Add Modern Decor on a Budget

Living in an older home in Philadelphia doesn’t have to feel like living in a time capsule. Modern decor can bring your home into the 21st century. Thanks to the city’s selection of home stores, you can update your decor without breaking the bank.

Philly is a city full of old homes. If you purchase a home that dates back to the 1950s or the 19th century, it doesn’t have to feel like you’re living in the past. Modern decor will take your 20th century row house into the 21st century and beyond. Even better, you don’t have to fully gut your home or break the bank in the process.

Add Color and Patterns

One of the quickest ways to bring modern decor into your Philly home is to add splashes of color to the walls. Many homes in the area have decorative touches on the walls, such as molding, chair rails, or even cornices over the windows. Try painting the molding or cornice a bright color, such as blue or yellow, to add a modern touch to the space.

Another affordable way to add a splash of modernity to your older home is to pick bold and vibrant wallpaper and hang it on one accent wall, such as the triangular wall area beneath the stairs. You can also pick up some fabric with a modern print from Jo-Mar or a shop along Fabric Row and use cornstarch and water to attach it to the wall like nonpermanent wallpaper.

Spruce Up the Furniture

Philadelphia is all about juxtaposition, and a great way to play with modern style in an older home is to bring in updated, budget-friendly furniture. The new furniture contrasts with an older home’s original flooring or fixtures. When picking out seating, tables, and office furniture, think of clean lines. Stay away from anything that’s overstuffed or that features ruffles. For a more eccentric, modern look, you can try mixing and matching materials. For example, pick out a leather couch that is sleek and slim and pair it with a metal coffee table. Add a side chair that is upholstered with fabric to complete your living room.

Don’t Get Too Cluttered

Modern decor calls for simplicity. The often small size of a Philadelphia home calls for simplicity and minimalism, so the two really go hand in hand. Your house will look cluttered if you try to put too many knickknacks on display or fill it with furniture. Keeping surfaces such as coffee tables and side tables clear of objects will update the look of your home and make it look more neat and tidy. Instead of adding lots of color and pattern to the space, pick one color or one pattern to serve as the focal point. Use a neutral color, such as white, everywhere else.

Where to Look

Philly is home to a few stores that offer plenty of modern furniture and home decor at budget-friendly prices. The IKEA in South Philadelphia is a great place to look for sleek modern pieces that aren’t very expensive. Classic IKEA options include the bentwood Poang chair, the compact and brightly colored Klippan sofa, and Malm bedroom furniture.

The Anthropologie store in Rittenhouse Square is full of quirky home decorations. While Anthropologie isn’t known for its budget-friendly prices, the store does mark items down from time to time and has a sale section that is worth checking out. Over on South Street, Busy Bee Homestore also offers some affordable pieces as well as design services to help you bring your home up to date.


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