10 Ways To Give Your Ugly, New House A Dash Of Classy, Old-House Charm

You’re a classy individual. So, you can appreciate the architectural interest of an amazing old house. But, you’re not living without central heating and air, so you’re stuck in some plain, stark, newly-constructed box. But, not for long. -Tabitha Sukhai, thisoldhouse.com Like us on Facebook, see awesome stuff like this all the time

1. You’re Royalty. Put Up Some Crown.

Crown molding brings a timeless sophistication to any room. Still, the job may strike fear in the heart of many amateur carpenters, and even some pros. But you’ve got moxie and we’ve got a grip full of how-to help to guide you along. So stop being a wuss. (If that’s not a possibility, don’t worry. The next project is easier.)

2. Stairs Need Love, Too.

Stairs are the oft-overlooked middle child of home decor. And even when you do remember they’re there, newel posts and balusters get all the attention. Take your staircase from Jan to Marsha Brady with How to Add Shapely Stair Brackets. If Denise Huxtable-cool is what you’re going for, lay down a stair runner and these gorgeous runner rods, too.

3. Improve the View From the Bed or Bathtub or Anyplace Else You’re Forced to Look Up at Nothing

Ceilings can be dull. Think of the vast expanse of “blah” as a fifth wall that you can adorn with something other than Nickelback posters. How about an architectural showpiece of pressed metal, instead? See How to Hang a Tin Ceiling to learn how you can do it in a weekend.

4. Ok, Ok. If You’re Busy, Broke, and/or Lazy You Can Just Put Up a Ceiling Medallion

No shame in the game, friends. Installing a decorative disk centered overhead is nice, too. More easy-DIY points: what was once made from heavy, fragile plaster is now available in molded polyurethane which is lightweight, more forgiving, and much easier on the wallet. No one will ever know you sold out. How-to linked above.

5. Go Way Beyond Paint with Wainscoting

We’re the first to say all you need is a can of paint. But, you can take your walls from 2D to 3D (paper glasses not required). 3DIY by recreating this look, or you can install gorgeous Lincrusta wainscot, or go for the old standby, beadboard.

6. Plate-Rack Hack

Don’t tell anyone we told you this, but it turns out you can find easy DIY kits for a lot of kitchen built-in upgrades. “Built-ins-in-a-box” include everything you need (except tools) to make a custom installation. See 6 of our favorites, including the plate rack insert shown above, in Stylish Kitchen Upgrades From DIY Kits.

7. Drop the Baseboards

Despite their lowly position along the floor, baseboards are one of a house’s defining features. Bonus on this project? You’ll be sharpening those carpentry skills, and TOH master carpenter Norm Abram would approve. Here’s How to Install Baseboards.

8. Coffer It Up

Ceiling coffers came into vogue during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when American architecture went retro with a revival of classical house styles. Originally used to dress up beams, you can easily get the look with a little DIY. Here’s how, PLUS even more ways to Add Old-House Charm.

9. Who Doesn’t Love a Good Window Seat?

No one. That’s who. And, I’m going to share another secret with you. Hiring someone to build a niche with a custom window seat is not the kind of thing you do in this economy. BUT you can follow this hack right here: assemble stock cabinetry into a nook surrounded by storage. Here’s how to do it in a weekend.

10. Because Tom Silva Said So

Trimming out windows is one of TOH general contractor Tom Silva’s favorite finish-carpentry projects. And, that’s honestly all the reason you need to do it. How-to linked above. (If you do this project, send before-and-after photos to toh_social@thisoldhouse.com with BUZZFEED CHALLENGE in the subject line, and we’ll send you a Silva Bros. Construction t-shirt. If we can find one.)

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