How Do You Decorate Update a Colonial Home

How do you decorate update a colonial home to bring out its timeless elegance and charm? Colonial home decor is characterized by traditional features and a classic color palette, making it a popular choice for homeowners looking to add sophistication and character to their living spaces. In this article, we will explore the key elements of colonial home decor, from understanding the architectural features to incorporating antique and vintage decor.

We will also discuss how to modernize colonial furniture, enhance with colonial-inspired textiles, add lighting fixtures and accessories, and update the exterior for curb appeal. Whether you own a historic colonial home or want to infuse your modern space with colonial charm, this guide will provide you with insightful tips on achieving the perfect balance between tradition and contemporary style.

Colonial architecture is renowned for its timeless elegance and classic features that exude charm and character. From symmetrical facades to grand entryways, understanding the elements of colonial architecture is essential for decorating and updating a colonial home. By exploring the distinct characteristics of this architectural style, homeowners can effectively highlight the beauty of their homes while staying true to its historical significance.

When it comes to embracing the traditional color palette of a colonial home, utilizing warm and neutral tones is essential. These colors evoke a sense of warmth and coziness while complementing the architectural details of the home. By incorporating shades such as ivory, taupe, and terracotta into your interior design scheme, you can create a timeless look that pays homage to the rich history of colonial decor.

Understanding the Colonial Architecture

When it comes to decorating or updating a colonial home, it is important to understand the key features and characteristics of colonial architecture. This style of home design is known for its symmetry, square or rectangular shape, paired chimneys, and multi-pane windows. The exterior typically boasts a front door at the center, often adorned with a decorative crown or pediment.

In terms of interior layout, colonial homes usually have a central hallway with rooms on either side. The use of wood and natural materials is also a hallmark of colonial architecture, which can be seen in features such as wide plank hardwood floors and exposed ceiling beams. Understanding these architectural elements is crucial in order to effectively decorate and update a colonial home without compromising its historic charm.

One popular way to enhance the exterior of a colonial home is by adding classic landscaping features such as boxwood hedges, brick pathways, and traditional plantings like hydrangeas and roses. Additionally, choosing historically accurate paint colors can greatly impact the curb appeal of a colonial home. By using soft neutrals or deep earth tones for the exterior, homeowners can maintain the traditional look while still giving their home an updated feel.

Colonial Architecture FeaturesCharacteristics
Symmetrical DesignColonial homes are known for their symmetrical facade and layout.
Multi-pane WindowsWindows with multiple panes are a common feature in colonial architecture.
Wood and Natural MaterialsColonial homes often emphasize the use of wood and other natural materials in their construction.

Embracing the Traditional Color Palette

When it comes to updating a Colonial home, one of the key aspects to consider is the color palette. Colonial homes are traditionally known for their warm and neutral color schemes, which help create a sense of elegance and timeless beauty.

To update a Colonial home with the traditional color palette, consider using shades of cream, beige, taupe, and other earthy tones on the walls. These colors not only complement the architecture of a Colonial home but also create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

In addition to wall colors, incorporating warm and neutral tones through furnishings and decor can further enhance the traditional Colonial aesthetic. Consider incorporating upholstery in rich shades of burgundy, forest green, or navy for an added touch of sophistication. When choosing accent pieces such as throw pillows, area rugs, and window treatments, consider using warm-toned textiles like wool and linen to add texture and depth to the space.

It’s important to note that while utilizing warm and neutral tones is essential in updating a Colonial home, it’s also important to balance these with pops of color for visual interest. Incorporating accents in shades like deep reds or blues can add a vibrant touch without overwhelming the traditional color palette of a Colonial home.

Colonial Home Update TipDetails
Wall ColorsUtilize shades of cream, beige, taupe for a cozy atmosphere
Furnishings and DecorIncorporate upholstery in rich shades along with warm-toned textiles for added sophistication
Adding Pops of ColorBalance warm and neutral tones with accents in deeper hues for visual interest

Incorporating Antique and Vintage Decor

When it comes to decorating and updating a colonial home, one of the key elements to consider is incorporating antique and vintage decor. This can add a sense of charm and character to the space, while also paying homage to the historical significance of the colonial style. Antique and vintage pieces can bring a unique sense of history and story to your home, making it feel both timeless and personal.

See also
How Do You Install Home Decorators Vinyl Click Lock Flooring

To incorporate antique and vintage decor into your colonial home, consider browsing local antique shops, flea markets, or online marketplaces for unique finds. Look for items such as wooden furniture with intricate carvings, ornate mirrors, vintage textiles like embroidered linens or lace curtains, and old-world artwork such as oil paintings or tapestries. These pieces can add warmth and depth to your home while creating a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era.

When mixing old and new pieces in your colonial home decor, consider blending traditional antiques with modern elements to create an eclectic yet cohesive look. For example, pair a vintage wooden dining table with contemporary chairs, or display antique china alongside sleek glassware.

By combining different styles and eras, you can create a space that feels lived-in and curated. Ultimately, incorporating antique and vintage decor into your colonial home allows you to infuse your space with personality and uniqueness while honoring the historical roots of the architectural style.

Modernizing Colonial Furniture

When it comes to updating a colonial home, one of the key aspects to consider is modernizing the furniture while still maintaining the timeless elegance of the colonial style. Mixing old and new pieces can create a beautiful blend of history and modernity in your home decor. Here are some tips on how to achieve this balance:

  • Repurpose Antiques: Incorporating antique furniture pieces into your modern colonial home can add charm and character. Consider repurposing an antique dresser as a bathroom vanity or using an old trunk as a coffee table.
  • Invest in Quality Reproductions: Investing in high-quality reproductions of colonial furniture can help you achieve the traditional look while ensuring durability and functionality. Look for pieces made from solid wood with classic designs.
  • Blend Old with New: Mix in modern furniture pieces with clean lines and minimalistic designs to complement the traditional colonial furniture. For example, pairing a sleek, contemporary sofa with a vintage wingback chair can create an interesting contrast.

By modernizing colonial furniture through the strategic blending of old and new pieces, you can create a stylish and inviting space that pays homage to tradition while embracing contemporary design elements. It’s all about striking the right balance between preserving the historical charm of your home while incorporating updates that suit your personal style and functional needs.

Enhancing With Colonial-Inspired Textiles

When it comes to decorating and updating a colonial home, incorporating the right textiles can make a significant impact. Utilizing traditional prints such as toile, chintz, and gingham can add a touch of timeless charm and elegance to any space. These classic patterns have been a staple in colonial home decor for centuries and continue to be popular choices for adding character and warmth to interior design.

Embracing Toile

Toile is a classic fabric that often features pastoral or scenic motifs in a single color on a white or off-white background. This versatile textile can be used for upholstery, draperies, bedding, and even wallpaper. To incorporate toile into your colonial home decor, consider using it for accent pillows or as statement pieces such as curtains or upholstered chairs. When choosing toile, opt for colors that complement the warm and neutral tones commonly found in colonial interiors.

Using Chintz

Chintz is another beloved textile in colonial home decor known for its colorful floral patterns. Whether in the form of curtains, upholstery, or throw pillows, chintz can instantly infuse a space with vibrant energy while still maintaining an air of traditionalism. When integrating chintz into your colonial home decor, consider using it as an accent to create visual interest within a room while complementing the existing color palette.

Incorporating Gingham

Gingham is a timeless pattern that adds a touch of farmhouse charm to any space. This checkered fabric can be incorporated into colonial home decor through table linens, draperies, throw blankets, or even upholstered furniture. Consider using gingham in smaller doses as accents to add visual appeal without overwhelming the overall aesthetic of your interior design.

Incorporating these classic textiles into your colonial home decor allows you to pay homage to tradition while adding personality and warmth to your living spaces. Whether you choose toile, chintz, gingham or all three, these textiles offer a timeless appeal that effortlessly enhances the beauty of a colonial home.

Adding Colonial-Inspired Lighting Fixtures

When it comes to decorating and updating a colonial home, lighting plays a crucial role in setting the right ambiance and highlighting the timeless elegance of this architectural style. Colonial-inspired lighting fixtures evoke a sense of history and provide an opportunity to showcase traditional craftsmanship. Embracing brass and candle-style chandeliers is a key element in enhancing the overall aesthetic of a colonial home.

Brass Chandeliers: Timeless Elegance

Brass chandeliers are a classic choice for colonial homes, as they exude timeless elegance and add warmth to any room. When choosing a brass chandelier for your colonial home, look for one with intricate details and a vintage-inspired design. Whether you opt for a polished or antique brass finish, this lighting fixture will undoubtedly become a focal point in your space, creating an inviting atmosphere.

Candle-Style Chandeliers: Traditional Charm

Candle-style chandeliers are reminiscent of the historic homes of the colonial era, where lighting was provided by actual candles. Today’s candle-style chandeliers often feature electric bulbs designed to resemble candles, maintaining the traditional charm while offering modern functionality. These fixtures bring a sense of nostalgia and authenticity to any room in a colonial home, making them an ideal choice for those looking to enhance their interior decor.

See also
How to Become a Home Decor Stylist

Incorporating these colonial-inspired lighting fixtures into your home allows you to pay homage to its rich history while adding an elegant touch that complements the traditional architecture. By combining brass and candle-style chandeliers with other elements such as antique furniture and classic textiles, you can achieve a cohesive and sophisticated look that celebrates the timeless beauty of colonial home decor.

Using Colonial-Inspired Accessories

When it comes to decorating and updating a colonial home, incorporating colonial-inspired accessories is a crucial aspect of achieving an authentic and timeless look. Showcasing pewter, silver, and iron accents can elevate the overall aesthetic of your home by adding a touch of elegance and historical charm. Here are some essential tips on how to effectively use these accessories:

  • Pewter: Utilizing pewter accents such as candle holders, photo frames, or kitchenware can instantly add a classic and sophisticated touch to your colonial home. Consider incorporating pewter plates or pitchers as decorative pieces in your dining room or kitchen to evoke the traditional colonial vibe.
  • Silver: Incorporating silver accents like serving trays, candelabras, or decorative objects can bring a sense of luxury and refinement to your space. Displaying vintage silverware or ornate silver candlesticks can enhance the elegant ambiance of your living room or dining area.
  • Iron: Introducing iron accents such as wall sconces, fireplace tools, or decorative grilles can infuse a rustic yet stately feel into your colonial home decor. Adding wrought iron elements to your interior design scheme can contribute to the historic charm and authenticity of the space.

By strategically showcasing pewter, silver, and iron accents throughout your colonial home, you can effectively capture the essence of traditional colonial decor while infusing character and personality into your living space. These accessories not only enrich the visual appeal of your home but also serve as testament to the enduring beauty and allure of colonial-inspired design.

Updating the Colonial Home Exterior

Updating the exterior of a colonial home is an essential part of maintaining its timeless appeal while giving it a fresh and updated look. One key element in updating the curb appeal of a colonial home is through classic landscaping and paint colors.

When considering landscaping, think about traditional elements such as well-manicured lawns, symmetrical plantings, and formal hedges that are characteristic of colonial-style homes. Additionally, consider adding touches such as boxwood or topiaries to enhance the classic feel of the exterior.

Choosing the right paint colors for the exterior can also make a significant impact on updating a colonial home. Classic color palettes that are commonly associated with colonial homes include shades of white, cream, soft grays, and muted earth tones. These colors not only enhance the architectural features of the home but also provide a sense of timelessness. Consider highlighting architectural details such as trim and shutters with contrasting colors to add visual interest while still maintaining a traditional look.

When updating the exterior landscaping and paint colors of a colonial home, it is important to strike a balance between preserving its historic charm and incorporating modern updates. By carefully selecting landscaping elements and paint colors that complement the architectural style of the home, homeowners can achieve an updated look while still honoring the timeless elegance of colonial architecture.


In conclusion, updating and decorating a colonial home can be a transformative and rewarding experience. By understanding the features and characteristics of colonial architecture, embracing traditional color palettes, incorporating antique and vintage decor, modernizing furniture, enhancing with colonial-inspired textiles, adding lighting fixtures and accessories, as well as updating the exterior, you can beautifully merge the old with the new to create a timeless and elegant living space.

One of the most important aspects of decorating a colonial home is to respect its historical significance while adding modern touches that reflect your personal style. By blending classic elements with contemporary design principles, you can create a space that feels both inviting and visually appealing. Additionally, utilizing warm and neutral tones can create a cozy atmosphere while complementing the architectural details of the home.

When it comes to updating a colonial home’s exterior, focusing on classic landscaping and paint colors can enhance its curb appeal and maintain its historical charm. By paying attention to detail and carefully selecting decor that complements the style of your home, you can create a cohesive look that celebrates the timeless beauty of colonial home decor.

No matter how you decorate or update your colonial home, it’s important to appreciate its rich history while making it your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Colors for a Colonial House?

The best colors for a colonial house are typically muted, earthy tones such as creamy whites, soft grays, and warm browns. These colors help to complement the traditional architectural features of colonial homes and create a timeless look.

What Kind of Furniture Goes in a Colonial House?

Colonial houses are often furnished with traditional, classic furniture pieces such as Windsor chairs, Chippendale or Queen Anne-style tables, and upholstered pieces with simple lines. Dark woods like mahogany, cherry, and maple are commonly used to evoke an authentic colonial feel.

How to Furnish a Colonial Style Home?

Furnishing a colonial style home involves focusing on classic and elegant pieces that reflect the historical period. Incorporating antiques or reproduction furniture is key, along with using rich fabrics like damask or silk for upholstery. Adding in decorative elements such as brass hardware and framed artwork can also enhance the colonial ambiance of the home.

Send this to a friend