Modern In The Middle

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There is only one thing nicer than walking the sidewalk of your street toward your gorgeous traditional home, whether it be an Edwardian Apartment nestled into the facade of an old mansion or a colonial house with vines creeping up the walls, and that is stepping inside your front door to be greeted by modern living. That’s the epitome of a balanced home; not too contemporary and not too time-honoured, but somewhere in between.

Of course, you may be reading this and thinking that modernising a traditional home takes a huge pinch of effort and a generous dash of cash, but it doesn’t have to and that’s because there is a myriad of ways in which you can get this look.

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So, in order to save you from the rabbit hole that is Pinterest and the hard work that is pounding the sidewalk poking your head into every contemporary shop along the way, we have pulled together a few simple tricks and tips that will help you modernise your living space while keeping the charm of your traditional home.

1. Put Contemporary Art On The Walls
Juxtapositions don’t always play out the way we hoped they would, but that is not the case here. Hanging contemporary or modern art on the walls of a traditional home is one of the most amazing, elegant and delightful ways to balance the architectural design of your home. You are not altering anything but what the eyes see and that is magical. That is why we love this tip so much. The real plus point, however, is the fact you can have fun with this, choosing art that makes you smile and art that sort of celebrates your personality. The only thing you really need to keep in mind is the colour of the art, as you will want to pick based on what will complement the colours and furnishings already in your home.

2. Throw In Some Bright Colours
That’s right. A great way to liven up your traditional home is to incorporate some bright colours into your favourite, most-used rooms. Don’t be generic or obvious with your choices either. Let’s say you have a traditional kitchen-slash-dining space with floor-to-ceiling display cupboards and country-chic furniture; the simplest way to add a splash of modernisation is to add a canary yellow table with matching cushions. Or you could opt for mint green sofas to grace your living space. Anything that suits your preferences really. What this will do is add a sense of youthfulness to an ageing home, in a subtle not-so-subtle way. So, be brave, think bold and create a stir in whichever way your heart desires. Be punchy.

3. Swap Old For Modern
The great thing about traditional houses is they are packed with traditional features, sometimes too much so. A great way to balance this is to, once again, play with juxtaposition. It could be you add gorgeous brass door handles to your big traditional doors, or you could slot a beautiful in-built gas fireplace into the traditional one you already have, keeping the lovely design that surrounds it. It could just be that you add contemporary furniture where people would otherwise expect to see something more historic, such as a modern desk and chair inside your home office.  

4. Rock An Indoor Garden
The first thing to highlight here is the obvious question of space. However, if you can find a little corner, such as the space under your stairs or that old larder you never use, adding an indoor garden is one of the most popular contemporary trends right now. You don’t need to grow grass or shrubs or anything. You just need to create a place of peace using white pebbles, some potted plants clever lighting and maybe a boldly painted feature wall, something green or red. This may seem rather ‘out there’ but it really can give your home that modern feel and, if you live in a big city, give you that quiet corner to escape to.

5. Your Kitchen Deserves It
The one room in your home that naturally wants to be given a modern makeover is your kitchen. It is crying out for it. It is begging you to go down the modern route. So indulge this room. Make it cutting edge and state of the art, something you can do not matter your budget. It could be that you go with a total makeover, or you could add some industrial tones in the form of brushed metals and rendered islands, or you could simply upgrade your appliances and pop a fresh coat of paint to one wall. Whatever you want and whatever you can afford (even if you consider this to be a work in progress), there are things you can do to lift your kitchen.

6. Make Your Hallway Memorable
Every room counts when you are trying to make your traditional home a little more contemporary, and none is more important than that space you see when you first enter your front door - your hallway. Whether you have a big house or a small apartment, making this meet your decor wants and needs is imperative. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can do this. Use a metallic wallpaper to get that industrial look, hang up some contemporary art, lots of mirrors, add a contemporary chair and put some flowers down. You could also get clever with your lighting so that you highlight the modern accents you have included.

7. The More Open Plan The Better
One of the most universally recognisable features of a modern home is its openness. Traditional homes used to have lots of different rooms with plenty of doors, which was to keep the warmth inside each room. But given this is less of a need these days, open planned living is all the rage. Quite simply, it is one of the easiest ways to make a home feel bigger without having to add any expensive extensions to your property. Of course, before you go knocking down any walls, you will want to be absolutely one hundred percent sure that the walls are not structurally important. The last thing you want to do is opt for a more open house and end up with a pile of rubble.

8. Do They Unexpected
Without even realising it, your home is no doubt following convention on all the little details. There are certain things you do because you expect to see them. By ignoring these unwritten rules you will automatically see your home get a little bit of a contemporary feel. Simple things like having a set up at the bottom of your stairs, but instead of having a two chairs, a console table and a mirror hanging above them all, remove the console table so the chairs are just there and replace the mirror with a piece of contemporary art, whether it be framed or made of wire. You could even add a funky rug of some description to the whole setup if you really wanted too. Of course, you don’t need to go as far as this if you don’t want to. You could just hang a classy - but sexy - portrait on a wallpapered that dons a floral pattern. The point is this: do the unexpected. Pull together quirky arrangements. Leave certain things out. It is such a simple and effective way to get the modern look.

9. Overuse A Colour
The Jo Malone look of blue and white pairing is one of the most traditional color combinations, which is exactly why you should avoid using them, right? Wrong. That’s because, if you overuse them and layer them repeatedly, you can actually get the adverse effect. Let’s use your bedroom as an example. By using blue and white all over the shop you can actually make quite the bold statement. Use it in your bedding and the artwork on your walls and the chair in the corner and with your patterned drapes and you will see overuse works in your favor. Of course, how you break it up will help, such as using minimalist art and textured wallpaper and leather pillows on your bed. But by using the same colors and patterns and materials and laying them on thick you will see a whole new twist on what was once convention.

10. Go Minimal We haven’t mentioned the most obvious way of making a traditional home more modern, which is to simply embrace minimalism in your decor. The easiest place to do this is your bedroom. After all, you only really need this room to rest, which means you can get rid of all that clutter and added furniture you only use to throw your clutter on. Keep it simple. Rein it in. Pare it back. Keep it more functional and you will see the aesthetics follow your hopes and dreams. That means having a non-fancy bed, some statement bedside lamps, one piece of art, minimal curtains, textured bedding and a fur rug on the floor. That’s all you need.

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