5 Vintage Home Features That Will Never Go Out of Style

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There’s something magical about an older home—the quirky nooks and crannies, the sense of history and that lived-in, cozy feeling you get when you walk in the door. Still, many old homes do need some work, and since the real estate market is experiencing a reno-revolution, you may just choose to update everything while you’re at it. But make sure you’re not throwing any antique assets along with those out-of-date laminate countertops: Certain elements of older homes are likely to always be valuable and in demand—regardless of current trends.

But what exactly should you preserve? We asked two real estate agents who specialize in selling older homes to find out what features in a vintage home you can count on never going out of style—which might make you think twice about renovating:

Original hardwood floors

There’s a reason why every HGTV renovation show has at least a couple of minutes dedicated to ripping out the 80s carpets to reveal the original oak or walnut hardwood floors—because people will always love them, says Nikki Holmes of Gold Rush Realty in Fair Oaks, California. 

“I wouldn’t get rid of original wood floors. When you find old wood floors, 99 percent of the time [they] can be repaired for cheaper than re-flooring,” she says. 

Hardwood flooring with inlay designs and patterns (e.g. herringbone) are an especially timeless gem in older houses, too.

Credit: Minette Hand

Embellished windows

Modern windows may be more energy efficient, but they don’t have the pizzazz of the etched or stained glass windows you’ll find in many early-20th century homes. Old home admirers will always gravitate toward these details, says Barbara Wells, owner of Houlihan Lawrence real estate in Greenwich, Connecticut. So, if you can help it, keep them in your house by adding adjustments like new tracks and gaskets to keep drafts out.


Built-in shelving units or bookcases—often a feature of Arts and Crafts or bungalow houses—are details in older homes that will always be cherished, says Holmes. Not only are they charming, but they also provide a sense of function and take up less floor space (not to mention, they save homeowners an extra trip to IKEA!).

Credit: Elissa Crowe

Moldings and other wood features 

Though opinions on wood color may change as the decades pass, original details like crown moldings, wainscoting, beadboarding and real wood paneling will never be out of vogue. 

“Most people who live in a classic older home are not going to change the woodwork,” says Wells.

However, if you can’t get over the orange-y oak paneling in your living room, hire a professional to paint it and make it modern. This way, you can always go back to its original state, suggests Holmes.

Credit: Minette Hand

Protected porches 

Whether it’s the outdoor space beneath the deep eaves of a mid-century modern or the area underneath the columns of a Craftsman, protected porches are always going to be a desirable feature and a way to extend the living space of your home. Because who doesn’t love a big, deep porch?

Saving your vintage features but want to maintain a current feel? Try incorporating one of these up-and-coming trends that experts love into your living room.

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