How to Add “Old House” Character & Charm to Your Newer Home {Step 5}



Welcome to Step 5 in this series!



Here is a recap of the first 4 steps if you missed them and want to get caught up!

Step 1: Add wood ceilings.

Step 2: Replace your builder’s grade doors with paneled doors.

Step 3:  Replace your builder’s grade light fixtures with ones that possess more

            character and charm.

Step 4:  Add Character to Your Home with New “Old” Hardware.



And now for the next step!



Step 5:



Add Character and Charm


to your Home with


Finish Trim Work




One of the elements that always catches my eye when I walk into an older home is all of the detail in the Finish Trim Work.

finish trim work


It is beyond gorgeous!

I love the high baseboards, thick crown molding, beautiful door casings, and more!

In almost every home we’ve owned, we have had basic finish trim work.  Much like what was in our previous master bedroom.

master bedroom


Just imagine how much more character our bedroom would have had with thick crown molding and high baseboards!

So today, we are going to talk about wood.

Wood. wood. and more wood.


Finish trim work can make a big impact in a room for little money.

Look at the beautiful door casing in this historic home…

farmhouse door


I found this link that shows you how to make this type of trim work.

door casing


And look at the trim work on these windows..

window casing


Who needs window treatments with beautiful trim like that?!  I am hoping to add some trim to the top of my kitchen window.

Another striking feature of older homes is transom windows above a doorway.

transom window


transom window



There are many different types of finish trim work for walls, but there are two that I want to focus on today.

1.  Flat Panels (Board and Batten): Indicative of Arts and crafts style

2.  Bead board: Classic cottage style




Flat Panels


Board and Batten


Here are a couple examples of Flat Panels or Board and Batten finish work:

flat panel wood trim


We did a board and batten treatment in our previous laundry room.

mud room

You can read the tutorial of how we did it Here.



And I will forever be in love with my friends, Layla and Kevin’s, amazing reading room re-do!  They have flat panels on one wall, gymnasium wood floors on the back wall, plank ceilings, and built-ins (which we will take about in a minute)!

Love, love, love this room!


board and batten





Bead Board


Next, we have bead board finish work.  This is such a classic look for older homes, and is especially indicative of the cottage style.

farmhouse kitchen


bead board


I love bead board in a bathroom!  It gives a lot of visual lift to a small space.

farmhouse bathroom




farmhouse bathroom


Bead board also looks great in a kitchen!

It can be used on cabinet fronts, on the walls, or in the backsplash.

farmhouse kitchen


farmhouse kitchen


farmhouse kitchen




This may not be considered “trim work”, but I have to share some pictures of the beauty of wood walls.

farmhouse kitchen




Wood planks or paneling on the wall is all the rage right now.  (At least I think so.)  Smile

It seems like every magazine I pick up has beautiful rooms featured with wood on the walls.

paneling on walls


farmhouse dining

We are planning on doing wood walls in our master bathroom, and maybe one wall of our master bedroom.  This can get a little costly, so we will just do what we can afford.





Lastly, I wanted to share with you another feature of finish trim work in older homes and that is built-ins.

How about creating a built in china cabinet in  your dining room for some character and charm?

built in cabinents



Or maybe some beautiful bookcases and a window seat in a bedroom?

built in bookcases




Check out that adorable little built in spice rack on the wall.  I want one of those!!

farmhouse kitchen




And what is an older home without gorgeous fireplace built-ins?! 

fireplace built ins


Such a classic look!


So have you enjoyed looking at all of theses amazing photos?!

I have had fun finding them for you.  Smile


Have you gotten any ideas of ways you can add character and charm to your home with finish trim work?

If you would like to see even more great photos, check out my Pinterest boards!

You can follow me by clicking on the button below.


Click the links below to see the final step!

Step 6:  Add Wood Flooring!





  1. Love all these great pictures of molding. We are slowly updating the moldings in our home so I pinned the picture of the door molding from the My Old House site. Thanks so much for sharing all the yummy photos.

  2. Eye candy at it’s finest!! Thank you for the lovely photos. I believe wood walls add such a charm to a home.
    The home by D. Stanley Dixon is so lovely. I have so many ideas from this one post!! You have made my day. Hugs, Jan

  3. I love all the wall treatments that are showcased. I have a question though… we have wood trim and solid wood doors throughout our house and at this time I really don’t see myself painting them all white. I’d love to put a board and batten treatment in our downstairs half bath, but with wood trim / wood door/ wood window casings would it look extremely out of place with white board and batten? Can you recommend a way to incorporate some of this type of style when you have darker wood trim? I don’t comment usually, but I really love your house style and thought any input from you would be wonderful!

  4. I don’t know whether to love you or curse you! After all those lovely inspiring photos, I just want to gut my entire house and start over…..

    Thanks for all the inspiration, I’m loving this series.


  5. Drooling over these photos! Such beauty. I often tell my husband that I would like a carpenter to move in with us (I don’t think he quite understands! LOL).

    This is one of your best posts ever! XO

  6. This is what’s missing in my home. But we will get there eventually. I put your blog up on Vintage Revival’s Blog Crush link party. I really like your blog, and I love this series.


  7. When we built 6 years ago, we went cheap on everything because I didnt want to mortgage upgrades that we could do later with cash. Good thing because my taste has evolved too, so far we have put board and batten in our boys bathroom, but I have lots of plans, especially to trim out all the doors and windows with big chunky wood!

  8. Traci I just LOVE all your inspiration photos. I am just wondering if you think these changes: wood ceilings, board and batten &/or beadboard, glass door knobs would look good in a 1982 ranch home. My home has vaulted ceilings no wood door or window trim. A rather modern feel. We are redecorating / remodeling our home. We will not be able to add wood trim on our doors and windows($), but we are going to change the floor molding and adding ceiling molding. I’m also hoping my husband will agree to put beadboard on the kitchen ceiling. I don’t want the changes to look odd and out of place. What is your thoughts?

  9. Oh my goodness! I love that beadboard on the kitchen cabinets. I am totally going to try this in my kitchen! Some of our panels on the cabinet doors need to be replaced, and using beadboard never even occured to me. It looks amazing! Thanks for the idea!

  10. I love this idea for a series. Great tips! We are a few years from buying a home, but I am often torn between the old house with character and the new house with spacious open rooms and fewer problems. Now I know I can have a little of both! I must go catch up on the rest of the series.

  11. Just want to say how much I’m enjoying this series!! Funny enough, we’ve done a little bit of everything…here and there in our home (new “vintage” door knobs and some beadboard)…but this is a great reminder of other things we can add to our home to add that special charm! Thanks!

  12. Traci – visiting your blog is always such a treat! You continue to share such intriguing, beautiful, and inspiring photos that really get our minds thinking outside the box. I so loved watching you transform your kitchen and was so very impressed with your work there! You rock, girlie! Keep it up! :)

    xoxo laurie

  13. Each time I look at your blog I think that would be the last but you always come through with a new and wonderful blog. So many ideas and to little money. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Hi, I came across your blog on Pinterest. I am so happy I did. I love everything you post. Thank you for sharing all you do. I pinned lots of your photos. I love old houses but don’t have one. I have many ideas and your blog gave me some more. Thank you so much!

  15. I know I’m late to the party. Your pictures are all gorgeous, but as someone who lives in a nearly 100-year old home and just spent the past two weeks deep cleaning it, all those grooves and crevices make me moan, lol. All I see is “dust catchers”. So pretty and so worth it when it’s all done though!

  16. I LOVE all your ideas! We have a house built in 1900 that was “flipped”, using cheap box store upgrades, but it’s very efficient. I am slowly adding touches for more character. Updated kitchen hardware to honey oak cabinets, Replaced box store lighting with vintage-looking lighting from Habitat Restores. Remade an old buffet into an island, the bench was made from an antique headboard. I would love to add the woodwork you showed, but not a priority now. Removed standard bifold doors on closet/replaced with vintage looking curtains. In entry, I had a carpenter make 2 tall cupboards from barn-board using large arched screens I was given for doors. That’s where I store my canned goods and shoes. Only one stock door tor to replace downstairs- I can get a paneled door for about $20. Was given a 7′ long workbench I converted into a farm table on casters. We want to replace our 2 steel stock outside doors with full-length cottage grid doors to let in more light because it is a dark house, but we have to be careful how much we invest because we might price ourselves out of other comps on the block which is in a small town with deteriorated homes. Outside, I have done extensive landscaping with a ton of old-fashioned perennials and edible plants. We are close to retirement age and hope our improvements result in enough equity to afford a condo or a small ranch so everything is on one level.

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