Buying an Old Home? 5 Ways to Make it Your Own

People who enjoy history and retro decorating styles often buy older homes to renovate. This can be a fun and creative project that will take time and may cost some money, but the final result will be a beautiful home they can enjoy for years to come. Before considering the interior decorating aspect, it is important to evaluate and update key structural elements of the house. Here are some areas to have checked by a professional home inspector.


If the roof has problems, get them fixed before doing any inside decorating, or you could find serious water damage to your fresh paint after a heavy rain. When replacing roof shingles, choose a style that goes with your plan for the home so that the entire structure begins to adopt the personality you want it to have.


Examine any exposed beams for signs of termites or aging. Splintering, moist, or damaged wood may need a serious overhaul with added support. Notice whether any of the floors seem to be slanted or if a room’s framing seems to be uneven or unstable. Look for signs of moisture behind the walls or mold that may be growing near previous leaks from the roof or from the plumbing fixtures. Although the need for repairs may seem frustrating, you can restructure some rooms to accommodate the conveniences you would like to have, such as an additional half-bath or a built-in cupboard.


Assess the foundation on which the house sits to be sure it remains secure. Crumbling, chipping, or deteriorating cement block or significant mold due to poor soil drainage around the house will need to be addressed. While you’re updating and securing the foundation, consider getting basement waterproofing to keep out future moisture. You can also begin to redesign the basement into a living space or recreational area where family members can spread out.


Find out if the soil needs nutrients or additives to promote grass growth. If there is a garden area, check to see what needs to be done to make it arable. The early stages of renovation are a great time to start planning the lawn layout as well as a patio, garden, or fence that will make the property uniquely yours.

Rehabbing an older home is an exciting opportunity to design the house you have always wanted. Start with the basic structural elements to make sure the home remains sound and in good shape before redecorating the inside rooms in your own special style.

About the Author

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.

About Olga Lockhart

Olga Lockhart, Marketing Manager for Pathway Design & Construction, researches, analyzes, and writes about these key topics: Universal Design, Aging in Place, Northwest building & Seattle remodeling trends, air quality issues, and solutions, during construction. She's also willing to chat about travel and culture out of the office.