Make the most of your home’s original features by turning them into focal points. Exposed brick walls, antique light fixtures, and original hardwood floors can serve as stunning design elements. If your home has unique architectural details, like built-in bookshelves or stained glass windows, make sure they are prominently featured in your decor.

6. Blend Modern and Antique Elements

A successful historic home decor scheme often involves blending modern and antique elements. This approach allows you to enjoy contemporary comforts while preserving the historic character of your home. For example, pair a modern sofa with an antique coffee table or install a sleek, modern kitchen while retaining original cabinetry.

7. Pay Attention to Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in highlighting the beauty of a historic home. Use a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Consider installing period-appropriate light fixtures, like chandeliers or sconces. In areas where more light is needed, discreet recessed lighting can provide additional illumination without detracting from the home’s character.

Decorating Specific Rooms in a Historic Home


In historic homes, kitchens are often smaller and more compartmentalized than in modern homes. When decorating your kitchen, aim to preserve original features like cabinetry and flooring while introducing modern conveniences. Consider updating appliances with models that have a retro design to keep with the period aesthetic. Open shelving can also be a great way to display vintage dishware and cookware.


For a serene and restful bedroom, use vintage textiles and period-appropriate furniture. An antique bed frame paired with modern bedding can create a cozy and inviting space. Incorporate vintage dressers and nightstands, and consider adding a statement piece like a crystal chandelier for an extra touch of elegance.


Historic home bathrooms often feature classic elements like clawfoot tubs and pedestal sinks. To enhance these features, use a neutral color palette and vintage-inspired fixtures. Marble countertops, hexagonal floor tiles, and antique mirrors can add a luxurious feel while maintaining the historic charm.

Incorporating Local Fort Lauderdale Elements

Living in Fort Lauderdale offers the unique opportunity to incorporate local elements into your historic home decor. Consider using tropical plants and coastal-inspired colors to reflect the vibrant South Florida environment. Outdoor spaces are also essential in Fort Lauderdale homes, so create inviting patios or gardens that blend seamlessly with the historic character of your property.

Partner with Austin Bergman

For personalized advice and to explore Fort Lauderdale real estate opportunities, contact Austin Bergman today. His expertise in historic homes and local market knowledge can help you find the perfect property and navigate the intricacies of historic home decor. Reach out to Austin Bergman to begin your journey today.

Work With Austin

There is no compromise to the level of excellence Austin Bergman provides his clients. He will be pleased to assist you with the highest caliber of professionalism, integrity, and commitment.

Follow Austin on Instagram