Bringing modern day living and period home design together isn’t always easy.

The main appeal of a period property lies in its age and its character, it is all about balance. If you’re not careful, modernising a home too much could lose some of that historic appeal. Renovating period properties can be exciting, but you need to be very careful with how much of the modern world you bring into your new home. For example, knowing how to mix modern and traditional furniture in a property is critical.

Why Modernise Period Property?

It’s extremely popular for people to look for period home interior design tips. Current trends show that blending modern with old has never been more popular. But why is this?

  • Period homes exude character and beautiful charm, and modern home design is convenient and practical. There is often a higher level of comfort in contemporary furniture, too.
  • Modern people have modern tastes. Even those who love period design will admit that a blend of the new and the old is preferable for design and comfort.

Modernising period property is all about retaining character while making it comfortable and practical for the current age. Go too far modern, and you risk losing some stunning, historical set pieces.

In this guide, we will look at some of the most effective ways to bring modern design into period homes. We’ll also look at easy ways for you to modify period property without losing any of its charm.

You’re going to need to balance function and style.

Considering Colour and Paint

When looking at interior design, you should always think about colours first, and fittings later. You may have your favourite colour schemes. You may even feel that specific colours go better with certain styles. However, there are some things you should consider before you start choosing a period home colour scheme.

Think about using neutral or muted colours. The striking interior design of a period property won’t need big, brash blends as far as the paint you put on your walls. It can’t hurt to think about bringing in striking colours for furnishings and carpets, especially darker shades and tones. However, what you want to avoid is bringing in a colour scheme which is far too brash, and far too distracting.

The balance you need to achieve when picking the right colour scheme for a period home is making sure you don’t distract from the existing character. Take a look at some examples of before and after shots online, or consult a period design expert.

Maximising Natural Light

Natural light is always a commodity you’re going to want to use. That goes for period homes and modern properties. However, with contemporary properties, you would typically maximise light by making use of glass partitions, large windows and even skylights. In a period property, these standards are going to look very out of place.

  • Many period homes have small, narrow windows. That means, to maximise natural light, you may need to consider having them renovated or replaced. It’s essential to consult with period home design experts for advice on how to best achieve this.
  • Replacing period windows may be recommended in any case. Window systems dating back centuries won’t be efficient at keeping in heat. What’s more, they may result in you being charged more for energy costs and the running of your property.
  • However, you can still bring in bay windows, or modern fittings, with a historical flair. Natural light is something you are not going to want to compromise on. This doesn’t mean you have to modernise these facets of your property completely. It merely means you have to think carefully about striking a balance between the old and the new – and expert designers and installers will be able to help you.
  • Do also think about mirrors. Many period properties make use of ornate mirrors, and they can help to expand the sense of space in any room.

Choosing Furniture

Choosing the right furniture is going to be a crucial step in the renovation of your property. Knowing how to mix modern and traditional furniture together well can take practice and a keen eye. However, plenty of people manage it perfectly well.

  • Don’t be afraid to mix modern and period furniture. Bringing in contemporary furniture only could clash with your interior design. You may get plenty of comfort, but you could be doing your home a disservice.
  • Once again, blending two ages of furniture together is a great way to create a liveable, modern space with enough period character for it to look unique.
  • Think about period furnishings which you can upgrade to modern standards. Look at vintage armchairs, standing lamps, and even artwork. Try to strike an equal balance between modern and period touches. Too much of one era could change the whole look of a room.
  • You could have period lighting pieces and storage, such as cupboards and cabinets, alongside simple, unassuming chairs and sofas. The modern pieces you are going to want to bring in should be straightforward, not distracting. Your visitors’ eyes should be drawn to the few well-chosen period pieces you have brought in, while they should take advantage of modern comforts.
  • Faux fireplaces and coal burners may also be a nice touch depending on the style of home you are looking for.
  • If you’re thinking about period bedroom design ideas, look for a large bed with ornamental flourishes as your centrepiece. Use mirrors to expand the look of the room, but don’t overdress it otherwise. Providing your bed frame is striking, and contemporary in comfort and functionality; you will be doing more than enough.

The Courtyard Garden Approach

Many period home renovations make use of small, courtyard garden spaces to help complement their interior spaces. Courtyard gardens can be enjoyed from inside your home, which means when cultivated well, they can blend in with your interior design choices.

  • Upgrading a courtyard garden is an excellent idea if your living areas are particularly muted or dominated by bay windows. These gardens can be used all year round as they are often well-enclosed, and you’ll be able to look out on anything you may be growing from the comfort of your living or dining room.
  • Courtyard-style gardens may be small, but you can do a lot with them. Be creative with paving, plant pots, central arrangements and water features. Try to match the era of the property itself as closely as possible.

Considering Bathrooms

Bathroom spaces can often be some of the trickiest to modernise successfully. We all need modern bathroom fittings. However, there are a few period bathroom features you can bring in to strike a clearer balance.

  • Ornate mirrors, sink and tap designs can make all the difference. Naturally, you are going to need modern facilities in a bathroom for health and safety reasons. However, by making use of certain flourishes and styles, you can evoke periods such as the Victorian era with ease.
  • A traditional bathtub, inspired by period architecture and fittings, will work wonders as a centrepiece. This, too, will carry all the modern effects and functionalities you need it to.

When it comes to upgrading a period bathroom, modern comforts are key. However, that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice styling it in the fashion of the property.


From period home colour schemes to learning how to mix modern and traditional furniture, striking the right balance takes time and patience.

For specialist help, advice and project support, our design and build team is always here to help.

Call Period Extensions & Designs today on 03 9882 5255 or click here.

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