The goal of architectural restoration at Poplar Forest has been to make the house as authentic as possible, to preserve all historic fabric, and to avoid any modern intrusions.
To this end the materials and craftsmanship reflect the early-nineteenth century – there are no light fixtures in the house (other than on exhibit panels in the lower level) and there is no modern equipment in the historic part of the house other than the hidden radiant heat system under the floor. The interpretive goal is to make the house feel real.
Visitors can walk on the polished floors, windows are opened when needed, louvered blinds are used for sun control, and certain pieces of furniture that Jefferson had made for the house have been reproduced and can be touched or sat upon. In two rooms (northeast and east,) the unfinished nature of the structure allows visitors to see how the masonry house was constructed and how it was framed. It is unlike a typical museum house experience and interprets both the historic and the modern process of construction.