If you’re a homeowner with an older split-level home like I am, you may have noticed that this particular architectural style can sometimes feel outdated and lack curb appeal. But fear not!

In this blog post, we will explore some tips and tricks on how to update and modernize the exterior of your split-level home. From fresh paint and landscaping to adding updated windows and doors, we have some great ideas for you.

So whether you’re planning to sell your home or simply looking to update the look, read on to discover some practical ideas and inspiration to transform your split level into a stunning and modern home that will turn heads in your neighborhood.

updated split-level home

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Issues with the style of the split-level home

First of all, split level homes have their share of issues that keep the home’s exterior from looking modern and personal.

  1. Limited curb appeal: This style of home was mass-produced in the 60s and 70s because of how inexpensive they were to build.  That is why many split-level homes look identical, lack personality, and miss more modern elements.
  2. Unbalanced look: One of the challenges of split level homes is that the front of the house can often look unbalanced due to the varying heights of different sections of the home. Or, the front of the home can look very plain and unattractive because of the lack of architectural features such as a front porch or protruding entryway.
  3. Dated materials and finishes: Many split-level homes were built several decades ago, and the exterior materials and finishes may have become outdated or worn over time. This can include faded or peeling paint, old siding materials, or outdated brick or stone finishes.
  4. Sustainability concerns: Older split-level homes may lack energy-efficient features, such as proper insulation and modern windows, which can impact energy usage and environmental sustainability. Incorporating sustainable features into the exterior updates may require additional planning and investment.
  5. Lack of landscaping:  Because the homes were built for their low price tag, many split-level homes had sparse landscaping, if any, contributing to their bland façade.  

So in order to get a more modern look to your split-level design here are some of the best ways to get more visual interest and curb appeal.

Use Fresh Paint and Siding for inexpensive updates

If you are looking for a way to give your home a fresh look on a budget then new paint and/or new siding is an easy way to go.  

Adding a fresh coat of paint is a simple way to update the exterior and it can give your home an entirely new look and feel. A well-chosen color scheme can make your home appear more modern and stylish, while also adding value to your property.

Overall, giving the exterior a fresh coat of paint is an excellent investment in terms of both aesthetics and value. Don’t underestimate the power of color when it comes to boosting curb appeal!  Dark colors are very popular right now and give the home a more grounded and modern look. Here are the best exterior paint colors this year according to Better homes and gardens.

blue and beige split-level home

Replace your old vinyl siding with new wood siding or batten siding which is a vertical siding that really updates the look.  Old and worn-out siding can make your house look outdated and unappealing.  But by replacing the siding, you can give your home an instant facelift, making it look modern and fresh.

Aside from improving the look of your split-level home, updating the vinyl siding can also provide functional benefits. Newer vinyl siding comes with energy-efficient features that help reduce energy bills by better insulating your home. Additionally, replacing old vinyl siding can prevent water damage, mold growth, and mildew buildup on the walls.

Replacing or upgrading the windows of your split-level

Replacing small windows with bigger ones can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your home. A split-level home, in particular, can benefit from larger windows as it tends to have an uneven face that can be unappealing. With bigger windows, you can create a more balanced and cohesive look for your exterior.

Aside from aesthetics, replacing small windows also has practical benefits. It allows more natural light to enter your home which can make it brighter and even feel more spacious. You also get a better view of the outdoors which is perfect if you have a beautiful garden or backyard.

simple american split level house exterior

When replacing old windows, consider their style and design as well as their energy efficiency rating. Opt for double-paned glass or those that are specifically designed to keep heat inside during winter months and cool air during summer months. These will help lower utility bills by reducing energy consumption. 

Black framed windows have become increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason. Not only do they add a touch of modernity to any home, but they also offer a sleek and sophisticated look that can elevate the exterior of your split-level home. These windows are especially effective when paired with light-colored siding or brick as they create a striking contrast.

If you’re looking to update the exterior of your split-level home, consider swapping out old windows for black-framed ones. With their timeless yet contemporary design, these windows are sure to make a lasting impression on anyone who sees them. 

Replacing or updating the roof of your split-level home

Replacing shingle roofs with standing seam metal roofs is one of the best ways to modernize and update your split-level home’s exterior. Standing seam metal roofs offer a sleek and clean look that makes your home stand out from others in the neighborhood. They come in various colors, including earth tones and black, which can complement any style of architecture.

Additionally, these roofs have a longer lifespan than shingle roofs, 30-50 years. They are durable enough to withstand harsh weather conditions such as high winds, hailstorms, heavy snowfall, and extreme temperatures. Therefore, installing a standing seam metal roof will not only enhance your home’s appearance but also save you money on repairs or replacement costs in the long run. But the initial cost is much greater than asphalt shingles.

In addition to their durability, they are also energy-efficient. They reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it like traditional shingle roofs, which can help reduce your home’s cooling costs during the summer months. This eco-friendly feature makes them an attractive option for homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint while adding value to their homes.

standing seam metal roof on a cute shed

Update the front door

The main entrance of your split-level home is the first thing that people see when they approach your house. It’s the focal point of your home. Therefore, it’s essential to update and modernize this area to give a good first impression. 

One way to do this is by updating your front door.  Adding a new wooden door in a contemporary design, or adding transoms or sidelights, will instantly update the look of your front entry.  Additionally, consider replacing old hardware such as doorknobs and locks with sleek, contemporary pieces that complement the overall look of your home.

Another inexpensive way to modernize the front entry is by painting the front door a bold color. Painting your door in a contrasting color will automatically bring your eye to the front door and welcome visitors inside.  Choose a color that coordinates with your home’s siding color but stands out against it.

split level home front door upgrade

Update the exterior lighting

One of the easiest ways to modernize the exterior of your split-level home is by updating your exterior light fixtures. There are many different types of lighting fixtures available that can add a touch of elegance and style to your home’s exterior. You may choose from wall-mounted sconces, hanging lanterns, or even recessed lights to create a warm and inviting ambiance.

To complement the style of your split-level home, consider selecting lighting fixtures with clean lines and simple shapes that work with its architecture. For example, if your home has a contemporary look, you might opt for sleek metal fixtures with geometric shapes or bold hues such as black or silver.

Finally, it’s important not to overlook energy efficiency when choosing new outdoor lighting. Choose LED bulbs that use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. With updated outdoor lighting in place, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it can transform the look and feel of your split-level home’s exterior!

Add a front entry addition or front porch for a more modern style

One way to significantly improve the look and feel of your split-level home is to add an entry addition. An entryway can give your home a grander and more welcoming presence, especially if it’s a covered porch or vestibule. This will not only enhance the appeal of your home but also provide functional benefits such as shelter from bad weather. Consider adding new railings, decorative columns, or even built-in seating to create an inviting outdoor living space that complements the style of your home.

Most split level homes do not have adequate space to welcome guests inside.  My home had just enough room in the entryway for the door to swing open and not hit the inside stairs to the upper level.  So not only will adding an entryway addition improve the look of the exterior, but it will also give your guests some room to be welcomed into the home.  

updated split level home

Replace your old garage door with a more contemporary and sleek door.

Updating your garage door can greatly improve the curb appeal of your split-level home. Replacing an old, outdated door with a more contemporary and sleek option can make a significant difference in the overall appearance of your home’s exterior and value.

With various designs and styles to choose from, it is easy to find a modern garage door that will fit perfectly with your home’s architecture. You can opt for a classic, minimalistic design or something bold and eye-catching. Some contemporary options include glass doors, and aluminum or steel doors that provide natural light while enhancing the overall look of your home.

updated split level home in grey

add Landscaping to your split-level home

Landscaping can significantly enhance your home’s curb appeal. By adding modern touches like trimmed hedges, foundation plantings, a manicured lawn, and a colorful flower bed or two, you can easily transform the look of your home. 

Secondly, updating your landscape can help create a cohesive feel between the different angles of your split-level house. For instance, by adding plants or trees at varying heights along the front yard, you can create a balance between the different levels of your home’s architecture.

Also, with strategic placement of greenery and lighting fixtures around your property, such as walkways or garden beds, you can highlight architectural details like windows or entryways.

Add landscape lighting along the driveway and walkway to highlight any trees, shrubs, or flowers along the path.  Hanging string lights or lanterns can create a warm ambiance in the evening.

beige split level home with 3 garages and landscaped front yard

Adding outdoor seating or decor is a great way to complete the update of your split-level home’s exterior remodel. Adding potted plants and flowers can also add color and beauty to your outdoor space. 

Improving the driveway or walkway can also enhance the exterior of the home. You can replace old concrete with cobblestone pavers or stamped concrete to give it a modern feel. 

Consider updating house numbers with modern fonts or styles and add shutters to windows for added curb appeal. 

By completing these touches you’ll have a stylish exterior that will impress anyone who comes by your split-level home!  When done right; updating landscaping will not just give it a facelift, but also increase its resale value while giving you a more enjoyable outdoor living space for years to come.


If you own a split-level home and the exterior of your house has not been updated in years, the good news is that modernizing the exterior of your split-level home doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Try some of these ideas today.  

Whether you have a small budget or a budget for an entire house exterior renovation, watch your dated split-level home be transformed into one of the beautiful modern homes of today.

And if you do some updates, please share some before and after photos with the rest of us. We can all use some inspiration!

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