The elements that you decide to incorporate into an old home's design and décor will depend on the actual era of the home's design. Today, "old house" can mean anything from the classic 1970s split-level ranch home, to old estates built in the 1800s. Never think that you are limited in your decorating choices because of the age of the house. There are many décor choices that work well with each old home, and one is sure to be a perfect match for your personal style and taste.
Where to start.
You have several decisions to make when you are decorating old homes. Take plenty of time to think about how you would like the house to look; this includes what upgrades that you may need to make in order to incorporate all of the decorating ideas into your home. Take into consideration that the home's electrical wiring may not be updated to safe standards. Before upgrading your modern appliances, personal electronics and new light fixtures, have the electrical system inspected to make sure that your electrical wiring can handle the full electrical load. Also have the plumbing inspected before attempting to install new water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, or upgrade bathrooms.
You can choose to decorate according to the era of the home, using vintage paint colours, fabric patterns, furnishings and accessories. A great place to get vintage ideas is from magazines and photos of historical era homes. You may opt for a vintage look combined with a modern twist, particularly for the convenience of a modern kitchen and bathroom facilities. You can also use period furniture pieces, and dress them in modern fabrics and colour schemes. Another choice is to simply choose a favourite piece of furniture, or a favourite colour and build your decorating scheme from there. Remember that if you are decorating a large home with big rooms, your major furniture pieces need to be to scale within the size of the room, and then you can accessorise with smaller pieces within the remaining space. If you intend to use furnishings and décor from a previous home, you will need to see how they look and fit in the older house. If they are to scale and the style complements the older house, then add fresh paint and fabric to match your new colour scheme to draw everything together as a coordinated whole.
Lighting will be an important part of the design of your older home, especially if you are decorating a very old house. Lighting fixtures in really old houses were few and far between, as are electrical outlets. If the home you are about to decorate does not already have upgraded lighting, you may want to put this at the top of your list of things to do. The ambience and atmosphere of your home is in many ways determined by the types of lighting you choose and how that lighting illuminates the rooms.