How Do You Decorate Update a Colonial Home

Colonial homes have a unique charm and historic appeal that many homeowners find irresistible. Whether you are the proud owner of a colonial house or are looking to purchase one, updating and decorating these timeless structures can be a daunting but rewarding task. So, how do you decorate update a colonial home while preserving its traditional feel and incorporating modern elements?

With their symmetrical designs, columns, gabled roofs, and shuttered windows, colonial homes stand as testaments to America’s architectural heritage. These houses typically exude elegance and grace, making them popular among those who appreciate classic design aesthetics. However, updating a colonial home requires a delicate balance between honoring its historic features and infusing contemporary touches to suit modern lifestyles.

When tackling the decoration of a colonial home, it is essential to understand its architectural features first. From the iconic columns to the intricate moldings and trim work, each element contributes to the overall character of the house. By choosing a color palette that complements these architectural details, incorporating modern furniture pieces, updating lighting fixtures, and adding texture through textiles and accessories, you can successfully enhance the beauty of your colonial home while maintaining its historical integrity.

Understanding the Architectural Features of a Colonial Home

Colonial homes are known for their timeless charm and historical significance. When it comes to updating and decorating these classic residences, it is essential to understand the architectural features that define them. From the symmetry of the facades to the use of decorative moldings and columns, colonial homes exude elegance and traditional appeal.

To effectively update a colonial home, start by acknowledging its architectural elements and incorporating them into your design plan. Consider these key features as you work on enhancing the beauty of your home:

  • Symmetrical facade: One of the hallmarks of colonial architecture is the symmetrical layout of the exterior. Emphasize this feature by ensuring that any additions or changes you make maintain balance on both sides of the home.
  • Decorative moldings: Crown moldings, chair rails, and wainscoting are common in colonial homes. Highlight these details with a fresh coat of paint or updated finishes to bring out their classic beauty.
  • Columns and pillars: Many colonial homes feature grand columns or pillars at the entrance or throughout the interior. Consider ways to accentuate these structural elements while integrating modern touches for a cohesive look.

By understanding and respecting these architectural components, you can create a harmonious blend between traditional charm and contemporary style in your colonial home décor.How Do You Decorate Update a Colonial Home.

Choosing a Color Palette That Complements Colonial Architecture

Colonial homes are known for their timeless charm and historical significance, making them a popular choice for homeowners looking to embrace traditional architecture. When it comes to updating and decorating a colonial home, choosing the right color palette is essential in enhancing its architectural features while giving it a fresh and modern look.

To create a cohesive and harmonious design in a colonial home, consider selecting colors that complement its classic features. Here are some tips on how to choose a color palette that complements colonial architecture:

  • Embrace neutral tones like whites, creams, beiges, and grays for a classic and timeless look
  • Consider incorporating deeper shades such as navy blue, forest green, or burgundy for a more dramatic effect
  • Avoid overly bright or bold colors that may clash with the traditional elements of a colonial home

By carefully selecting the right hues for your colonial home, you can create a warm and inviting space that pays homage to its historic roots while still feeling updated and modern.

In addition to choosing the right color palette, it’s important to consider the role of natural light in your colonial home. Natural light can greatly impact how colors appear in a space, so be sure to test out paint samples in different areas of your home to see how they look throughout the day. By taking these factors into account, you can successfully update and decorate your colonial home while maintaining its classic appeal.

Incorporating Modern Elements While Preserving the Colonial Aesthetic

When it comes to updating and decorating a colonial home, finding the perfect balance between preserving its historical charm and incorporating modern elements can be a daunting task. However, with the right approach, you can seamlessly blend the old with the new to create a stylish and unique space that honors the home’s heritage while also reflecting your personal style.

Respect the Architectural Integrity

One of the key aspects to consider when updating a colonial home is respecting its architectural integrity. This means paying attention to details such as moldings, trim work, and woodwork that are characteristic of colonial style homes. Instead of covering up or removing these features, consider enhancing them by using modern colors or finishes that complement their traditional look.

How to Pick a Home Decor Style

Mixing Traditional and Contemporary Elements

To update a colonial home while preserving its aesthetic, focus on mixing traditional and contemporary elements in your decor. For example, consider pairing antique furniture pieces with sleek modern fixtures or incorporating traditional patterns in bold, modern colors. This juxtaposition will create a sense of harmony in the space while adding a touch of visual interest.

Update Without Overpowering

When incorporating modern elements into a colonial home, it’s important to update without overpowering the existing architecture. This can be achieved by choosing statement pieces strategically placed throughout the space or opting for subtle updates like switching out hardware or lighting fixtures. By maintaining a balance between old and new, you can achieve a cohesive design that celebrates both the history of the home and your individual style preferences.

Furniture and Decor

When it comes to updating and decorating a colonial home, finding the right balance between traditional and contemporary furniture and decor is essential. Colonial homes are known for their classic, timeless appeal, but adding modern elements can give them a fresh and updated look. Mixing the old with the new can create a unique and stylish space that respects the history of the home while also reflecting your personal style.

Repurposing Antiques

One way to incorporate traditional pieces into your colonial home’s decor is by repurposing antiques. Antique furniture adds character and charm to a living space while also serving as a conversation piece. Consider refinishing an old dining table or reupholstering vintage chairs to give them a modern twist. By mixing old and new pieces, you can create a cohesive look that combines the best of both worlds.

Choosing Contemporary Accessories

To achieve a balanced look in your colonial home, consider adding contemporary accessories to complement your traditional furniture. Opt for sleek, minimalist accents like metal vases or geometric sculptures to contrast with the intricate woodwork and detailing of your colonial architecture. Mixing old-world charm with modern touches can create a visually appealing aesthetic that feels both cozy and up-to-date.

Mixing Styles

Don’t be afraid to mix different styles when decorating your colonial home. Experiment with blending mid-century modern chairs with a classic Victorian sofa or pairing industrial lighting fixtures with antique chandeliers. Mixing styles adds interest and personality to your space while allowing you to showcase your individual taste. By striking the right balance between traditional and contemporary elements, you can create a harmonious environment that feels both comfortable and sophisticated in your colonial home.

Updating Lighting Fixtures for a More Modern Look

When it comes to updating a colonial home, one essential aspect to consider is the lighting fixtures. While traditional colonial homes often feature ornate and classic light fixtures, incorporating modern lighting elements can help give your space a fresh and contemporary feel. One way to achieve this is by opting for sleek and minimalist designs that provide ample illumination while adding a touch of modernity to the overall aesthetic of your home.

Another approach to updating lighting fixtures in a colonial home is by mixing different styles. For example, consider pairing a vintage chandelier with modern recessed lighting to create an interesting contrast that blends old-world charm with contemporary sophistication. This blending of traditional and modern elements can help strike a balance between preserving the historical integrity of your colonial home while giving it a more updated look.

In addition to selecting the right style of lighting fixtures, it’s important to pay attention to the type of light they emit. Opt for energy-efficient LED bulbs that not only help reduce electricity costs but also provide a clean and bright illumination that complements both traditional and modern decor styles.

By strategically updating your lighting fixtures in a colonial home, you can enhance the ambiance of each room while infusing a touch of contemporary flair into your living space.

Style MixingPairing vintage chandeliers with modern recessed lighting can create an interesting contrast.
LED BulbsUsing energy-efficient LED bulbs helps reduce electricity costs and provides clean, bright illumination.

Adding Texture and Dimension With Textiles and Accessories

When it comes to updating and decorating a colonial home, textiles and accessories play a crucial role in adding texture and dimension to the space. Colonial homes often feature traditional architectural elements such as wood beams, brick fireplaces, and wainscoting. To enhance these features while infusing modern style, consider incorporating textiles like throw pillows, area rugs, curtains, and upholstery in contemporary patterns and textures.

One way to add texture is by choosing fabrics with different tactile qualities such as velvet, linen, or faux fur. For instance, a plush velvet sofa can bring a touch of luxury to a colonial living room, while a natural jute rug can introduce organic texture to the space. Additionally, mixing and matching various textures like smooth leather accent chairs with knitted throw blankets can create visual interest and depth in the room.

Cherry Home Decor

Accessories also play a significant role in adding dimension to a colonial home. Opt for decor pieces that contrast with the traditional elements of the house to create a dynamic interplay of old and new. Consider incorporating metallic accents like brass or chrome candle holders, mirrors, or picture frames to bring shine and reflect light in the space. Moreover, incorporating decorative objects such as ceramic vases, sculptures, or glass ornaments can add personality and character to the room.

Key TextileKey Accessory
Velvet SofaMetallic Accents
Natural Fiber RugDecorative Objects

Bringing the Outdoors In

When updating and decorating a colonial home, one important aspect to consider is bringing the outdoors in and creating a seamless connection with nature. Colonial homes often feature large windows, French doors, and porches that provide great opportunities to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces. Embracing natural elements in your décor can help enhance the overall aesthetic of your home while creating a welcoming and cozy atmosphere.

To achieve a seamless connection with nature in your colonial home, consider incorporating organic materials such as wood, stone, and rattan into your interior design. Opt for furniture pieces made from reclaimed wood or wicker to add warmth and texture to your space.

You can also introduce indoor plants and greenery to bring a touch of nature indoors. Hanging lush drapes or sheer curtains can help soften the transition between indoor and outdoor spaces while allowing natural light to filter through.

Another way to connect with nature in your colonial home is by incorporating earthy tones and botanical prints into your color scheme. Choose soft hues inspired by the outdoors such as sage green, terracotta, or sandy beige to create a calming ambiance.

Incorporating floral patterns, leaf motifs, or botanical-inspired artwork can also bring an element of the outdoors inside. By embracing natural elements in your décor, you can create a harmonious flow between your colonial home’s interior and the surrounding landscape, enhancing its charm and character.


To successfully update and decorate a colonial home, it is essential to strike a balance between preserving the historic charm and incorporating modern elements. Understanding the architectural features of a colonial home, such as symmetrical facades, decorative molding, and multi-pane windows, is crucial in choosing a color palette that complements the traditional aesthetic.

Soft, neutral tones like creamy whites, warm beiges, and soft grays can enhance the classic charm of a colonial home while still providing a neutral backdrop for modern accents.

When it comes to furniture and decor, finding the right balance between traditional pieces and contemporary elements is key. Mixing antiques with sleek, modern pieces can create an eclectic yet cohesive look that combines old-world charm with updated style. Consider incorporating clean lines and minimalist designs to contrast with the intricate details of colonial architecture.

Updating lighting fixtures is another effective way to modernize a colonial home. Opt for fixtures with clean lines and simple silhouettes to complement the traditional features of the space. Adding texture and dimension with textiles like rugs, throw pillows, and curtains can also help create a more inviting atmosphere while adding a touch of contemporary flair.

Ultimately, successfully updating and decorating a colonial home involves respecting its history while infusing it with your personal style. By carefully selecting colors, furniture, lighting fixtures, textures, and accessories that blend seamlessly with the classic architectural elements of a colonial home, you can create a timeless yet fresh look that honors its heritage while making it feel like your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Make a Colonial Look More Modern?

To make a colonial look more modern, consider updating the color palette with fresh, contemporary tones. Introduce clean-lined furniture and accessories to contrast with traditional architectural elements. Mixing modern artwork and lighting fixtures can also help achieve a more updated look.

How Do You Decorate a Traditional Colonial Home?

Decorating a traditional colonial home involves embracing its historical charm while adding personal touches. Incorporate classic elements like wingback chairs, antique rugs, and wooden furniture. Enhance the traditional feel with warm colors, floral patterns, and elegant window treatments.

What Is Modern Colonial Style?

Modern colonial style is a blend of traditional colonial architecture with modern design trends. It combines classic features like symmetrical facades and formal spaces with contemporary elements such as open floor plans, minimalist decor, and industrial accents. The result is a timeless yet innovative approach to interior design that honors the past while embracing the present.

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