What You Should Know Before Updating a Historic Home

Updated living room with crown molding and wood cornices over the windows
While you can update many interior features, what’s the point in living in a historic home if you don’t preserve some of them? Translation: Keep those cornices! (DepositPhotos)

3. Preserve Historic Elements

When making upgrades, remember which elements of the home give it historic status. These are the elements that you should focus on preserving.

For example, it may be a room where a famous person stayed or a specific type of historical architecture. So, keep the corbels, cornices and fluting that give the home character.

You can even seek out historic design features and details to incorporate into newer additions of your home for a truly astounding and accurate look.

Man wearing a mask and gloves while installing mineral wool insulation in the attic
Most historic homes weren’t energy efficient when they were built. So go ahead and add some mineral wool insulation.

4. Aim for Energy Efficiency

Even though you may not be able to change some things about the house, eventually it will need upgrades such as new windows, lighting and insulation.

You can likely preserve the style and look of the home while still improving the energy efficiency of various structural elements. Doing so supports the environment and lowers your utility bills.

There are many benefits to buying a historic home, such as owning a piece of history and enjoying the tax incentives for maintaining and preserving these properties. There are also restrictions you must obey.  

However, there is still much you can do to modernize a historic home while maintaining its historical look and charm.

Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer.


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