Old homes are well-loved for very good reasons. Not only can they seem delightfully distinct from the modern cookie-cutter suburban sprawl, but there’s a reason they’ve been around so long: they were built to last, and if you’re the proud owner of a historic home, you want to make sure that the charm of your space is preserved while you live there.

But, for better or worse, there are some modern amenities that make a family’s quality of life so much better, and unfortunately, they’re not built into historic homes. And, while the structure of the home may be timeless, chances are high that there are some aspects that have aged poorly, whether that comes to comfort for you or being less eco-friendly than you’d like. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to update your home without sacrificing any of the charm attached to it. Here are a few things you can do to update your historic home while keeping its old-school charm in check.

Get Water-Wise

One of the most glaring issues many have with historic houses is that they’re not built with the same keen eye for environmental preservation as modern homes are. While you may not want to root up the garden that came with your home and replace everything with native plants and rock gardens to conserve water, there are other ways to minimize your water usage while maximizing your results.

Your best bet will be to invest in a smart irrigation system. These systems use sensors to detect soil moisture levels and can adjust the watering schedule accordingly. This ensures that your plants get just the right amount of water to keep them lush and lovely without risking overwatering. 

For a slightly less high-tech option, look into adding drip irrigation to your home. This method adds water lines deep in the soil to deliver water right to the roots of your plants. Drip irrigation alone can save up to 80% of water used in watering landscapes, and it’s far more efficient.

Worry-Free WiFi

WiFi is an essential part of everyday life now, and it can even be an important part of your historic home. In addition to your own comfort and convenience, if your home is open for tours or events, it’s even more essential to have WiFi available for your guests.

But often, older homes have issue with WiFi due to sturdier walls and a lack of wiring. Sometimes it can be a struggle to get a signal even if you’re just down the hallway from the router! But with a few strategic placements of wireless repeaters or WiFi extenders, you can have signal through your home no matter how thick your walls are.

Cool Things Down With Window Tints

Window tints? On a historic house? That sounds insane! Except…it actually is a great idea. Most historic homes don’t have the same HVAC set-ups as modern homes, if they even have any at all. So you often have to get creative with how to keep things cool, especially once summer really starts to kick into high gear. 

While you’re probably thinking of old-school window tints that end up with bubbles and creating a permanent sunglasses effect on your windows, newer window tints are non-obtrusive and subtle while delivering major results on keeping your home cool. You’ll be able to enjoy sitting in front of a window on a sunny day without overheating, and the heat from outside won’t be able to make it into your home.

There are other boons to adding tints to your home’s windows, too. For one thing, it adds an extra level of privacy–this can be very helpful if your property is open for events, or if your home’s located in a very populous part of town. And, if you love your historic home, you’ve probably added a good deal of vintage furniture as well. You’ll be able to protect rugs, furniture, and hardwood floors from the bleaching effects of UV rays, ensuring they stay in pristine condition no matter how delicate they are.

Perk Up Your Pipes

For the most part in historic homes, the goal is to repair, not replace. But there comes a point with many old homes that your plumbing system ends up just not being up to snuff anymore. Or, in some cases, it may be lead pipes that deliver your water to your faucet, which is bad news. 

Regardless, updating your pipes can make a world of difference when it comes to quality of life inside your home. You’ll want to work with professionals that are experienced with older homes for results that are unobtrusive but modernized enough to ensure your comfort.

Give Your Facade A Little Facelift

One of the most daunting tasks of owning an older home is trying to decide what to do in case of damage to the exterior of the house. Whether it’s from a storm, an accident, or even just general wear and tear, you don’t want to risk a renovation that robs the old-time charm from your home with modern materials that don’t work with the aesthetic or, even worse, are of lesser quality than the original materials.

Rather than hiring any old contractor you can find on Yelp, you’ll want to bring in the talents of a local restoration team. These construction companies are very familiar with the unique structure and design of historic buildings, and they’ll often work on landmarks and buildings in your city as well as homes. Because of their knowledge and expertise, they’ll be able to give your home the care it needs in its repairs, often using the same materials that were originally used or a substitute that works just as well visually and in performance. 

Owning a historic home can be a lot of work, and maintaining its charm can mean choosing not to have the same convenient amenities that many modern homes have. But that doesn’t mean you need to be stuck in the year it was built. With a few subtle changes and improvements, you can keep your home as beautiful as it was years ago while ensuring you’re able to live in today’s world comfortably. And that’s worth the investment!

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