If you’re frustrated with a home that looks old fashioned or hasn’t been upgraded for a long time, you might be surprised by how little it takes to give it a fresh new look. With a few simple touches you can bring it into the modern age, creating a space that wows your visitors. You’ll have a home you can feel proud of, and if you do it right, your life will be easier as a result.
Open up space
Modern homes look spacious so start by clearing out the clutter. Send anything you don’t need that doesn’t look beautiful or have sentimental value straight down to the thrift store. That includes excess furniture! If you can afford serious refurbishment, talk to an architect about taking out walls to create a more open area. If you love to cook and you’re worried about smoke and grease affecting your living room furniture, you can still produce the effect of a kitchen joining your living room by replacing all or part of an intervening wall with glass. Opening out the living room into the hallway or dining room is another way to add space. If you have a large room already, you can create different sections within it for different activities by creating low ‘walls’ out of sofas or freestanding bookshelves, preserving a clear line of sight over the top of them.
Rethink your kitchen
Kitchens are often the first part of the home where we introduce new technology, and there are some great new ovens and refrigerators on the market this year, but all too often basic kitchen furnishings are left to get old. Even the best quality linoleum flooring gets stained over time, so stripping it out and replacing it – ideally with a fashionable sealed wooden floor – can make a big difference. You might also think about repainting your kitchen walls so that they look bright again. If you’re replacing units, consider having one color on the walls and a different color underneath them for a bright modern look. You might choose to use the same colors in your kitchen seating and table or breakfast bar.
Go completely digital
If you still have analog equipment in your house it’s time to kiss it goodbye. When you go completely digital you’ll find it much easier to connect all your electronic devices for seamless performance, so why not start by ditching your old TV aerial and switching to a digital antenna? These handy little devices can be attached anywhere, indoors or out, and get great reception across all your favorite channels. Going digital also means that you can get smart, if you’re not already – choosing smart electronics so that you can enjoy the benefits of environmental control, a sophisticated security system, lights and music and even cooking exactly the way you want them, controlled through a voice-activated hub or through your phone.
Bring in the light
Modern design depends a great deal on how light is distributed throughout the home. You can make more of yours in the daytime by replacing bulky curtains with shutters or blinds and freeing up space around your windows. Paint walls in pale colors and position large mirrors so that light bounces into more dimly lit areas. When it’s dark, use diode-based lighting so that you can precisely adjust the color to suit your mood and the design of your rooms. You can achieve a more discreet effect by using recessed spotlights.
When modernism began, plastics were a big part of it. Today it’s much more focused on sustainability. This means sustainably sourced wood, and lots of it, in panel on walls and in polished floors as well as in sleek, stylish furniture. This doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to natural colors – more and more people are choosing painted wood, especially for use in accent features. You can also bring in materials like bamboo, hemp, cork or seagrass. Natural stone is a popular material for floors and countertops and can add a lot of character to a room without making it look fussy.
You don’t need to do all these things at once to modernize your home. Simply reducing clutter and freshening things up will go a long way by itself. The modern esthetic is about simplicity and a focus on fabric and form. Now that electronics has allowed us to concentrate many of the things that once took up space in our homes into tiny gadgets, we can use that extra space to improve the way we feel.