Fresh and Fun Historic Home Makeover

Bedroom Design Tips
A pop of color and fresh, youthful accents transform this historic house into a modern, approachable living space. Get an inside look at how the homeowners transformed their 1890s rowhouse into a bright and colorful oasis thanks to hard work and a little elbow grease. In addition to freshening up the decor, the homeowners refinished the original hardwood floors, widened doorways, and brought the home up to date, uncovering its historic charms along the way.

Taking a Playful Approach

As soon as these homeowners found their historic home, they knew they wanted to bring a youthful, fresh twist to the decor. An ongoing black-and-white theme is a crisp backdrop for the mix of bold patterns and colors used in high-impact spots like the living room's round ottoman. Classic furniture keeps the decorating style grounded.


Warm & Cozy Fireplace

Removing layers of plaster in the living room revealed a beautiful brick fireplace that's showcased by built-in shelves. Not only do the shelves store books and collectibles, but they disguise the home's unsightly radiators, too. Because adding a mantel to the fireplace would have been one too many horizontal lines, the homeowners decided to skip it and hung a bold, black mirror instead.

Pops of Color

Juicy colors taken from the living room's ottoman fabric are sprinkled throughout the room and balance the black and white theme. Traditional furniture grouped around this "look at me" piece keeps the balance of classic and playful.

Layers of Texture

A mix of fabrics, textures, and colors liven up the historic feel of the rowhouse's clean lines and architectural elements. Fun pillows and throws bring a fresh look to the more traditional elements in the home.

Unique Entryway

The foyer gives an immediate introduction to the homeowners' signature style: equal parts tradition (the Afghan carpet and blue-and-white ceramics) and whimsy (penny tiles spelling out the house number and an intricate star chandelier).

Traditional Goes Modern

The classic dining room receives a style update courtesy of color contrasts and bold lines. Design aspects such as the striped rug and sleek black chairs play off a humble wood farm table in the room. An oversize wrought-iron chandelier stands out against clean white walls; striking black paint highlights the architectural details around the windows.

Opening Up

Replacing oak cabinets with simple shelving opened up the previously crowded kitchen in the small home. Opting for white walls and no window covering gives the illusion of more space in the room.

Backsplash Update

Choosing to use dark grout and countertops with the white subway tile backsplash continues the black-and-white color scheme in the kitchen. The open shelves also provide a chance to show off the beautiful white-and-blue ceramic dishes in their kitchen.

Colorful Kitchen Addition

A marble-topped table adds an extra food prep surface, serving space, and breakfast spot to the kitchen. The shelf below holds kitchen appliances and serving pieces. Pairing the table with bright red barstools adds a pop of color to the otherwise neutral kitchen. Adding a light fixture above the freestanding table helps it feel more integrated and intentional. 

Beautiful Bedroom

An antique chest reflects the historic elements brought into the master bedroom while bright lamps and other accessories add the signature flair. Monogrammed pillows, books, and albums displayed in the room personalize its design. A sweet foliage and hummingbird wallpaper turns the wall behind the bed into a focal point, while white walls elsewhere provide visual relief.

Balanced Design

In the master bedroom, masculine elements like the black nightstands and a tailored headboard mix with more feminine wallpaper and lavender Roman shades. 

Repurposed Vanity

The desk-turned-vanity table showcased in the bedroom was a $10 garage sale find. A bamboo-style chair in fearless red and a graphic black-and-white lamp modernizes its curvy lines and ornate hardware.

Learn designer Nathan Turner's secrets for pulling together a bedroom that's both relaxing and beautiful.

BONUS: Designer Bedroom Tips

Get the scoop on how to create a bedroom that's both relaxing and beautiful. 

Share the gallery

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.