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15 Easy Ways to Get That Modern House Feel

Have a traditional home but love modern? No problem! There are plenty of options for creating that modern house vibe in an older home. Check out the best DIY ways to bring your home into the 21st century.

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Brighten-UpAfrica Studio/Shutterstock


Modern style uses color sparingly—but the color chosen to highlight a space is often bright—resulting in a fresh feel that pops against its surroundings. And because the background furniture and walls are neutral, you can change styles with no more than a few accessory switches, making modern-style affordable to boot. Plus: How to choose paint colors
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Switch Your PlatesPop Paul-Catalin/Shutterstock

Switch Your Plates

One of the easiest ways to spot an older home, no matter how many renovations have been done, is yellowed, cracked or otherwise dated light-switch and outlet covers. This is a simple, inexpensive fix and it makes a huge impact in an older house. Plus: Install a CFL or LED Bulb Dimmer Switch
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Upgrade Hardware and Faucetshxdbzxy/Shutterstock

Upgrade Hardware and Faucets

Dated cabinet hardware and faucets are a great place to start when updating your home. Easy to accomplish on your own, yet bold enough to make a difference. This is a one-weekend project with a big payoff. Look for sleek designs and modern finishes—and if you're looking for extra gusto, consider painting cabinets and adding a backsplash. Plus: Ideas for a Quick Kitchen Facelift
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Remove the Popcorn

Remove the Popcorn

Once the envy of homeowners everywhere, the dreaded popcorn ceiling has outlived its glory days by about 30 or 40 years. Luckily it's a lot easier to remove than you might think. Check out this article, on how to get rid of a popcorn ceiling, and you can thank us later!
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Replace Dated Light Fixturesalexandre zveiger/shutterstock

Replace Dated Light Fixtures

Another DIY fix, replacing old, dated light fixtures with sleek new models is a very effective way to go modern while adding value to your home.
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Replace CarpetPavelShynkarou/Shutterstock

Replace Carpet

While carpet is still a great floor covering choice, if it's dated, in the bathroom or wall-to-wall shag, it's likely got to go. For a modern look, stick with easy to lay pre-finished flooring, oblong or plank tile. Plus: Tips for removing carpet
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New paint is an instant face lift. Simply by covering marks, dings, and scratches in your walls you'll make your home look and feel fresh. It will also allow you to cover any dark or dated colors with a light, monochromatic palette that will breathe new life into your home. For the ultimate in modern style, pair light, barely-there color with natural wood accents.
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Go High-Techstudio23/Shutterstock

Go High-Tech

There are many ways to add high-tech elements into your home, from motion-detecting lights, to built-in charging stations or stereo speakers. Most items can be homeowner installed, and the sky is the limit regarding selection and price for tech-loving homeowners.
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Install a Programmable ThermostatOlivier Le Moal/Shutterstock

Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you're looking to save some money with your home updates, installing a programmable thermostat is the way to go. Programmable thermostats let you set and control the temperature in your home based on your schedule, which prevents energy use when you aren't home. This can result in as much as a 5 to 20 percent decrease in your home energy bills.
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New DoorsArtazum/Shutterstock

New Doors

If you're looking to make a modern statement consider replacing traditional paneled doors with sleek designs, or vertical panes with frosted glass. While you're at it, upgrade hinges and handles for maximum impact.
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Remove the ClutterF.Schmidt/Shutterstock

Remove the Clutter

A hallmark of the modern house is a lack of clutter. This is achieved by better utilizing your storage space and getting rid of unwanted items. Knickknacks and other small items tend to create chaos and can make rooms look cramped. To master minimalist style, look for clean, modern lines and open designs to replace large upholstered or wooden pieces.
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Keyless EntryFamily Handyman

Keyless Entry

Smart locks provide keyless entry options and remote operation, which ensure safety and control for your family. Check out more on keyless locks to learn everything you wanted to know about smart locks and how they can impact your home.
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Whole-Home AutomationSyda Productions/Shutterstock

Whole-Home Automation

Keyless entry or smart outlets are awesome, but the future of home technology is all about automation. DIY home automation kits can be purchased for a variety of functions like home security, appliances, temperature and lighting control, among others.
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Open-Plan LivingBondRocketImages/Shutterstock

Open-Plan Living

Over the last few decades, the way we use our homes has changed. Long gone is the desire for formal, separated living spaces, with a drastic shift to open-plan living. While more expensive than some of the items on this list, removing a non-load bearing wall can be a DIY project—and will make a massive difference in the value of your home. For all the info on how to identify which walls can go—and how, click here.
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Low-Flush ToiletsRasulov/Shutterstock

Low-Flush Toilets

Another money-saving modernization is to replace any water-wasting toilets with high-efficiency models. Low-flush toilets use significantly less water than traditional commodes and in some cases replacing them will garner you a cash rebate.