6 tips in furnishing old buildings

Kamla Villanueva Kamla Villanueva
lifelife GmbH Living room
Loading admin actions …

It is a theme that many large city-dwellers have to deal with. Old buildings are simply part of the cityscape and are very popular due to their particular architecture. The design traditions of classicism and art nouveau are the ones that take effect in the facades of these buildings and are reflected in the interior spaces. Above all, in the metropolitan area, old buildings are a historic testimony of demographic change, especially of the rural depopulation, which continued unabated with the beginning of industrialization. Considering that today's popular old housing estates were in the past mostly simple, convenient homes of the working class, one realizes why these apartments often have peculiar ground plans, thin walls and a bad insulation. So some of the design pieces contain these beautiful living spaces, which we would like to meet with the following furnishing tips. See for yourself how our experts use modern concepts to underline the traditional architecture of old buildings.


It was less futuristic, but it was very modern when setting up this old apartment. A checkerboard pattern stretches over the floor and with its uniform geometry—a pleasant contrast to the recessed round arch, which highlights the kitchen wall. This round arch could once have been a door or a passage in this old building. Now wallowed, without being completely filled in the depth, this wall section offers a spacious niche space for storage facilities. The original floor plan was elegantly integrated into the contemporary ambience of the kitchen. At the beginning, we have already mentioned that original floor plans of old housing estates can be painstakingly difficult to modernize. If the overall concept to be used is to remove or replace one or more walls, or to make a passageway into another room, or wall niche, as in the example of our expert, you should definitely not hesitate!

Set up old apartments: tradition and modernity in harmony

Expert dealing with time-honored masonry. Classic stucco decoration surrounding the kitchen white plastered surfaces are able to bring its interior to light. Exposing masonry on the kitchen cabinets and using bright yellow color can be extremely appealing. You can also break the style by using a different color to divide a space. Kitchen in the old apartment should also be updates with the use of new kitchen appliances. 


A typical narrow room of an old apartment can be furnished enough to simply reveal a cozy space. This bedroom has that charming round arch, which is visible above the window. Also, fine stucco can be seen on the ceiling of the room, which is hardly more than 2,70 m wide. In order not to make the small space even more cumbersome, colors should be used sparingly. Our interior expert, makes it possible by prescribing the most powerful color in the room. A dark purple weave as the curtains, which not only looks full and strong, but above all pleasantly warm. Dark colors at one end of the room lend an optical depth to narrow rooms, which we perceive in a room-enlarging manner. In this case, the characteristic high ceilings should also be used in order to take advantage of the set up of old buildings. In this photo, the full-length purple curtains that cover the entire wall height is able to emphasize and attract the viewer's attention. Once again, this detail creates an optical illusion in this narrow room, which benefits the modern furnishing of this old apartment.

Sliding doors

Old buildings are particularly stylish and authentic when the abundance of historical elements is maintained. This includes the wooden parquet floor as well as the stucco-covered ceiling and the finely crafted wooden doors. Classically, these are doorways that cover a generous wall opening with two doors. Often, when opening such doors, a spacious living space is closed or the view of a passage room becomes clear. Owners of flats, who are planning to renovate their historic rooms, are particularly striking with the building elements of the wing doors. For this purpose, areas of non-load-bearing inner walls can be opened and these large-area doors can be fitted. For this purpose, various door manufacturers have models in their assortment, which perfectly correspond to the image of classic wing doors. Alternatively, it is possible to modernize old buildings by offering a breakthrough of old barn doors, which also consist of two wings or function as a wide sliding door. This new design method breaks not only with the old-fashioned style of the old building, but also develops its charm in dividing the space.


It is rare nowadays to refer to an old housing estate, which bears all the characteristic elements of historical architecture. In the past, these classical buildings and components were not always popular, so that stucco rosettes became unrecognizable by multiple overlapping, preowners covered room ceilings and covered wooden floors with floor carpets. Kitchens and bathrooms were usually modified with tiles so far that the authentic impression of the old building completely disappeared. However, this flair can be reconstructed if you know how. 

If the bathroom design follows traditional examples instead of the usual stone tiles for floors and walls, then there is still hope. This means that underneath, it is clad with parquet floor, and walls and ceilings are decorated with opulent stucco. However, laying real wooden floorboards in a room that is usually drenched is not recommended. However, bathroom tiles are available in wood optics, which allow historical bathrooms to be reproduced authentically. The same applies to the decoration of walls and ceilings with wood paneling and stucco. These components can be purchased in specialist stores or you can even access the toolbox to produce stucco moldings and rosettes according to your own design. In the last step, these non-tiled surfaces are applied with a special lacquer which protects them against moisture and mold.

Storage space

In floor plans of old apartments, practical storage space for washing machines, dishwashers etc. were not planned. Why, it is self-explanatory, because these kinds of equipment haven't been invented yet when the old building was constructed, so these houses are supplemented with up to date water connections. This shows that old-style apartments are not only modernized, but are constantly being renovated in a modern style. It is therefore worthwhile to be active in the creation of storage space and to develop fixtures for intelligent storage solutions with the help of facility planners and carpenters. 

Need help with your home project?
Get in touch!

Discover home inspiration!