Whether you want to update your style or get your house ready for sale, giving your decor a modern makeover is a wise choice. One main difference between traditional and modern homes is the construction. Generally, modern homes have a greater emphasis on open spaces and functionality. Older ones can be great for beautiful details like ornate molding, but not all of those gilded cornices age well. If you don't have the funds for a home makeover that could include removing walls and relocating a staircase, there’s still a lot that can be done to update the tone of your home with forward thinking ideas.
Most wallpapers tend to date themselves over time. Paint can be beautiful but, depending on the shade, also bland. Consider some of the new textured paint varieties for making an accent wall or an entire room. You can select anything from holographic and reflective surfaces to grainy, matte surfaces. In the above video, Sonya McKinney demonstrates how to use a paint roller and layered paints to create distinctive walls. You may need a professional painter to complete some of these looks, but you’ll definitely find great ideas.
Cushions / Pillows
Styled cushions and pillows are a must-have accessory for many family room sofas and living room floors. Giving them a distinct, decorator style often means buying complementary, yet contrasting styles — such as patterns, textures and solids — and then stacking them on a couch or floor from the largest to the smallest. For example, you might have a handmade green print pillow and sand tone stripes interspersed with solid, modern brown tones to create a more interesting collection of visuals. Then there's the whole chopped pillow debate, which we'll set aside for another post.
If you have carpeted floors, consider taking the carpet out and replacing it with something that requires less maintenance and looks sleek. Depending on what’s under the carpeting, the next step could require putting down a completely new floor or just polishing up the existing layer. In the above video, Zarhira Cury explains how to choose a floor material that will complement the room’s aesthetic, such as a light color for a Scandinavian or minimalist style or dark wood for a rustic approach.
Furniture and Neutral Tones
Most furniture can be difficult to keep up to date. If you get new a new sofa or table, it may not match the floors or walls as the pieces that they were originally intended to complement. To play it safe, use neutral colors that can work for a range of furniture pieces. Neutrals don’t necessarily need to be bland. Arvin Olano explains how the best application of neutrals often takes inspiration from nature and utilizes a range of light and dark tones to create depth and warmths. He has plenty of smart tips to optimize a palette of neutral tones.
Along with changes to the walls and floors, lighting has a huge impact on a room. While many decorators feel constrained by modern LED lights, these days they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Of course there will also be power savings with the modern options. You can use LED light strips to light up the underside of a sofa or bed headrest — even the inside of a kitchen cabinet. The Honest Carpenter explains how to choose LED lights that will have the warm yellow light you’re used to having in your living room versus the whiter options that may work better for bathrooms and kitchens. He also explains how thin, modern LEDs can make recessed lighting much easier to install than their incandescent predecessors.
If you’re upgrading countertops, walls and doors, consider using a new mix of materials. There are a lot of natural elements — like marble and limestone — that work great for these applications or you can also get a modern hybrids that are a mix of natural and artificial materials. MDD Designs’ video shows off a range of uses for modern materials , including marble tables, bathrooms, and walls as well as metallic accents for kitchens and living rooms.