9 Ways To Create Old World Charm [That Work]

Sharing 9 simple ways to create old-world charm in your home that don’t cost much to do and create a space that speaks of older times.

Old World Charm Home Tour

I am a bit of an interior design enthusiast. Always have been. I have designed many rooms for my home and have helped friends or clients do the same. All in the name of fun. Creating a unique space with beautiful accenting colors is necessary for a home to have the right feel. That’s my opinion anyway. My most recent obsession is the creation of a home that is filled with old-world charm. To date, this look has been the most challenging one to create. I have realized this through much trial and error.

Trial and Error

Now when I bought this home it had country written all over it and this is probably not news to you if you have read any of my past posts on the subject. Well, here I am almost two years into this place having painted the entire house inside and out only to find my style suddenly taking on a new shape.

Truth be told I went way too modern for this 70-year-old house sitting on a country-style road in town. People would enter and remark on how country it felt in this house, never mind any of the updates I had done to bring it into this decade. No matter what I did, the house had a feeling I could not decorate over.

The funny thing is, I really wasn’t a huge fan of modern style. Even in my most modern, I was drawn to the glam and retro styles of the 1950s. I did like most people do when trying to throw a home look together in a matter of weeks so we could move in. I went with the newer styles of today.

The gray-toned walls, clean white kitchen cabinets, and Ikea furniture. It was for sure cute. But it did not reflect this old house of mine and more importantly, it didn’t reflect me. I now have become a firm believer in living in a space for a bit and slowly changing it to reflect your personal style. Over time.

Getting It Right

The personality I have can be described as a mack truck. Full of force at times. I get an idea and I will be in the aisles of Lowes within minutes. Arriving home ready to dive in and complete the task in the same evening it was thought up. In many ways this is a good thing, but it can also have you spending more money and time on the wrong things.

Age and time has taught me that when it comes to styling a space, living there for a bit first is essential. Let the space tell you what works best instead of forcing it to be something it is not.

Trying to make a vintage home modern or a modern home vintage is an uphill battle. This isn’t to say that you can’t have elements of these things in your space. It just means that it will take time, patience, imagination and lots of inspiration to make it happen.

My true style is what I would call old world. A collected look of antiques, oil paintings, copper finishes, and ornate frames. Worn finishes are balanced out by beautiful golden candlesticks and chandeliers.
The first thing you will need is time and patience. Because one thing is for sure. This is not an overnight style. It is a collected one that is mastered over time.


I want to be clear on my vision or design inspiration if you will. This won’t be a faux French style with crystal chandeliers and bonjour signs from Old World Market, no. Although a rustic chandelier wouldn’t hurt and I certainly decided on a gold Italian chandelier for this space.

Giving it a touch of elegance amongst the copper and worn furniture in the surrounding space. A small step forward but a detail that transformed the look of the room instantly.

What will be is a blend of real wood, copper, worn items, and rustic textures that will off-balance and even complement the bit of fancy any chandelier brings to a space.

I want this house to feel like you stepped right into another simpler time where everything inside tells a story of its own somehow blending together a farmhouse feel with old-world charm. For this look, you will need copper.

an Italian chandelier in a dining room

European ladies loved and still love copper. It’s a signature look really and a true kitchen staple in France. It has gained popularity here in the states too but only in more modern times.

copper hanging on the wall for an old world touch

Copper was hung in kitchens and dining areas for practical purposes as storage was often limited. These pots or molds were hung in masses in most homes and were likely used on a daily basis. Copper should be a staple in your French or old-world decor.

Fabrics and Textiles

The next item to bring in is fabrics and textiles. Old-world style is a usable look that provides charm through worn items used in daily life. The look is housed in lots of tea cloths, linens, worn curtains, and even aprons. For this style, one of the best parts is the ability to actually use the things we are placing inside the kitchen while letting go of the idea that they need to be or remain in perfect condition.

I hung a curtain underneath my kitchen sink and removed the doors. A simple but very cute way to add some old-world whimsy instantly.

a curtain hung under a sink

Dried Flowers and Herbs

Hanging flowers and herbs to dry. What an unusual style technique right? Well, its very rustic and useful, which is exactly why it gives a cottage-style feel. Do it throughout your home if possible.

shelves lined with dried beans and flowers

I hang cuttings from lavender, rosemary, and any dried flowers I can gather from my garden. If you are interested in having your cut flower garden, you can learn some easy flowers to grow here. Something I highly suggest doing if you are at all looking to live the life that reflects this unique style. I don’t know if there is anything that makes me feel more like a woman of the old world than stepping out into my garden to cut flowers or lavender for the house.

Easy DIY’s for adding Old World Charm

If you have the DIY spirit as I do. I have a tutorial on how I dry brushed this door to look worn here. A simple process that this photo doesn’t quite do justice to. Getting rid of that plain modern white finished door and replacing it with a look that says worn. All without the actual cost of replacing a door.

With the use of the internet and hours of scouring European home decor coffee table books. One thing is found often. Pieces of fabric draped over couches. Creating a new look to an old couch. Of course, you can seek out beautiful vintage couches if your budget allows. But for the rest of us, we need to be a bit more creative to achieve the desired look that will work.

For this I have a simple No Sew Drop Cloth Couch Cover solution. Getting rid of my couch seemed like a waste but the idea of covering a modern patterned couch with a simple fabric is next level genius. This affordable, simple solution brightened up the entire room and neutralized the area. In this way, I can add old world touches of style without it being contrasted by a modern printed large piece in the center of the room.

Gallery Walls and Art

Lining your walls with a collection of real art pieces in a gallery-style fashion is a great way to add instant old-world charm to any room. You can do this with antique plates, oil paintings, or even a collection of antique wall hangings. In our house, I have them throughout in various forms. You don’t need a huge collection. Just a few pieces will do.

a gallery wall is a way to create a french  or old world look
oil paintings hung on a old world styled wall
showing a blue wall with vintage plates hanging

Woman of Old World Times

Diving a bit deeper into this look. When I am shopping or thinking of what needs to be added to a room. Specifically a kitchen, I consider the women who cooked in these spaces.

These women worked hard and, likely cooked several times a day. Often growing their own produce. It is safe to assume that food would be brought inside the farmhouse by basket. They might use that same basket to store the food for functionality.

Moreover, storage in these times was presumably furniture with open shelving or finding pockets underneath tables to tuck away items. It is no stretch to the imagination that these items would be chipped from heavy usage, and have worn wood or worn-out leather straps on trunks.

The bread was a staple in their diets which meant it had to be baked often and this is where a vintage scale might make sense to add to the aesthetic.

Items To Look Out For

Oil paintings, lamps, and wooden cutting boards. These are just to name a few items that I am regularly on the hunt for and if you are wanting this type of space, I suggest you add these to your list as well. When it comes to art it is important that they be real paintings or a very high-quality fine art print in a vintage frame.

Veer away from canvas prints as those won’t due. Only seek out genuine pieces or high-quality replicas that speak to a quaint life and time. Following this rule will give your space that added authenticity this look requires.

Some other items to consider are rolling pins, baskets, a furniture piece, or a cozy chair in the kitchen.

This worn work table was made simply by using 2x8s and screwing to pre-cut table legs. A fabric is stapled around to add more texture to the room. It is as old-world as it is useful.


Next up, is color.

It is no secret that Europeans love their colors. Green, blues, and yellow to name some popular choices. Don’t go with your basic white for furniture. My big mistake, I had lots of white in my kitchen which I kept, and couldn’t quite figure out why the kitchen didn’t feel like the rest of the house.

To fix this, I brought in color. The faux 1680 french tile is made to look weathered and old. I believe it pairs nicely with the blue cabinets. It gave it an instant make over. Color is powerful, never underestimate it.

a blue kitchen with copper creates a french or old world farmhouse look
ways to create a french or old world look with color in a blue kitchen
Ways to create a french or old world farmhouse with knives, and herbs hanging

Smaller Items

Additionally, are small but useful accessories. Candle holders, pitchers (flowers look beautiful in ones your not using), old books to set around on shelves, table clothes, a vintage clock or two, and hooks to hang those copper pots you find. This magnetic knife holder instantly gave an old-world boost to the area by the stove.

While it is fun to look at stores, be sure to go around your own home. Seek out small things you can rearrange and even paint or change to suit this style. I have found all sorts of small items placed around my house that I have repurposed and rearranged to give a different feel. Adding in items here and there. 
Remember to have fun with it. Experiment. Make your space your own and add some of these small touches. Over time, they will become second nature to you.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope you have learned some easy ways to create world charm in your home.


Shop This Post

Magnetic Knife Block

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Vintage Coat Hanger for Wall

Vintage Candlestick Holders Set of 2

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a table set with old world elements

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*Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through the links I provide (at no cost to you).

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