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Feb 4, 2022
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How to Modernize the Exterior of a Split-Level Home to Fit Your Style

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plit-level homes have a unique housing design that can be very beautiful. This style of home was popular in the mid-20th century and was in great demand until about the 1980s. Although they have lost popularity in the modern-day, many homeowners still love the split-level architecture.

Today we sometimes view split-level homes as an outdated style less sought-after, but they come with many benefits you can easily renovate to match your 2022 taste.

Through a few modern touches, you can transform your split-level home from outdated to fresh while still retaining the uniqueness of its design.

Some of the best ways to modernize a split-level home exterior are:

  • An Exterior Paint Job
  • Redo the Windows, Door, and Garage
  • A Touch of Landscaping
  • Replacing the Siding 

Repaint Your Home’s Exterior

The most obvious renovation you can make to your home is a fresh new layer of paint. A new paint job can instantly transform your split-level home into a contemporary-like design. This is especially true if your home is painted in older colors such as a dull yellow, brown, or light blue.

The most appealing modern colors to paint a home change often and vary greatly. That is why it is valuable to recognize what colors are trending in 2022 along with what colors would specifically look good with your home’s exterior.

Colors such as off-white, classic grays, and different shades of olive and forest greens are wonderful options for a modern look. These colors especially flatter the visible layers of a split-level home that is often made up of different textures and accents.

Also, when picking out colors, keep in mind that colors often turn out lighter when painted than how they initially appear.

The before and after of the front of a split-level home. The before is a dark brown color, while the after is white with black accents and a bright orange door.
This split-level home went from a dull brown to a freshly painted off-white color that is Benjamin Moore’s Ballet White. This is one of the most classic, modern colors currently trending. The painter harmonized the ballet white with a bright coral door and black columns and window trims. Image courtesy of Kylie M. Interiors.

Redo the Doors, Windows, and Garage

If you prefer to make a less drastic upgrade, you can always just paint the garage door, front door, or window shutters. 

Make sure you pick colors that blend well with the rest of the home’s exterior and the other colors present. When done well, a new layer of paint is a refreshing upgrade to any part of your home's exterior. Paint can accentuate the special features of your home, such as its different layers. A little paint helps maintain a clean, modern look that will advance your home’s curb appeal.

For an even more attractive exterior, consider upgrading your windows and doors. Nothing says modern like new, wide-set windows. You can even replace your door with a stunning contemporary glass door that will change the appearance of your entire home. Also, your garage is one of the most noticeable exterior aspects of your home. Consider modernizing it with a matching glass door to complete the contemporary look.

Inspiration for a contemporary exterior home remodel in DC Metro
Do you love windows? Then you’ll be obsessed with this completely renovated 1980’s split-level home in Arlington, Virginia. It is great inspo for those who want to incorporate more windows into their homes. Image courtesy of Houzz.
The before picture of an off-white split-level home with a brown door, roof, and window shutters.
This 1980’s home in Michigan is a traditional split-level home. Image courtesy of Liz Marie.
The after photo of a renovated, white split-level home with a dark gray door.
The above 1980’s Michigan home was given a stunning modern makeover with an upgrade to the original white paint, new black paint for the front door, and white window trims instead of shutters. Image courtesy of Liz Marie.

A Touch of Landscaping 

One of the first characteristics homebuyers and passersby notice about a home’s exterior is its landscaping— or lack of. Landscaping is a major renovation that can not only modernize your split-level home but can also increase its beauty and value. How well your outdoor plants look is a major indicator of how well a home is cared for.

Landscaping additions can be as simple as maintaining well-manicured shrubs or can take the form of adding a modern, curved walkway dotted with beautiful plant life. Consider including a flower wall or plants native to your area to give your home a beautiful, enchanting look.

You can also make simple changes such as carefully designing a garden with plants you love or planting a bed of flowers to separate your freshly cut grass and driveway.

Landscaping, when done right, can give your split-level home the impression of a modern, eye-catching beauty.

A before and after picture of a white split-level home that has many trees and landscaping done around it.
This split-level home built in 1962 was fading away with old paint and unkempt plants. A touch of landscaping brought it back to life. Image courtesy of theestateofthings.
A close-up view of the front of a 1962 split-level home and the landscaping done around it.
Here is a closer look at the beautiful landscaping that took this 1962 home from ordinary to eye-catching. Image courtesy of theestateofthings.

Upgrade Your Home’s Siding

If your split-level home is older and hasn’t been renovated before, chances are its siding is an old-fashioned design that has been worn down and damaged over time. 

It is important to check your siding for missing pieces, rotting wood, and any forms of cracking. If you do notice any of these damages it is a sign that your siding may need to be replaced

Even if your siding is in good condition, replacing it with a modern look can make your house appear generations younger. You can do this by replacing your home's horizontal siding with vertical siding for a visually aesthetic appearance. 

Another major change you can make to modernize your split-level home is to paint the siding a brighter color. Also, if your siding is made out of older material such as stucco or tile, consider updating it to fiber cement, stone, or cedarwood material. If you like your current material, then that fresh layer of new paint may be all you need on your way to a modernized home.

The before and after of a split-level home. The after changed the siding and color of the house to a lighter beige.
This split-level home would look lovely if it replaced its horizontal siding with vertical siding and was painted a slightly lighter beige. Although the change is subtle, it gives the home a more modern look while maintaining the traditional red brick of the lower façade. Image courtesy of Brick & Batten.

The unique design of a split-level house is attractive to many homeowners. With the use of these renovation ideas, you can modernize your beloved home to match your specific taste and upgrade its value in 2022.

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