How To Renovate An Older Queenslander


Rockhampton has so many beautiful older Queenslander homes that are filled with charm but are in need of some TLC.


The potential exists to take one of these places and turn it into an absolute stunner while keeping the enviable heritage look. 


Here are some tips to help you renovate a Queenslander and transform a rundown property into a gem: 

What is a Queenslander?


Queenslander homes were first built in the mid-19th century, when builders looked for ways to combat the semi-tropical environment of Queensland. They have since become a unique part of Australian architectural history.


While they come in an array of different styles, the key features that generally make a house a Queenslander include:


A veranda or deck that goes partly or all the way around the house 

Timber construction 

A corrugated iron roof

Internal archways

Stained glass windows

Tongue and groove walls

‘Sleep outs’ and smaller rooms that can be repurposed for a number of uses

A spacious area under the house


If you want to get technical, Queenslanders are ‘tripartite’. This just means they have three different sections, the underfloor, the living space, and the roof. 


How to renovate a Queenslander


If you are lucky enough to own a Queenslander or have the opportunity to buy one, they are easy and rewarding to renovate and fix up. Follow these steps to restore your purchase to its original glory and ensure it has the modern features you need. 

1. Freshen up the paint


The quickest and easiest easy way to spruce up any property is to redo the paintwork and Queenslanders are no exception.


Your choice of paint will depend on the home, but light neutral shades usually work best for Queenslanders. Many Queenslanders are a little dark inside due to the surrounding veranda, so lighter colours on the walls can help to brighten up the space.


For the exterior, many Queenslanders have traditionally been painted white, and it’s a colour that tends to work well. However, a bright splash of colour around the door and window frames can add some flair.

2. Improve the comfort


One of the first things to do when you renovate a Queenslander is to fill any gaps or cracks. One small flaw with most Queenslanders is a lack of insulation. While they are built to catch the breeze, the often small windows and many walls can stop air from circulating on hot days.


Sealing up all the gaps right away can help to insulate the home and keep it from overheating in summer. This way, you will have more control over the amount of outside air you let in. 

3. Focus on the features


Queenslanders are often filled with unique features such as tongue and groove walls, stained glass casement windows and their famous verandas.


Work to highlight these features rather than covering them up. Stained glass windows can come up looking beautiful with a good clean, and tongue and groove walls are best displayed with lighter colours. If the windows and arches have seen better days, work with a professional to do some restoration work; it will be worth it to maintain the value and appeal of the property. 


Many Queenslanders will already have a closed-in veranda used to create an extra multipurpose room but if yours doesn’t have one, this is an excellent feature to add.

4. Modernise strategically


There’s nothing wrong with modernising an old home, as long as it is done right. 


Like many retro properties, if there is anywhere in the house that needs updating in a Queenslander, it will be the kitchen and the bathroom. 


When you renovate a Queenslander, modern fixtures can be added without interrupting the vintage feel of the house. Maintain a colour scheme that matches the rest of the home and think carefully about how floors will transition from one room to the next.


Modernisation can also take the form of creating open-plan living. Many Queenslanders are made up of multiple rooms, so knocking down a non-load-bearing wall or two can make for a more spacious living area.


For the kitchen and bathroom, think about upgrading but keeping more of a heritage look. You can have modern functionality with a more traditional aesthetic that is in keeping with the overall style of the home.  

5. Connect the living space to the underfloor


Many Queenslanders have extra amenities in the space under the floor, so if you can find a way to connect the two spaces without having to go outside, this has the potential to increase the appeal and value of the house.


Laundries, for instance, are often found under the floor in a Queenslander, so a well-placed set of steps can improve the practicality of the home no end.

6. Make the most of the space under the house


Speaking of the underfloor space, there is a whole second home’s worth of space down there waiting to be used.


While the underneath section of a Queenslander is excellent for storage, some partitioning can create entertaining spaces, second bathrooms, a study or a playroom for the kids. 


Work with a building designer to maximise the use of this area and you’ll almost feel like you have doubled your home’s footprint. 

7. Add storage


Most Queenslanders were built long before the idea of built-in storage took hold.


Adding built-in robes to larger bedrooms and finding ways to incorporate a few more cupboards will bring your place into the 21st century. Make sure there is still room for doors to open and for your furniture. 


8. Renovate and enjoy!


One of the best things about Rockhampton property is the potential to purchase and renovate an older Queenslander. You can take your time and make the home your own while freshening it up and making it the most coveted property on the street. 


Want advice about buying a Queenslander and renovating it? Contact The Agency Central Queensland today. 


Todd Brandon
Operating with unparalleled insight into market trends, sales agent and team leader Todd Brandon services the Southside and Gracemere districts with a level of knowledge only a long-time resident can provide.