An Expert Guide to Renovating and Decorating an Old Home


If you follow Larissa Munsch on social media, you know she is the self-proclaimed “Queen of Old Stuff.” She enjoys restoring old homes and is very passionate about choosing the right finishes and décor for her projects. If you’ve bought an old home or are considering one, here are some tips from the queen herself to help guide your renovating and decorating decisions.


Larissa told us unfortunately many of the homes they’ve purchased have been stripped of their original craftsmanship. Things like colonnades, built-ins, and original lighting are often removed. She says usually character is removed over time as new owners try to follow the latest trends. As a lover of old historic homes, she tries to build that character right back into the house and match the décor as close as she can to the original build date of the home.



How should I decorate my old home?

Larissa scours eBay, secondhand stores, and Facebook Marketplace for things like old lighting and original hardware. She chooses things like beadboard and hexagon or subway tile which are all very period correct for an old house, especially in the Hays, KS area. Even though subway tile is currently trending in home design, it’s been used in home construction since 1904. Larissa encourages homeowners to choose timeless elements like this when renovating.


Should I follow modern trends when styling my old home?

Larissa strongly believes in NOT following the current trends for your house design since they cycle out every 10 years or so. She says you will forever be changing your house and spending money to keep up. For example, if you were to put in a very trendy kitchen, your kitchen will be outdated in 5-10 years.

Instead, she suggests making the bones of the kitchen period inspired. Then use trendy elements like curtains, counter décor, and pillows. Then the cost to update your kitchen is very low. This also makes for a much more interesting design.



Larissa told us she likes to let the house dictate the direction for the design and décor. She researches by finding original build dates and gathers historical photos from decedents of the original owners or visitors when possible.


Another thing to consider is the end-goal for the particular property. If the goal is a historic Airbnb, then she chooses décor that is very period correct. If the outcome is a rental property, she chooses more budget-friendly options. If the goal is to sell, she makes sure to keep all the character defining features like built-ins and original woodwork.


Larissa said she wants her old homes to feel unique but not like a museum. This is why she chooses more modern paint colors and window treatments. Her kitchen and bathroom designs may aesthetically look historic but will be very functional and updated. For example, she might choose to design a bathroom with period-correct marble or hexagon tile, meanwhile she’ll incorporate a user-friendly walk in shower.



Ready to buy and renovate an old home in the Hays, Kansas area? Reach out to one of our agents here at Coldwell Banker Executive Realty to get started today.


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