Taking on a large-scale remodel can be a big commitment — and expensive. If you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, but you’re looking for ways to update your home without renovating, there are several areas of focus to consider. Whether your home is truly traditional or just no longer your taste, we have some ideas on updating a traditional home to add a bit of a modern flair.
Create an open floor plan — or fake one
Although they have become standard in modern homes, not every home is designed to accommodate an open floor plan. Some homeowners have the flexibility to remove walls and create an open floor plan where smaller rooms once existed. If you don’t have that flexibility (or budget) you can visually open up your existing space by removing unnecessary furnishings and re-evaluating the use of your current rooms. Create open space by paring down the size of your furniture or perhaps removing some pieces altogether.
Consider new ways of using existing smaller rooms. For instance, a formal living room that’s not often used may be better served as an office space or toy room.
One hallmark of traditional or dated houses can be lighting. If your chandelier is circa 1983 and you’re hoping for a more modern look, consider replacing it along with other dated fixtures. Modern-looking lighting with efficient bulbs can increase the feeling of openness in a room as well as enhance the aesthetic.
In addition to replacing existing fixtures, re-evaluate your lighting plan to see where you can add accent or task lighting. Modern homes typically feature a more in-depth lighting plan than traditional homes.
Decorate with art and color
Large, modern art pieces can go a long way toward achieving the modern aesthetic you desire. Contemporary art displayed within a traditional home with architectural details is especially striking. Look for modern art in colors to complement the rest of your design scheme. Avoid overly ornate or gilded traditional frames.
Another way to modernize your home is by adding bright colors. Consider incorporating small pops of unexpected pattern and color throughout your decor. Choose patterns with a modern or timeless appeal — avoid traditional plaids and florals. To stay safe, bring patten into a room in ways that can be easily changed, like a removable pillow cover. Bright colors — especially with a white or neutral background to create contrast — are often part of modern design schemes. Use textures and mixed metals to add depth and visual appeal.
Declutter your decor
Nothing dates a home faster than kitchy nicknacks at every turn. A china hutch filled with delicate porcelain figurines not only takes up valuable space but often gets overlooked. Try decorating with plants or opting for simple open space. Evaluate all decor pieces in your home to determine what you truly love. Modern homes typically follow a more minimalist approach to interior design.
If you are looking to modernize your 80s or 90s traditional home, start by removing over-sized or floral window treatments. Layered or “swooping” curtains or valances in dark heavy fabrics with fringe will not only block access to natural light but also date a space. Consider a more modern choice for your window treatments.
Don’t forget about the outside
Think about how guests perceive your home from the first look while pulling into the drive to welcoming them into the foyer. Decorate your entryway to create a warm welcome for your guests. Consider the curb appeal of your home and how to make it more modern and attractive from outside. New paint, windows, or landscaping can go a long way toward modernizing a traditional home exterior.