Interior Design Q&A: Styling a 100-Year-Old Home

March 23, 2014 | 8:52 pm
The George Fox house, built 1903, is an example of a turn-of-the-century home that might pose styling challenges to a new homeowner.

Are you an old home enthusiast wondering how to style (or re-style) your favorite gem?  Let’s drop in on this Q&A session with someone in a similar situation:


I have a 100-year-old farmhouse that has dark trim and doors throughout. The previous owners painted the walls white in order to sell, but it is TOO stark of a contrast. I am trying to decide on a wall color that will work well with the dark trim. Most of my furniture is dark wood pieces, but I have burgundy, navy and cream colors in my accent pieces, rugs and sofa (creamy-buff). How can I pull these colors together with an appropriate wall color?


Am I correct that all of the trim and doors are dark wood? It was very common in some of the older houses (you often see this reflected now, as homes attempt to restore their historical integrity) that the trim and doors were painted darker colors (green, blue, burgundy, etc.). I would agree to add color to your walls and actually, you may not need much. You might be surprised at how much a warm cream could change a room. If you like a light, open room you might want to stay away from the darker colors (blue and burgundy) unless you have a significant amount of natural sunlight in those rooms to brighten the darker colors. Do you have any tan or taupe in any of the furniture or accent pieces in the room? If so, you may be able to pull some of those colors from the furniture to your walls. If you choose to use the dark burgundy or blue, an option you might consider could be to paint a single accent wall a burgundy or blue. A second option to consider could be to use a neutral color in the main rooms (family room, living room – if you use it frequently, etc) and to use the accent colors in the remaining rooms to pull out the neutrals. A burgundy dining room can be both elegant and warm! Good luck and please contact us for further assistance.


(Picture By i_am_jim (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

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