Ways to Modernize a Rural Home

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Here are some ways to modernize your rural home and create a comfortable, functional, and beautiful space. My home is made of brick… dark brick. When we toured the house with the realtor, it was on sunny days. We never looked at it at night so it was a surprise to see how dark (and dreary) it was at dusk and at night.

Couple this darkness with the issue of several rooms relying on only a small ceiling light. The previous owner must have used a lot of lamps. I find lamps depressing. I don’t like how they don’t put out a lot of light, and I also don’t like how they cast shadows.

So with these two issues, we upgraded and modernized a few things:

  • Any wall that wasn’t brick, we painted a cool tone of light white
  • Added skylight in the kitchen
  • Had electrician install canned ceiling lighting in the bedrooms
  • Replaced overhead ceiling lights (in living room, kitchen, and dining room) with brightest wattage we could find that would be appropriate for the room size
  • Bought super bright floor lamps (without shades)
  • Replaced all the kitchen lights with LEDs

Think about things that bother you about your home or things you’d like to change. Maybe it’s something simple like choosing a lighter paint color to open up the space.

What You Can Do Right Now

Instead of acquiring more, declutter what you have. Removing unnecessary clutter can instantly make your space feel more spacious and organized.

I hate clutter yet I don’t have a lot of storage in my rural home.

Start out going room-by-room and trying to remove 5 – 10 things. Depending on the item, put it away, donate it, sell it, store it out of your sight, or throw it away.

On one of our kitchen counters, we had a toaster, crockpot, instapot, and a bacon grease container. We don’t need all of these things sitting out.

Also, manage the flow of possessions coming in. If you buy something new, try to get rid of something.

Ways to Modernize a Home

Just because you’ve chosen the peace and quiet of rural living doesn’t mean you have to forego modern conveniences or a stylish home.

Bringing the Light In

  • Open curtains and blinds: Choose light-colored drapes, blinds, curtains, and valances.
  • Use light colors whenever you can: Consider your furniture, artwork, decor, blankets, place settings, towels, etc. Light colored walls reflect more light, making your space feel brighter and more open. According to the Department of Energy, using light-colored paints can reduce your reliance on artificial lighting and potentially lower your energy bills.
  • Use natural light: Consider adding skylights or light tubes to naturally brighten your home. (Light tubes are nice in the hallway but be aware they are bright in the summer and can light up bedrooms early in the morning.)
  • Add mirrors: They will reflect light and can make a space feel larger and brighter.

Decorating on a Budget

Also consider modernizing your space with décor.

  • Rearrange furniture: A new furniture layout can give your home a fresh look and feel without spending a dime. Experiment with different arrangements to see what works best for your space.
  • Bring in nature: Houseplants or some potted herbs will brighten up a space and can improve air quality. Choose low-maintenance plants that thrive in your climate and lighting.
  • Display artwork: If you have kids or grandkids, this is a great source for artwork. You can have them enlarged on canvases for one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Otherwise, look to see what speaks to you at shops, art fairs, farmers markets, flea markets, thrift stores, or online.
  • Buy new pillow covers: I bought pillow covers for my patio furniture which changed them from shades of brown and tan to a colorful, happy palette of red, blue, orange, and yellow. I see this everyday from my kitchen, and it brightens my mood.

Modern Upgrades

In addition to cosmetic changes, consider these modern upgrades to enhance your rural living experience:

  • Sustainable solutions: Explore eco-friendly materials for insulation, flooring, framing, roofing, siding, and paint. These can improve your home’s energy efficiency, reduce your carbon footprint, and potentially save you money on utility bills in the long run.
  • Alternative power sources: Take advantage of your rural location and explore alternative power sources like solar or wind. These eco-friendly options can help you save money on electricity and reduce your environmental impact.
  • High-speed internet: Many rural areas now have access to high-speed internet options like satellite internet. Download caps and limitations may exist compared to urban options but it’s a significant improvement for rural connectivity.
  • Home wireless network: Once you have high-speed internet, set up a home wireless network. This eliminates the hassle of cables and allows you to connect your devices throughout your home, from streaming content to offering internet access to guests.

Rural Home Upgrades: Beyond the Basics

While cosmetic changes and essential upgrades are important, consider these additional features to transform your rural living experience:

  • Solid wood flooring: Upgrading to solid real wood flooring can increase your home’s value, enhance its visual appeal, and even improve your health. Solid wood flooring is durable, easy to clean, and offers superior acoustics compared to other options. Or…
  • Laminate flooring: You can find tons of choices in laminate flooring at home improvement stores and DIY or have it professionally installed.
  • Smart home technology: Integrate smart home devices like thermostats, doorbell monitoring, lighting systems, and security cameras for added convenience, security, and potential energy savings.

Bringing the Outdoors In

  • Upgrade windows and doors: Insulate or replace them. Consider installing large windows and doors to maximize natural light and create a seamless connection between your indoor and outdoor spaces. This can enhance the feeling of spaciousness and bring the beauty of nature into your home.
  • Patio or deck: Create inviting outdoor living areas with patios or decks. Consider a safe area for a fire pit.
  • Landscaping and gardens: Enhance your property’ functionality with landscaping and gardens. Choose native plants which require less maintenance and attract local pollinators.
  • Outdoor lighting: Extend your living space outdoors with string lights, path lights, and solar lanterns.

How to Choose What House Projects to Do

Before spending any money:

  1. Do your research: Before making any major upgrades, research different options and compare prices. Consider consulting with professionals for guidance on complex projects.
  2. Find out if you need a permit
  3. Embrace DIY: If you’re handy, consider tackling some projects yourself to save on costs. There are many online resources and tutorials available to guide you.
  4. Ask for help: If you’re unsure about a project, ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, or professionals.

Final Thoughts…

Modernizing your rural home is a journey, not a destination. Start with small changes that fit your budget and gradually add things to enhance your lifestyle.

Embrace the charm of your rural lifestyle while incorporating modern comforts and conveniences to create a home that reflects your personality and brings you joy. Then you have the best of both: The peace and quiet of the countryside with modern day conveniences.

And you’ll be sure to impress your city friends!

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