ARTICLE Stephanie Matheson
In comparison to Georgian home renovations and Victorian home renovations, modern home makeovers usually don’t have to deal with the many years of wear and tear, and the layers of alterations often found in older structures. Built more recently, contemporary houses usually already incorporate open plan living with large rooms and large windows that let natural daylight stream in. Natural light is a key element of modern homes, and one that you can maintain or adapt to suit your preferences.
More often than not, indoor-outdoor flow has either been thought about or could easily be improved as contemporary homes, especially 1960's and 1970's properties, usually have decent sized gardens to extend out into. With these houses same level extensions or lean-to additions are a great way of adding more living space to your home. Depending on the specifics of the building, you may also be able to consider a loft conversion or a basement conversion, or even a replacement of a tired conservatory.
Style is a key consideration, especially for contemporary homes that were designed to match the principles of our modern lifestyles. Getting the layout and design right is the first step in beginning the renovation process. From the exterior through to the interior, design options are more or less endless. Consider your spaces and how you plan on using them. From there you can plan interior design specifics including any built-in furniture, colour schemes et cetera. Whatever your preference, most decisions will come down to your personal taste and budget.
Minimalist styles and industrial looks have been hugely popular for many years, but maximalist and eclectic styles have also made a comeback, especially in kitchens, for example, where open shelving creates an interesting and welcoming look. Many modern interior designs feature bright colours. If this is something you are thinking about, feature walls, splashbacks in kitchens and décor accessories including rugs and cushions are easy ways to add bursts of colour.
Many contemporary homes combine classic materials such as wood with modern looking surfaces including concrete. The choice is yours, of course, and there is much to choose from indeed. For flooring, timber is a popular option that can work throughout the whole house creating a classic, cohesive look. Apart from traditional timbers, engineered oak flooring is becoming increasingly popular and can be laid throughout to create the same seamless effect. Ceramic tiles are popular, especially for bathrooms and kitchens and work really well with under floor heating.
Kitchens and bathrooms are high on the list for many home renovators in the UK and world over. Contemporary homes tend to have open plan kitchens that incorporate a kitchen island or breakfast bar and then lead into a more formal dining area and sometimes the family lounge. Kitchen cabinetry and benchtops set the tone, while splashbacks, feature range hoods and lighting can add special touches to the look and feel of the space. Appliances also play a key role and it pays to choose good quality items that will stand the test of time.
For your bathrooms, a clean and streamlined look is usually preferred in modern houses, often with sleek looking, floating vanities and toilets, large mirrors and glass panes, large walk-in showers with designer taps and shower heads, and integrated LED lighting. Depending on the size and layout of your bathroom, you could consider creating a wet room that would maximise the usable space. This often works well for en-suites to the master bedroom. Under floor heating or other suitable heating options add a comfort factor and will ensure a pleasant bathroom experience year round.
Many home renovators are looking to combine the aesthetics of a modern home and interior design with the convenience of a state of the art home automation system. There are many different levels of automation to choose from, ranging from simple motion sensor based lighting or timer operated blinds through to fully fledged schemes that pull together all of your home’s lighting, heating, security and audio-visual systems and enable you to control all of these via your tablet or smart phone.
When it comes to the exterior of a modern home, cladding materials can vary greatly. Considering your original home and your personal preferences, it may be a more cost-effective option to simply maintain or restore the current exterior of your home. In some modern homes, timber cladding is combined with concrete or bricks, and could be stained or painted for a fresh, new look.
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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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