How to Update Your Home Without A Remodel

The beauty and charm of this traditional bedroom is warmed up with cozy accents. No remodeling required!

The beauty and charm of this traditional bedroom is warmed up with cozy accents. No remodeling required!

While I love the charm of a traditional pre-war home's fireplaces, walls, and flooring, it's often a challenge to decorate without it feeling stuffy. Let's admit it, most pre-war apartments and townhouses are drenched in gaudy gold gilded accents. Step into any hedge fund manager's "tony" Upper East Side apartment and you're instantly overwhelmed by the gold chandeliers and dining chairs that look more like a throne. Let's admit it, aristocracy had terrible interior design taste and perpetuating it is a design no-no. 

Go ahead and buy or lease the pre-war traditional home anyway because there's some design tips and tricks to update it without requiring an expensive remodel job. 

Cozy Accents Warm Up Any Traditional Pre-War Home

The pre-war bedroom featured above uses a cozy knit throw, two fuzzy rugs slightly separated, and a blue velvet headboard to soften up the room. The white sconce lights have an unusually long exposed wiring in matching white to create drama and detail along an otherwise boring white bedroom.

Go For Warm Toned Furniture Pieces

The soft birch of these dining chairs give the room a warmth and playfulness to this traditional pre-war informal dining room.  

The soft birch of these dining chairs give the room a warmth and playfulness to this traditional pre-war informal dining room.  

Birch and chestnut furniture pieces give a pre-war room a more modern personality. The warmth of the wood gives it edge and youth.  Darker shades like mahogany, cherry wood, and black stains make the room feel old and stuffy. Be young, vibrant, and warm when decorating a traditional pre-warm apartment. 

Be Bold With Dark Walls In A Pre-War Apartment 

Dark wall colors highlight the original details in a pre-war apartment while also giving it a modern design update. 

Dark wall colors highlight the original details in a pre-war apartment while also giving it a modern design update. 

Most people buy or rent a pre-war apartment because of the character of the original details that you just can't find in modern buildings. Dark wall color can help highlight the wall trim, fireplace, original flooring and more. Be bold and brave. I promise you won't regret it!   

Go Minimal In A Pre-War Apartment  

There's a stark beauty and power that lies in a minimalist designed pre-war apartment. 

There's a stark beauty and power that lies in a minimalist designed pre-war apartment. 

If you simply hate chestnut furniture, fuzzy rugs, and cozy knit throws, it's okay to run the other way. Minimalism is a hot design trend. Best of all, you don't have to sacrifice your taste in sleek modern Italian furniture. Just make sure that you color palette stays the same throughout the room. While black is a common base shade in the minimalist movement, it's okay to use other colors as your base shade. Just be sure to stick with it throughout the room and avoid random colors. For example if blue is your base color, you can use any shade of blue throughout the room just don't stray to red or green pieces. 

What are your tips for a pre-war apartment or townhouse?