The ultimate guide to the modern features you need in your home
We’ve all heard endless complaints about the complexities of modern life. We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve found ourselves complaining about new technologies and ever-changing fashions. Sometimes it’s hard to see the benefit of modernizing when the old systems worked so well.
When it comes to our homes though, we feel a little different. We’re all for technology that will make our lives easier, improve the value of our homes, and even make them safer.
Modernizing your home doesn’t have to be all about the technology, however. Taking those lime green tiles off the bathroom wall and adding double glazing can make a huge difference.
Attempting to modernize your whole home can feel like an overwhelming task. But don’t worry, this article is going to talk you through everything you need to do to get the job done.
Modernizing the Home
If you’re going to modernize your home then you’re going to need a plan. While this piece is going to give you the ultimate framework to get that done. There are a few things that you need to decide for yourself.
The first two things you need to think about are, what kind of budget you’re going to set yourselves and where you are going to get your furniture and technology from.
Let’s start by talking about what kind of budget you should set yourself.
Consider Your Budget
A reasonable budget means something different to everyone. Before you decide what to set your budget at you may want to consider the following things:
- Why are you modernizing your house? Is it to make your house more comfortable to live in? Is it to raise the value of your home?
- If it is to raise the value of your home then you are going to want to make sure that you don’t spend more money on the upgrades than the amount of value they add
- How much money are you comfortable with spending?
- How much money can you afford to spend? Do you have savings to spend on the upgrades? Do you need to save before you start upgrading?
- How much money is too much money to spend on upgrading your home?
Answering all these questions will give you a good idea about how much money you are prepared to spend, and how much you can afford to spend. If you want to be able to spend more money than you currently have, then you may need to save for a couple of months before starting the modernization process.
No matter what your budget is, you should be making smart choices about where you get your new technology and furniture from.
Buying the big name brands and most up to date hardware can quickly eat into your budget. Most of the time there is very little need to invest in these big name products. As smaller brands will often offer near identical items at a fraction of the price. You should also look into buying second hand pieces.
Here are some places to look for bargains when modernizing your home:
- Thrift Stores
- Farmer’s markets
- Independent stores
- Refuge shops
- Facebook marketplace
- OR Can you DIY it
Create a Consistent Color Scheme and Flowing Layout
Before we start modernizing anything, you’re going to need to start thinking like an architect. There is no point spending a lot of time upgrading your home if you don’t have a plan and nothing ends up matching at the end of all the work.
Here is a quick guide to keeping your modernization consistent:
Pick your theme
This is the first thing you have to do when renovating your home in any way. This choice will influence every choice that follows it for the rest of the project.
Do your research
Many people struggle to pick a theme because they don’t actually know what they want or what they like. They don’t have enough clarity before they start the project and therefore end up with something inconsistent.
Spend some time researching different architectural styles and themes before you start upgrading. You should make the most of online resources: like Good Housekeeping, Vogue Interiors, and the 50 others on this list.
Start to make a collection of images and products that inspire you, or you want to include in your home. We will use these in the next step.
Don’t move on from this step until you are completely sure you know what you want your house to look like. It gets harder to change your mind the further forward you move.
Now, we are going to put together two vision boards based on the research you have done so far.
The first vision board will try to encapsulate how you to want to feel in your modernized home and the things you want to do there. This does not have to include exact products, you want to focus more on capturing your feelings towards the space.
Our second vision board is going to be a little more pragmatic. This vision board will include pictures of furniture and technology you want to buy. Paint samples for the walls, cuts of fabric you want to use, and even your ideal renovation time frame.
Now that you have got a really clear idea of what you want to do with your home, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. This is the point where you will want to put together a plan of action.
You should plan what upgrades you are going to do, when, and who is going to do them. If you’re changing furniture then you should know where you’re getting it from and when it is arriving. You’ll find it helpful to make a list of everything you will need to complete this job.
The good news for you is that we have arranged this article so that you can use it as the framework for your planning phase.
Upgrade Fixtures and Appliances
When trying to modernize your home, upgrading your fixtures and appliances is a great place to start.
You don’t have to replace everything in your home. However, if you upgrade a few key pieces in your home you will soon start to notice a big difference.
When picking out these key pieces you should think about the rooms and the items that you use the most. Replacing items like old TV sets and large bulky fridges are often a good investment. As they are the focus of the two rooms we tend to use the most. Swapping a VHS player and TV unit for a wall-hung flatscreen TV can transform the look of your lounge. And make your quality of life richer in the process.
Other items to consider upgrading are:
- Shower units
- Bed frames
- White goods
When it comes to modernizing your fixtures there are a few small swaps that will give you big results.
Firstly you should look at upgrading light switches and wall plugs. While plastic, white fittings have been in fashion for the last few decades, if you want a modern look you should try replacing them with faux chrome or copper covers.
Window fittings and light fixtures are other upgrades that you should look into. We will cover both in more detail later in the article.
Finally, items like showerheads and bathtubs should be a priority to upgrade as there is no easy way to refresh them(see next section for more details on this process).
Refresh Walls, Flooring and Countertops
Our bathrooms and the kitchen are the most expensive parts of the house to upgrade. The good news is that you don’t have to completely gut them to give the rooms a new lease of life. Simple ‘refreshment’ jobs can make a world of difference when it comes to the overall look of a room.
Here are some of the small changes you can make to your home for big, modern results.
The bathroom is the second most popular room when it comes to home renovation. And the second most expensive room to renovate.
There are areas of your bathroom that are worth investing in. Items like showers and bathtubs often need to be replaced to make the room feel more modern. Sadly, these are the most expensive parts of the bathroom to replace.
However, we have some simple, low budget tips that will give your bathroom a facelift and will save you a lot of money in the process.
Repaint the wooden features
Bathrooms are warm and damp the majority of the time. This leads to the wooden features in your bathroom becoming rundown over time. The humidity in the room causes the wood paint to fade and peel much faster than it would in any other room.
When you’re looking to spruce up your bathroom, start by repainting the wooden features in it. These features can include the bathroom cabinets, shelving, and windowsills. Use a light paint that compliments the color scheme of the room.
Replace these fabrics with fitted wooden/plastic shutters that match the room’s freshly painted wood. These will last for a lot longer than their fabric counterparts, are easier to clean, and stay looking chicer for longer.
Fabric curtains and blinds are another part of our bathrooms that fall victim to the damp conditions of the room. Being constantly damp can make your curtains look drab, lackluster and they can even develop premature mold.
Glass shower curtain
On a similar note, it’s time to ditch your shower curtain. These are a bathroom accessory of the past. Not only do they look tacky, but they also need to be regularly replaced and create a large amount of excess waste. Not to mention the time wasted on cleaning them.
For a sleek, modern look that suits any bathroom theme, replace your shower curtain with a transparent sheet of glass or plastic.
Our final tip could save you $1000s when it comes to bathroom renovations. We’ve all bought a new home with horrendous bathroom tiles, or woken up one day and realized that we hate the ones we put up 5 years ago.
However, a lot of us are reluctant to do anything about it because replacing tiles is a skilled job that requires hiring someone to do it for you, and tiles themselves are very expensive. Particularly, if you’re looking for high quality tiles – you really do get what you pay for.
What if we told you that you didn’t have to buy new tiles and hire someone to come and install them for you. What if we told you all you needed to give your bathroom tiles a new look was a small paintbrush.
It’s true! Purchase yourself a pot of tile paint in the color of your choice and use it to paint over your already existing tiles. Within a day your bathroom will look totally different and you won’t have to worry about anything looking wonky.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the simple tips you can use to modernize your kitchen on a budget.
Paint the cabinets
Replacing your cabinets in the US will cost you over $2000+ on average. On the other hand, sanding down and repairing your cabinets only costs $200-$300 on average (even less if you already have some of the materials handy.
If the price difference isn’t enough to convince you, let’s talk about how easy the process is.
The main investment you will have to make when repainting your kitchen cabinets is time. The only skill you need to complete this job is being able to use sandpaper and being able to paint.
The best news is that the end results of repairing your own cabinets are near indistinguishable from completely replacing them. This means that you can get the same results for 10% of the cost.
If your kitchen is looking a bit old fashioned, try upgrading small elements of the room. One of these small elements you should be looking into is the faucets on your sink and the handles of your draws and cabinets.
By replacing them with modern or more classic shapes and finishes you will leave your kitchen looking a lot more modern. Even though you will have done very little work. Win-win.
Statement backsplashes have been a trend since the early 2010s and are showing no sign of disappearing.
Why are they a great option for people on a budget?
The real selling point of backsplashes is that by nature they are small. They don’t take up a whole wall. That means if you want to buy some really high quality tiles for your backsplash, you only have to buy a small number of them.
Backsplashes give you a great opportunity to add a little splash of luxury to your kitchen.
Consider Paler, Lighter Hues & Avoid Busy Patterns
When you’re looking to modernize a room by refreshing part of it, you need to bear a few things in mind.
If in doubt, use pale colors. Modern interior designers are leaning more towards minimalist designs, reminiscent of Scandinavian styles. These styles thrive on pale, unobtrusive walls and storage areas, and let the pops of color come from art and furnishings. If you want to make your house look modern try sticking to pale colors.
Less is more in modern interior design. In the 70s and 80s patterns were everything in the world of interior design. We saw similar trends popping up throughout the very early 21st century. However, simplicity is now in fashion. Modern homes are uncluttered, sleek, and easy on the eye. If you want to make your home look more modern – avoid busy patterns.
Upgrade Windows and Doors
The windows and doors of our houses are often neglected. They feel like unchangeable parts of the house’s body, like an arm or a leg. Many people don’t think to modernize these areas of their house.
Lots of us do, however, have the option to do this. Here are three easy ways to bring your windows and doors in line with the rest of your modern house.
Add Double/Triple Glazing
Nothing makes a house feel ancient and forgotten like windows with single pane glazing. These types of windows are always drafty and often have tatty looking frames.
Opting for double, or even tripled glazed windows can instantly bring your home into the 21st century.
Paint Window Frames
Another way to instantly modernize your windows is to repaint the frames. Over time window frames start to look rundown. By treating them to a new coat of paint you can make them look brand new.
You can use the color of the window frame to dictate the theme of the room. For example, light blue window frames give off a beachy feel, whereas slate grey window frames can instantly add gravitas to a room.
Add a Sliding Door to Bring the Garden Into the Home
Finally, let’s talk about how adding new doors to your home can modernize it.
As we have mentioned above, modern interior design is heavily influenced by the work of Scandinavian designers. A big component of these designs is to make rooms feel as bright as you can during the day. If possible, natural light is the best option.
A great way to add natural lighting to your ground floor is to add a set of french doors that open directly out into your garden. This will give the room the illusion of being much larger than it actually is and flood it with natural light.
In the section on refreshing your kitchen and bathrooms, we talked about the prominence of Scandinavian design and the influence of minimalist design in modern interiors.
One of the key elements of achieving this look is to eliminate visible clutter. You don’t have to be a Marie Kondo disciple and/or minimalist to have a modern home, but it helps if you make it look like you are.
To give off this illusion of an airy and clutter free home you have to be smart with your use of storage. Hidden storage locations like shelves under your bed frame and designed cupboards will instantly leave your home feeling a lot more modern.
It is also interesting to note that we tend to be happier when we are not surrounded by visual clutter. Eliminating and carefully storing clutter could not only make your home look better but make you feel better too.
Enhance Interior Lighting
Lighting in the modern home goes above and beyond helping us see. Modern lighting is about creating or establishing a mood. We are seeing designers swap bright, white lighting for softer, warmer lights that pop up in unexpected places.
As we mentioned, bright lighting is out and now the dimmer switch is back in fashion. We cannot say for certain what has led to this trend, but we think it’s because of the rising levels of insomnia that have been linked to overstimulation from white and blue lights.
Trust us, once you experience dimmer lighting or adjustable smart lighting you’ll sleep better and you’ll never want to go back.
LED lighting (strips, underlighting)
A major factor in the change of lighting trends is LED lighting finally hitting the mass market. Not only are LED lights incredibly energy efficient (meaning we no longer have to use the useless slow warm up bulbs), wifi-enabled, and color changing. But can be very small, so small that you can get strips of LED lights.
These strips can be placed behind TV screens, under cabinets, and behind many other types of furniture. Doing this is an excellent way to add atmosphere and dynamic lighting to your rooms.
Small, decorative lamps
We have also seen designers opting for small, decorative lamps on tables and bookshelves. These are replacing the large floor lamps that were so popular over the last two decades.
Fit these lamps with smart, LED bulbs to get all the benefits we have talked about above.
Add Updated Security System
One of the biggest developments in home technology over the last decade has been home security systems. We don’t need to hire a man to sit in a shed and watch hours and hours of footage anymore. We can now view a series of cameras with motion sensors from our phones. We can even get alerts sent to our phones when anything unexpected happens.
Installing an app controlled security system is an absolute necessity when modernizing your home. If you are spending all that time, effort, and money then you want to make sure that it stays safe.
App controlled security systems can offer a wide range of security features; including motion sensing doorbell cameras, to complex and high-tech complete home security systems.
Improving the Garden
The final area of your home that you can modernize is your garden. Gardening trends change a lot less frequently than interior design trends, so it is easier to keep your garden in line with modern tastes.
That being said, in the last few years, we have seen a rise in the popularity of decking, natural water features, and wild planting.
Decking has always been popular, however, as we are seeing people moving away from paving over large parts of their garden, the more natural looking decking becomes a popular replacement.
When picking your wood you should think about how much maintenance you are prepared for. While lighter wood looks more modern it requires a lot more cleaning. Try to keep the natural color of your wood – this will allow it to blend more naturally with the rest of your garden.
Adding a water feature
Water features are back in fashion!
As the trend of mindfulness has grown, so has our desire to bring nature into our homes. Thanks to this we have seen the return of the water feature as people look to bring the relaxing sounds of babbling brooks into their gardens.
Another modern trend is the wildlife garden. People are taking the conservation of wildlife (particularly bees and butterflies) and its habits into their own hands. Manicured gardens are a thing of the past, modern gardens are allowing nature to do its own thing and flourish naturally.
The Advantages of Modernizing Your Home
Today, we have talked about the easy ways you can modernize your home. So, now let’s take some time to talk about why you would want to modernize your home in the first place.
There are many advantages to having a more modern home. You will save money on your heating bills. You will be kind to the environment. You will find daily tasks a lot easier. You will even see an increased value of your home.
Here are the top four reasons why you should modernize your home this year.
Adds to Resale Value
Modern homes sell better. Most people want to buy houses that are done up and ready to use. If you are the kind of person who is prepared to put in the effort to modernize your home, you could see a huge profit when you come to sell it.
Modern homes make the most of clever designs and the best that technology can offer – things that really appeal to buyers. One survey showed that these types of upgrades could actually increase the value of your home by 23%.
That kind of increase definitely makes the time spent repainting the kitchen cabinets worth it.
Improve Home Functionality
Modern homes function better because they make the most of clever design features and advanced technology.
Improvements like adding double glazing or a new boiler can slash your utility bills.
A less cluttered home will make you a happier person.
Smart lighting and heating can not only save you money on your bills but can save you a lot of hassle. You can even turn on your heating at work, so your home will be warm by the time you get home.
One of our absolute favorite features of modern homes and smart lighting is not having to get out of bed to turn the lights off at night. We can do it all from our phones.
The ways smart technology and modernization can improve the functionality of your home are endless.
Increase Enjoyment and Comfortability of Home
As we mentioned above, the minimalist-leaning Scandinavian designs that inspire most modern homes have been proven to make us happier people. Less clutter means less stress. This is something we could all benefit from.
Modernizing your home gives you the opportunity to design it to your taste and lifestyle. A successful modern home is a home that works for its occupants. It can give you the opportunity to surround yourself with technology and design pieces that make you feel more comfortable in your own home.
Secure Any Safety Issues
Finally, modernizing your home can open you up to a whole new world of security features and software.
The real highlights are state of the art security systems that allow you to know what is going on in your home, even when you aren’t there. With a front door camera running via wifi that will allow you to see who is ringing your doorbell from your desk at work. Or motion trigger cameras that allow you to keep an eye on your pets when they are alone.
With modern security cameras and technology, it is easier than ever to protect our homes and families.
If you’re looking to add value to your home, or you just want to make your life a little easier – then you should consider modernizing your home.
Not only can it add to the value of your home but it can keep you warmer, make you happier, and slash your utility bills.
Modernizing your home can seem like an overwhelming task. However, with this guide, you will be able to do it hassle-free. Our guide will take you through the areas to spend and the areas to save. It will take you through which details you should pay attention to, and the small changes that will make the biggest difference.
This article will help you modernize your home from top to bottom, and even out into the garden. So, it’s time to get out your paintbrush and improve your home.