How to Modernize a Split-Level Home

split level, multi level, bilevel, trilevel, house, home, divito dream makers, denver dream making, making dreams come true, home renovation, home reno, renovation, remodel, remax, remax alliance, remax agentSplit-level homes can feel dated. But a few simple modifications can transform them, making them one of the best fixer-upper options. Here’s a look at a few of the primary changes you might make to create a modern masterpiece.


Modern home styles are generally made up of two surface types. The predominant surface is generally smooth and clean. Stucco is the most common material used. Thankfully, it’s not very difficult to stucco over many existing exterior siding products, such as T1-11. The second exterior wall surface is a natural stone of some sort.


Single-hung windows, which feature bottom panes that slide up to open the windows, are common too. And many of them are Colonial style, meaning they feature grids that divide the window into 12 or more small “lites,” rather than larger panes of glass.

Which style should you replace these windows with? One option is horizontal sliders. Casement windows, which feature cranks and swing out to open, can also work. Or consider fixed glass; this style, though, won’t work for bedrooms that require an emergency escape and ventilation.

Roof Color and Material

Some roof colors simply won’t work with a contemporary design. Dark colors tend to work well with shingle roofs, and the potential to switch to a standing seam metal roof should also be considered.

If you want to go full-on modern, consider hiding the roof completely. This may involve a major structural overhaul, but it’s worth considering. Always consider even the most extreme ideas if you’re planning to be in the home for a long time.

Exterior Lighting

Exterior accessories such as light fixtures and house numbers can make a huge difference. A split-level home has a few great places to start with swapping out the lighting:

  • The pathway to the front door: Often sloped to reach the middle level, this pathway could be an ideal place.
  • The overhang of the cantilevered second levels: These existing spaces are great for recessed lighting that illuminates the wall beneath, which you might want to cover in natural stone.
  • Either side of the front entry: If the home design includes a forward-facing front door or a recessed entryway, some nice modern fixtures on either side can accentuate the welcoming nature of the entry. Larger fixtures are often better here.
  • The garage: See below about garage doors, and consider a translucent door with interior lighting or some wooden doors with accent lighting.

Garage Doors

If your split-level features garage doors that face the street, they may represent your easiest and best option for modernization. The original spec was probably a steel door with very little curb appeal. Doors with glass-like, translucent flat panels are beautiful in daylight, and at night, when interior light can turn them into giant night lights — all while obscuring the contents of your garage from neighbors.

Another great garage door style is a wood-look door. If done properly, this can tie in wonderfully with the natural stone sections of wall mentioned above.

These are just a few ideas to use as a spark of inspiration. Feel free to contact us for more design tips!

Article originally appeared on Zillow.

Leave a Reply