The Great British interior design aesthetic represents something of a gift and a curse. Whilst heritage, homeliness and a clear identity are easy to channel, the ‘period piece’ nature of so many houses here can feel, well, a little dated. Stuffy, even. No harm, then, in wanting to bring things up to date and up to speed, shedding the pitfalls of the past and bringing things very much into the present. Here’s how; our 7 IDEAL ways to upgrade and modernise your home.
OPEN IT UP
Open plan living automatically lends a more trendy and modern feeling to a space, and is a fantastic way to bring broad minded, inclusive aesthetics indoors. Moreover, an open-plan home – usually combining the kitchen and living space – provides homeowners with a social space; an area that can be used for more than just preparing and cooking daily meals.
Indeed, it seems that knocking down walls to combine kitchen and dining spaces also knocks down barriers between people, creating less isolation and more sharing. Perhaps the trend of open plan living reflects the fact that we’re finally saying goodbye to the old british reserve – that stiff upper lip. So wave goodbye to walls and embrace being open.
ADD A CONTEMPORARY EXTENSION
Adding a contemporary extension to an old Britsh home is great way to modernise your domestic space. The key is to find an architect that can design a symbiotic arrangement between the two, making the transition from the original build to the new addition seamless. This blend is achieved through an avoidance of jarring, competing materials, levels of light and even functions of the spaces. When considering such an extension, make sure you do your due diligence on the legality of the investment, seeking planning permission prior to the build; Britain’s bureaucracy surrounding this is notoriously tight.
MAKE IT MINIMALIST
The modern design aesthetic of minimalism came into existence in response to all that overly ornate, fully fanciful and somewhat cluttered architecture and design of the late 19th Century. As we’re sure you’ll be familiar, this is particularly prevalent in the UK. So if you want to channel a modern look without having to renovate your home, then use the excuse to go minimal. If your home shows a distinct lack of ornament and flair, then you’ve nailed it. Remove unnecessary details and frills and focus on functionality.
INSTALL A HOME LIFT (OR ELEVATOR IF YOU’RE IN THE STATES)
Stairs are so yesterday. If you want to give your home that covetable contemporary edge, adding an elevator is one of the most modern additions that you can make. A serious statement, make no mistake. Not only does it straddle a sense of luxury and pragmatism (as in time it may become something of a necessity), but it’s also quite the talking point. So, if you want to go the distance and modernise your home, incorporating a lift is a modern design statement that few things can top.
Another simple way to modernise your space without needing a full renovation is to deck it out with tech. Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple’s Homepod… these smart home hubs that integrate your home and phone together, allowing easy home automation and lifestyle management, make things feel very futuristic indeed. Your home’s smart devices can dim your lights, monitor your security systems, and play your music. There’s even smart ovens that automatically recognise the food you’re trying to cook and will complete the job for you.
Don’t stop at those devices. With a new focus on saving energy and reducing environmental impact has come a new wave of technology to meet demands. Energy-efficient tech exists to cover all facets of modern living, from TVs and entertainment devices, to washing machines and dishwashers. Harness the power of as many as you can cope with.
CHANNEL A SKYSCRAPER
No we don’t mean you should make your house really, really tall. However, channelling the aesthetic of a sleek, steel framed skyscraper with metal and glass is a wonderful way to modernise your home. The easiest way to do this is by adding floor to ceiling windows which will immediately make your space feel more contemporary. Just look at most modern commercial building and flats for inspiration. Moreover, floor to ceiling windows bring in more natural light and solar heat into an interior, subsequently improving your home’s energy performance. Speaking of which…
SWITCH TO SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
The results are in: the vast majority covet a more renewable energy. A survey of 26,000 people across 13 countries and three continents found that 83% of people believe creating more renewable energy is a priority. The fact of the matter is you don’t have to wait to go green and enjoy sustainable energy; you can do it now by producing your energy. While solar panelling might seem like super-advanced, high-profile tech, it is becoming increasingly accessible and anyone can install panels on their property.
While initial costs are high, solar panels not only reduce your environmental impact, but can also save you hundreds on your utility bills. With a lifespan of 25 years or more, they’ll help you save the planet and save on bills for a long time. Or consider switching to a renewable energy supplier. Yes, it will definitely cost more than those burning fossil fuels for your electricity and gas, but the reductions in your carbon footprint will be considerable.
If you’re looking for advice on other home improvements, look no further; our 5 IDEAL ways to give your home a quick facelift on the cheap.