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Architectural Details To Save in an Old Home

Architectural Details To Save in an Old Home

Living room with old fireplace

Renovating an old home can come with a lot of challenges. But it's also full of exciting opportunities. One of the main tensions is determining how to preserve the best of the past while also incorporating modern conveniences. But how do you know what architectural details to save and what to replace?

While there are many different features and design aspects to consider, here are a few must-haves for architectural details to save.

Living room with built-in bookcase and white slipcovered sofa for architectural details to save
This built-in bookshelf is original to this 100-year-old home. Even though today's style would be to have the bookshelves come up to the ceiling, homewoner Leslie Saeta kept them as is because they were architectural details to save in the home. She lightly decorated it with vintage books and other flea market finds, such as silver water pitchers and an old license plate. Photograph by Bret Gum.

Save Old Molding

Details, details! Sometimes it is the smallest things that make the biggest impact. Old molding, trim and window casing falls into this category. It may seem like these are small architectural details to save, but when taking in a space, or even an entire home, they'll make the house feel custom and historic.

Keeping the original molding in your home, as long as it's in good condition. You can repaint it to freshen it up. Or if it's beyond repair, you can work with a wood company (like our friends at Woodgrain) to replicate the trim and molding so it fits right in with your older home.

Old fireplace for architectural details to save
The fireplace in homeowner Tina Keith's 1800s farmhouse was hidden behind newer walls. When she was renovating the home, they uncovered the fireplace and restored it to its former glory. Photograph by Erica Turner Creative.


What's cozier than gathering around a fireplace? It might be tempting to tear it out and replace it with a new one, especially if there's structural damage or you want to install an electric fireplace. But this is one of those architectural details to save. Keeping your old home’s original hearth is a great way to pay homage to its past. It's also a wonderful focal point for your farmhouse living or family room.

Spruce the fireplace up by giving it a good clean, freshen the mantel up with new paint or stain. Just be sure to have a professional come over to evaluate any repairs if you want it to be functional.

Bathroom with door opened halfway
Homeowner Aneliese Ochoa added trim and repainted the doors in her house to give them more depth and interest. Photograph by Chad Mellon.


While old doors are less common among the architectural details to save, they're often full of character that will add to your vintage farmhouse style. They're also often made from more sturdy materials than many new doors on the market today. Keep the draftiness out of exterior doors by replacing weather stripping. Give your doors new life with new paint or stain, or DIY new trim onto plain doors. Replace the hardware if it's rusting. If not, you can polish it and replace it on the door.

Want to learn more about renovating old houses? Learn how to choose new windows for your old house that will match the architectural style. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration!

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