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5 Fantastic Renovations for Split-Level Homes

Split-level homes offer efficient use of space, high ceilings, and can be quite beautiful. However, in this era, no one wants to enter their house and feel like they’ve been transported back to the 1970s. Unfortunately, this is the feeling you get from most split-level homes.  But this doesn’t have to be the case. You can transform your home and add those modern touches you’ve been craving for.

The tricky part about renovating split-level homes is that they have unique floor plans. If you don’t know how to go about the renovations, you risk ruining the integrity of the house. Don’t worry, though. We’ve shared five fantastic renovations for split-level homes to help you make the right decisions. So, let’s get this show on the road.

exterior of ranch home

Revamp the Exterior

Nothing says how old a house is like the exterior. The faux bricks and lower façade instantly reveal how old your house is. Luckily, the exterior is a simple fix. New paint and lower façade materials will leave your home looking brand new. Consider the following options to change the exterior of the house.


Drab colors like tan, yellow, and blue make your house look older. Take the drab to fabulous with a coat of paint. For a modern look, opt for more saturated colors, likea jewel tone. Make sure the person you hire preps the area sufficiently before painting to ensure the best results.

Update the lower façade

Do you have outdated bricks and tiles in the lower part of your house? These can also make your house look older because the materials were quite common back in the day. You can elevate the overall look of your house by changing these materials to more modern ones. Consider stone or cedar cardboard for a more modern feel.

Consider a New Roof Color

The fastest way to achieve a trendy style in your split-level home is to create contrast between the roof and house color. If you’ve decided to repaint the house, consider redoing the roof as well. The last thing you need is a fresh coat of paint on the wall surfaces and an old-looking roof – not a pretty look!

Upgrade Your Garage Doors

The garage doors are among the first things your guests see. Therefore, don’t just work on the house. Changing the garage doors will create an enormous change. If your budget allows, get contemporary garage doors.  However, if you’re on a tight budget, a fresh paint job should do the trick. Just make sure you choose a color that complements what you’ve chosen for the house and roof.


Revamp Your Entryway

One of the areas you may be struggling with in your renovations is the entryway. Because the entryway is split, it may feel cramped inside and too deep-set on the outside. So, what do you do to make it look more beautiful without breaking the bank?

Move the Front Door

If you have no problem with how your current door looks like, consider moving it. Instead of facing the street, move the door to face the driveway. Add a window where the door used to be to increase lighting in that area. IGU windows are an excellent option for this project.

Install a Glass Front Door

For a more modern look, consider adding a glass front door. This addition not only brightens up the area but also adds a touch of glass. Choose high quality glass doors that complement your entire design for a uniform overall design.

Build Storage into the Foyer Wall

Most split-level homes have free space behind one of the foyer walls. If your split-level is designed this way, and you have limited space, consider building storage into the foyer wall.

Add a Porch

A porch in the entryway creates a clean line with the front of your house. And if it’s perfectly designed and includes modern elements, it will redirect the focus from the garage to the porch. This isn’t a project to rush into, though.

Consider different designs; get plans to get an idea of how the final look will be and ensure it’s something you want since it’s a permanent addition. Most importantly, get the best professionals for the job to ensure a stunning finish.

bright room

Brighten the Entire Space

Most split-level homes have only one window in each room. Considering that these types of houses also have numerous walls, it’s no surprise that split-levels don’t get enough natural light into the space. Another quick way to renovate your house and get a modern feel is to invest in projects that brighten the entire space. Consider the following options.

Go for Custom Mirrors

Mirrors make small, dark rooms appear bigger by reflecting the light that’s already present. Therefore, if you’re not ready to take apart any walls or invest in a big renovation project, mirrors are your best friend.

However, don’t go for any mirror you come across. Consider custom-made designs. These allow you to reflect your unique style. Besides, you have the freedom to choose different designs and finishes that complement your interior décor. This is harder to do when you go for ready-made mirrors.

Add a Skylight

Adding light from above will also do wonders for your space. The best option to consider is a skylight. These add sufficient light and instantly add a modern touch to your house.  Again, don’t just open up a space in the ceiling and call it a skylight. Explore different designs and window styles and choose the best one for your space.

Solar tubes are also an excellent option. They use natural energy from the sun, and they don’t take up too much ceiling space.

Add More Windows

Small windows also make your house look dated. Consider removing the old windows and replacing them with large ones. Think about the visual symmetry from the outside and inside of the house. In addition to this, consider adding windows to the blank walls in the rooms you spend most of your time.

The additional windows will brighten up the space and make your home look bigger than it is. Go for modern window designs and choose a color that complements your interior and exterior colors.

Use Brighter Paint Colors

The type of paint you have on your walls also determines how big and bright your space looks. Brighter colors should be your go-to colors for split-level homes because they don’t have enough natural light getting into the house.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have other colors in the house. It’s okay to add an accent wall in addition to the bright color for a more modern feel. If you decide to add an accent wall, though, consider the following dos and don’ts.


  • Think outside the box: Explore unique options to create a stunning look with specialty finishes such as sandstone, metallic, or brushed suede paint.
  • Choose the accent wall wisely: Opt for walls that don’t have interesting architectural features. Walls with windows work well. However, ensure the paint color you choose will absorb or reflect the incoming light well.
  • Continue the color scheme: Add decorative elements like throw pillows, rugs, and art to complement your accent wall.
  • Consider other walls: Accent walls are best complemented by neutral colors like grey, white, and beige on the rest of the walls.


  • Don’t limit yourself: Apart from paint, you can also use wallpaper, shelving, or a photo gallery.
  • Don’t choose a color that conflicts with your interior décor: The accent wall should fit effortlessly into your entire design.
  • Don’t be boring:  If you’re going for a significant facelift, avoid soft neutral colors because they can leave you underwhelmed. Go for bold neutrals that display the same undertone for a stunning look.

technology wifi thermostat

Upgrade Technology and Safety

Renovations shouldn’t just be about upgrading the look of the house. You should also prioritize your safety. Most split-level homes don’t have updated technology or safety features, but this doesn’t mean you can’t add them. Consider the following options.

Get a Smart Security System

Don’t forget to modernize your security system as you modernize your home. A smart security system goes a long way in helping you feel safe at home. You can keep watch of your house on your phone or tablet wherever you are, and you always get alerts when there’s any suspicious activity in your home.

Upgrade the Kitchen Ventilation

If you’ve had your range hood and kitchen exhaust for years and you barely get any maintenance done, it may be time to upgrade the kitchen ventilation. However, before you decide to get an entirely new setup, it’s best to have a professional check it out. The unit may still be functioning well and only needs a few upgrades.

Invest in Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

Split-level homes have many separated rooms and floors. Therefore, it’s crucial to invest in enough carbon monoxide and smoke detectors if you don’t have them already.

Reconfigure the HVAC System

Most split-level homes have annoying cold and warm areas. If you’re struggling with this, get a HVAC professional to reconfigure the HVAC system so that you have HVAC zones with separate thermostats in different areas of the house.

If this is not within your budget, another alternative would be to invest in a whole-house fan. It’s cheaper and achieves the same goal.

open floor plan designs bay area

Knock Down Some Walls

Does your split-level home feel choppy and disconnected because there are too many walls? Although it’s impossible to remove load-bearing walls, there are certain renovations you can do to eliminate unnecessary walls. These include:

  • Open up the kitchen: Whether you have a separate dining room or your kitchen is in the living room, you can open it up by knocking down part of the kitchen wall. Opt for a kitchen island in the middle, or a half wall with storage space.
  • Shuffle various doorways: You can also renovate your house to make different doorways to connect to different rooms. For instance, an isolated linen closet may be renovated to be a walk-in closet for an adjacent bedroom.


Wrapping Up

Renovating a split-level home can be a lot like pulling teeth. You’re working with a tricky floor plan, and any mistake can damage your house. However, as you can see, you have numerous options to make your space look bigger, brighter, and more modern.

Just make sure you hire professionals to do the job. You need professionals that will execute the projects flawlessly while respecting your property. Most importantly, you need someone with experience with split-level homes. Avoid DIY projects, especially if you have no experience with renovations. Doing big renovations on your own only increases the risk of damaging your home – you definitely don’t want that!


About Element Home Remodeling East Bay

Element Home Remodeling East Bay is an Oakland based home remodeling contractor specializing in fresh, modern renovations. We service the entire Bay Area and offer free in-home consultations. Contact us today to learn more.

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