How to Modernize Your Outdated House on a Budget

modern home exterior

Updated May 19, 2023

If you have an outdated home, you may feel like you have to renovate it completely to make it look more modern. Well, we're here to tell you: That's not the case. You can modernize your outdated house on a budget without doing major renovations.

The cost to modernize your home will depend on the extent of the work you choose to do, where you live, and who you hire.

In this guide, we'll go over the best ways to modernize your home's exterior and interior and how much each project costs on average so you can determine the best renovation project(s) for your needs and budget.

Table of Contents:

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A home's exterior has a huge impact on its curb appeal and overall value. You can modernize the front of your house in a number of ways, and the great thing is that you can do as little or as much as you want; you don't have to completely overhaul your home's exterior to have a big impact.


painted brick ranch house

Image via Grace in My Space

painted brick townhouse

Image via Daily Mail

limewashed brick house

Image via Romabio

If you're looking to modernize a brick house or a colonial house, one of the easiest ways to get it looking newer and more modern is to paint the home's exterior.

While painting brick is a divisive topic among many, the decision is entirely up to you, and it's become very popular due to its ability to make old houses look new again.

There are multiple methods to painting brick as well, achieving various styles that can suit your taste, from straightforward painting to limewashing.

Painting can be laborious and tedious, but it is a job that most people can do themselves if they're looking to save money. The average cost to paint a home's exterior is $400-$3,000 including paint, painting supplies, and paint prep materials. The average cost of professional exterior painting services is $5,000-$8,000 for a one- or two-story home.



backyard composite deck

Image via Pure Joy Home

multi level deck

Image via Sunset

An old wood deck is another aspect of a home's exterior that can quickly age your house and decrease its curb appeal and overall value.

Replacing your deck is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to modernize your home, boost its curb appeal and increase its value.

Whether you opt to remove and replace your existing deck with newer versions of the same materials or different materials altogether (composite, pea gravel, etc.), a new, more attractive deck can make your home more visually appealing and inviting by creating a more enjoyable outdoor living space.

Exactly how much a deck removal and replacement project costs, as well as the value a new deck adds to your home, will depend on how big your existing deck is, the material used to build it, where you live, who you hire, the specific deck material you choose for the new deck, your home and neighborhood, and what potential homebuyers expect from—or are willing to pay for—the average home in your area.

The average cost of deck removal is $600-$1,000 on average, including debris disposal. The average cost to build a new deck is $20-$50 per square foot. On average, a new deck recoups 80% of costs, making it a worthwhile way to modernize your backyard. To get the most accurate estimate for your deck project, we recommend reaching out to multiple deck removal and replacement pros in your area for a quote. This will help to guarantee you don't overpay and that you get the best customer service, too.

To get a quote for your deck removal project, Hometown makes it easy and fast to get multiple free quotes. Search deck removal companies near you, read customer reviews, and request quotes to find the best contractor for your deck project.

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wood fence

Image via HGTV

black wood fence

Image via Jenna Sue Design

black vinyl fence

Image via Illusions Vinyl Fence

If you have a fence on your property that is old, splintering, faded, warped, or showing its age in another way, it could be aging your home and negatively impacting its overall value.

Having an old fence torn down and replaced with a newer, more modern option can have a big impact on your property value as well as how old or modern your home appears.

The average cost to remove and replace a fence is roughly $15-$40 per linear foot, including debris disposal. The average cost of fence installation alone is $15-$20 per linear foot. However, the exact cost of your fence replacement or installation will depend on whether or not you're removing an existing fence, the materials you choose for your new fence, the length of the fence being removed and/or installed, how complex the fence layout will be, where you live, who you hire, etc.

To get a quote for your fence removal project, Hometown makes it easy and fast to get free quotes from local contractors. Search fence removal companies near you, read customer reviews, and request quotes to find the best contractor for your fence project.

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Driveway & Walkways

Driveways and walkways are a part of a home's exterior that can drastically age it and make it downright unsafe in some cases.

Cracking, heaving, crumbling, and old-school split style driveways can all make your home less attractive, older looking, and less valuable.

Sometimes, power washing your driveway or walkway is all it takes to have it looking like-new again, but if your driveway is 15-20 years or older, it's likely time to replace it. (Power washing old concrete can only make issues of cracking and crumbling worse.)

The average concrete driveway replacement costs $6,000-$12,000, including removal of the old driveway and debris disposal.

The average cost to replace a concrete sidewalk is between $2,000-$6,000, but can be more or less in some cases.

The exact cost of your driveway or walkway removal will depend on whether it's concrete or asphalt, the square footage of the surface being removed and replaced, where you live, who you hire, etc.

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Read on: Is It Time for Driveway Replacement? When You Should Consider It

Covered Porch

modern sunroom

Image via House & Home

Do you have a covered porch or all-season sunroom that hasn't been updated much since the house was built? These are common areas that can age a home. Oftentimes, these rooms have concrete floors, aluminum or wood panel walls, sliding windows, and that's about it.

To modernize this part of your home, there are a myriad of options available, from minor work you can do yourself to more involved renovations that a pro can assist with.

Oftentimes, painting the floor and walls are enough to make the room appear more modern. For example, if you have a sunroom with wood panel walls, painting the panels a light color can make the space appear brighter, larger, and like it was built this decade.

Painting the concrete floor and adding an attractive rug to the space is another way to modernize a sunroom or covered porch without doing a major renovation.

From there, adding more touches of decor, like outdoor furniture, throw pillows, curtains, and greenery, can truly make the space appear like a freshly built room.

The average cost to paint and redesign an existing covered porch or sunroom is as little as $100 to as much as $1,000-$3,000 on average.

If you're ready to do a complete overhaul of the space, tearing it down and starting with a clean slate is a great option. To tear down a covered porch or sunroom and rebuild costs $8,000-$15,000 on average.

As previously mentioned, the exact cost of this project will depend on the work you choose to do, how complex the work is, where you live, who you hire, etc.

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modern and clean landscaping

Image via Plank and Pillow

Believe it or not, your yard and landscaping design can also make your home appear older and less valuable.

Start by clearing out any weeds and loose debris, like leaves, sticks, and any mulch that's become out of place. Then, mow your lawn as crisp and straight-lined as you can. Then, use a weed whacker to get edges looking clean and well-manicured.

Many people are shocked by just how much of an effect this alone can have on your home's exterior appearance.

Adding landscaping borders to your garden beds and under trees can further modernize the look and feel of your yard and landscaping.

From there, add plants and flowers native to your area that complement your home's design to increase your home's value by 10-12% while making your home appear more modern.

The average cost to upgrade your landscaping in a moderate way is $200-$1,000 but you could spend more or less depending on the extent of the work you do or if you pay for assistance to get the job done.

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modern entry door

Image via Hamilton Park Home

modern interior doors

Image via Mindy Gayer

Your exterior doors as well as your interior doors are also a part of a home that can show its age. Inside a home, unfinished wood hollow doors with basic hardware can make your home look out of date and less valuable. Replacing your interior doors with more modern options, like solid core white doors with modern doorknobs, is a relatively easy way to completely transform and modernize your home's interior.

Replacing exterior doors, like your front door, side door(s), and storm doors, are another way to completely change the look of your home, helping it to look newer and more valuable.

The cost to remove and replace a single door costs $150-$700 on average. Your exact project cost may be more or less depending on who you hire, where you live, the complexity of the door removal and installation process, etc.

If you're replacing your doors yourself (or hiring a handyman to remove the old doors and install the new doors for you), you'll need to determine how to get the old doors of your property. For those with pick-up trucks or trailers, you can haul them to your nearest donation facility, like Habitat for Humanity ReStores, or to your local recycling or landfill facility. For those who don't have the ability or the time to haul their old doors away, renting a dumpster or hiring a junk removal company are great options that are convenient and relatively inexpensive.

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A home's interior may not affect curb appeal, but it certainly impacts your overall enjoyment of your home and its value. You can modernize the interior of your old house in a number of ways, and it doesn't have to involve major renovations.


fresh paint in living room

Image via Amber Interior Design

fresh paint and wallpaper in bathroom

Image via The Lily Pad Cottage

If you're looking for the least expensive way to make your home's interior appear more modern, the easiest way to do that is with paint.

Adding wallpaper to certain areas of your home is another popular method among homeowners looking to add pops of color and interest to their home's interior.

Just like painting your exterior, painting can be laborious and tedious, it is a job that most people can do themselves. The average cost to paint a home's interior is $200-$2,000 including paint, painting supplies, and paint prep materials. The average cost of professional interior painting services is $2,000-$5,000 for a one- or two-story home.


If you have old appliances in your kitchen or an old washer and dryer, these could be lending to how old your home's interior feels.

Replacing them can go a long way in making your home feel more modern and can increase your home's value, too.

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Open Floor Plan

It's common knowledge that most older home's don't have open floor plans. In most cases, older homes have separate rooms, a separate kitchen, a separate living room, etc. For some, this is desirable for privacy and work-life separation for those who work from home or homeschool their children.

Changing a home's layout involves tearing down interior walls, often load-bearing walls, so it's a project best left to qualified professionals. The average cost of changing a home's floor plan is $200-$700 per square foot.

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Kitchen & Bathroom

kitchen remodel with modern cabinets and appliances

Images via Jenna Sue Design

kitchen remodel with updated cabinets

Image via Leah and Joe

bathroom remodel with wood cabinets

Image via Melissa Braedley

bathroom remodel with dark blue cabinets

Image via The DIY Playbook

Old cabinets, outdated fixtures, ugly linoleum—these are all things that can age your kitchen and have a negative impact on your home's value.

Minor kitchen remodels, which involve painting, upgrading cabinets, and replacing sink/fixtures, cost an average of $1,000-$20,000 and have an ROI of 95-100%. Major kitchen remodels cost $20,000-$50,000+ on average and have a slightly lower ROI of 90-95%, but this return on investment is still extremely substantial.

Minor bathroom remodels cost an average of $3,000-$12,000 and typically involve non-invasive work, like painting, replacing the toilet, fixtures, and in some cases the cabinetry or flooring, and other minor design changes. Major bathroom remodels, which cost an average of $12,000-$35,000+, typically involve more invasive work, like replacing everything, including the tub and shower, and relocating plumbing and electrical in many cases. These types of renovations typically have an ROI of 90-100%.

Updating your kitchen and bathroom are arguably the most lucrative home renovations you can complete and have a huge impact on how modern your home looks and feels.

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Modern lighting fixtures in kitchen

Image via Caliber Homes

modern lighting fixture in bathroom

Image via Shades of Light

Your lighting fixtures could be showing your home's age, especially if its riddled with the once-popular flush-mount dome lights. While once all the rage, they have since grown into a repulsion for Americans across the country.

Replacing lighting fixtures is relatively inexpensive, costing as little as $20-$50 per fixture. If you're simply replacing your fixtures, this is a job you can do yourself if you're comfortable climbing a ladder and know how to turn off your electricity. If you need to install a new lighting fixture rather than replace an existing one, we recommend hiring an electrician or someone with extensive experience to handle this.

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