5 Ways to Modernize Your Home During a Renovation

Jul 27, 2021 | Featured, Renovation Advice | 0 comments

Back in the day, homes often included wood trim, intricate wall paneling, separate rooms, and bulky furnishings and decor. Modern homes are defined by minimal designs, clean lines, open floor plans, tall ceilings, and curated furniture and decor. Most of our clients reach out because their 20th century home isn’t meeting their needs any longer – including aesthetic needs. However, modernizing a home can be a lengthy and expensive process, especially in an older home. Luckily, there are ways to modernize your home while maintaining your budget and desired timeframe. We recommend these five ways to elevate your space and modernize your home during your next home renovation project.

1. Elimination of outdated wood throughout your home

While stained wood was all the rage during the latter half of the 20th century, modern homeowners find that they are turned off by the warm and knotted wood that frames their rooms, windows, doors, and kitchens. Not only does wood trim and millwork close off a room and make the space appear cramped, but it also limits your color palette and creative freedom. For renovations with heftier budgets, homeowners can remove the existing trim and millwork entirely and replace them with pre-primed modern flat stock and custom cabinetry. However, if you’re looking to remove your warm wood within budget, we suggest painting the unsightly trim white for instant modernization. White trim will help unify separate rooms throughout the home, provides a blank canvas for endless color palettes, and brightens up any space.

The same concept goes for wood millwork, especially kitchen cabinets. To save time and money, homeowners can facelift their kitchens with freshly painted light and airy cabinets. Take the New England Colonial Refresh as an example. While the homeowners chose custom Shaker-style cabinets over reuse, they selected white paint to brighten and modernize their kitchen.

Before and after of the kitchen refresh a part of the #BLBNewEnglandRefresh project.

2. Update your stairway with a dramatic color

Painted black newel post of the main staircase located at the #BLBVictorianRemodel project.

It’s more than likely that your handrail finish is the same color and sheen as your hardwood floors. However, most homeowners are moving away from cohesiveness and opting towards contrast. Rather than installing a basic wood handrail, modern applications call for sleek metal rails or industrial iron caps, yet these options come with a price. If you’re hoping to achieve modernity while saving money, we recommend painting the handrail and newell post a dark color. With the use of dramatic paint, specifically black, the handrail will pop against your floors or other wooden elements. Additionally, darker colors with a glossy top coat can easily mimic a fancy metal handrail – all without the price tag!

Our favorite paints for handrails include Benjamin Moore Black Beauty and Farrow & Ball Railings, finished with a semi- or full-goss protective coat, such as Minwax Polycrylic.

3. Opt towards a satin over a glossy finish

While we recommend applying a glossy finish to handrails, we encourage our modern-focused clients to top their floors in a satin or other low-sheen finish. High-gloss floors are more traditional, whereas satin floors are both contemporary and classic. Not only are they more practical and easy to clean, but satin floors also look newer for longer. Many modern homeowners choose a satin finish for durability and longevity, along with the added benefit of masking scratches, dust, and footprints.

4. Create more open space

An open floor plan is the epitome of modern however removing walls can be costly and challenging. Believe it or not, you can add more space to your home without knocking down walls! To create the illusion of a bigger space, we recommend brightening a room through new fixtures, furnishes, and finishes. To achieve this, start by selecting light and bright paint colors, eliminating outdated wood elements (we’re looking at you Golden Oak trim), removing bulky furniture and decor, and adding overhead and accent lighting.

5. Upgrade your interior light fixtures

With an older home comes outdated lighting, which is often poorly lit, causing a dull and cramped space. As previously mentioned, adding additional light can cost-effectively open and modernize any space. We recommend adding modern recessed cans and removing any outdated fixtures and fan lights. Luckily for us, the modern homeowner has access to thousands of contemporary fixtures – ranging from chandeliers, sconces, pendants, and more! Not only will additional light bring your home into this century, but modern fixtures will also complement and enhance your interior.

While your dream home may include all the characteristics of a modern abode, some designs are not always feasible with a smaller budget. Fortunately, the modern homeowner does not need to knock down walls or install top-notch fixtures and finishes to achieve their desired aesthetic. If you’re looking to modernize your home or simply in search of more information, BLB Custom Building’s Design-Build experts are here to help. Along with our experienced team of carpenters and subcontractors, BLB always delivers quality and modern results 100% of the time.

Photography by Kate McNamara, Freebird Photography