urban homes
ARTICLE

Rethinking the ‘Typical’ Home

Is there such a thing as a ‘typical’ home? If we were to think of the most ‘common’ everyday property, it would probably be the urban model. These properties were traditionally built and designed to suit a purpose. They were nice and easy for families to move into and to use for everyday living. Since this particular housing explosion, however, things have gotten a little more creative.

There are suburban properties available across all periods of housing. If your property is built for ease of access and more for purpose over design, you likely have one of your own. However, people are getting more and more adventurous when it comes to renovating their traditional family properties. But how?

Standing Out From the Crowd

The reason why so many people are interested in how to make an urban home stand out is that many of these properties can look the same! They were built to order and to template by companies who were quickly developing more places for people to live.

Therefore, it is relatively easy to understand why so many of us are keen to stamp our own identities on these properties. Otherwise, you could well be walking into one identical house after another. While this type of home was developed with unique needs in mind, there is little in the way of development for the sake of aesthetic. What’s more, these properties can quickly become dated!

So what are people who are looking to start an urban home renovation on a budget doing? You may have your own ideas for how to break free of the mould. However, in this guide, we’re going to share a few examples to inspire you.

Colour Schemes

One of the simplest ways homeowners and builders are moving away from their templates is to bring in a few new colours

The modern suburban design makes use of mild, pastel colours. Going downright garish with shocking pinks and eye-popping yellows often isn’t the best way. Pure, simple blues and greens often work very well with white. They are just off the template enough to make a difference, but at the same time, they can complement an existing property’s features and facets.

Clever home exterior renovation is about standing out while avoiding a clash. Yes, you want to add your own spin to your property, but if you’re the only house on your block painted in vivid lemon yellow, you could make things worse.

Modern renovators think carefully about their choices. It’s not just about making a statement, but about being responsible at the same time.

pastel colours

Open Plan Thinking

With period homes and urban properties, you will probably find rooms fairly sectioned-off. The modern way, as many people are finding out, is to go open-plan. Why not blend lounges into dining rooms and kitchens? Why not think about removing doors and partitions? The contemporary way is to boost ease of movement. We’re no longer in a day and age where every room has to have a set purpose or reason – apart from bathrooms, for health and safety reasons!

Modern house features enhance this sense of space and freedom. Luckily, many period suburban properties will have been built on sturdy foundations.

Bright and Breezy

Properties built for the purpose have practicality in mind. That’s why so many suburban and original period homes may be stuck with dark, dingy shades and wood types which don’t do much to liven up your day. The urban home is being remodelled with the idea of increasing light. This could be by installing and setting up fixtures and fittings in brighter, milder colours, or by bringing in more of the outside world.

Traditional housing will likely have a ‘just enough’ approach when it comes to natural light. That means you’ll probably have plenty of windows, but natural light isn’t really being maximised. Modern interior design is all about transparency and natural illumination. Think about bringing in bigger windows, breaking down those partitions (if able to do so), and maybe installing skylights.

As we’ve discussed elsewhere, however, you don’t want to do too much to distract from the original character of your property.

home windows

Character Preservation

There is a delicate balance when it comes to period home renovation. If you have already read a few of our guides, you will know this is the case. Knowing how to make your home stand out without taking away from the original features and charm of the property is not always easy.

The right colour schemes and tweaks to the exterior and interior fittings will upgrade your property while retaining original architectural standards. Knowing how to do this takes time and plenty of experience. That’s why it is always a good idea to consult a period home renovation expert who can help plot a course of action which will genuinely work with your property.

Furniture Choices

You will also need to be careful and thoughtful when it comes to the furniture you choose for your home. Older style furniture is, by design, very practical and very straightforward. Modern and contemporary furniture can be straightforward, too, but the right pieces will stand out and really make a statement.

The best way to strike a balance is to think carefully about the period your property was built in. A Victorian home, for example, will likely benefit from a few flourishes, and some ornamental pieces of furniture. You could focus on decorating with period artwork or light fittings. However, the items you need the most comfort from should be those you make your modern choices. Think seating and tables, for example.

old chair

Creative Gardening

One of the simplest ways to modernise your home is to think creatively about flowerbeds and gardens out front and back. Colourful arrangements and unique bed shapes can make fantastic statements. Let’s think back to this idea of avoiding clashes, too. Garden design choices are far less likely to impact negatively on the rest of the neighbourhood.

You don’t necessarily have to style your garden after the period your home comes from. You could take inspiration from the local area, online guides, or simply splash your favourite colours around. Ultimately, it’s a great way to add modern, attractive character to a simple suburban exterior without it upsetting too many people.

Think Simple

One of the biggest trends in urban home design in recent years is simplicity. As people want to find more affordable ways to dress and renovate their homes, it is hardly surprising that more straightforward, less expensive ideas are being put to fantastic use.

Simple ways to renovate a period home may be to ‘upcycle’ various bits and pieces. Upcycling, of course, isn’t for everyone. However, keeping things simple and trying not to overdo a renovation project should be high on your agenda. If a suburban home already seems like an empty shell, you probably won’t need to do much to modernise it.

blue couch white wall

Why Rethink the Urban Home?

People are keen to rethink these types of homes because they can sometimes look a little drab and uninspiring. Urban housing was set up to serve a purpose, not to appeal to your sense of style. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to stamp your mark on a fairly neutral shell.

As with all period renovation projects, seeking the support of a professional renovator is a great idea. Whether or not you choose to make things simple, going DIY on any kind of renovation means a lot of work. You’re already going to be putting plenty of your own time and effort in with regard to planning and financing!

Are you thinking about livening up a period home? Period Extensions & Designs is a professional firm specialising in re-imagining and refurbishing properties of yesteryear. Take a look at our specialist guides on what to expect from your renovation projects, or call on 03 9882 5255 for more information.