How to modernise a brick home

If you’re someone who’s home was built in the 1970s, you’re probably already searching for ways to modernise your brick home and improve the exterior.

The question is, what makes a home modern?

If you asked any builder, the most obvious answer would be to render the exterior of your home.

These days, most homes are rendered to achieve a clean, modern and upper class feel, but it’s also quite expensive.

So if you don’t feel like spending $13,000 on rendering your home, where does that leave you?

The first step is to go and stand on your front verge and take a real good look at your home’s front exterior.

Is your landscape looking up to date or is it a neglected unruly mess rampant with weeds? Are the windows, doors and roof faded? Is your garage looking a little lifeless?

You see, there are more ways to modernise your old brick home than to simply render. From repainting and landscaping, to updating fencing and window dressings, here’s how to finesse your old drab home into a modern masterpiece.

Brighten up the landscape

The issue with old brick homes is that they tend to have quite a harsh, rugged look and will appear a lot heavier than a rendered home. Landscaping is one of the easiest and most effective ways to soften the overall feel and appearance of your brick exterior. 

The best part about landscaping is that you don’t have to fork out thousands of dollars for a tradie to come and render your walls. All you need is a bit of elbow grease and a quick trip to Bunnings. If you need some inspiration, have a look at this article on how to design your front yard.

Consider adding some plants with a bit of colour that will contrast well with the colour of your brick. Opt for plants with thicker stems and rounded leaves to soften the overall look of the exterior, drawing the eyes of guests to the garden.

Apply a fresh coat of paint

You could consider reviving faded areas of the exterior by painting verandahs, gutters, window awnings, and trims of your home with a darker contemporary colour for lighter bricks. Dark timber trim can provide a very stylish look and contrast well against the bricks, giving your exterior a little pop. For darker brick homes, try using lighter colours, but not so much white. 

You could also consider painting your front door in a contrasting colour to create a standout feature, adding to the ‘entryway’ of your home. If you want to go a step further, you could repaint the entire brick exterior in a single colour, such as grey or black, paired with white trim on the woodwork. For darker brick homes, a warm grey or taupe will work really well in helping the home stand out with a modern, fresh finish.

How to pick your house exterior colour?
What colour should my garage be?

Costs

Licensed painters can charge anywhere between $4,000 to $18,000 depending on the size of the home. Brickwork tends to be more expensive and usually ranges from $15 to $45 per square metre.

Rendering

We aren’t going to cancel out rendering just because it is expensive. Whether you’re renovating or flipping a home, rendering is one of the most effective methods of modernising a brick home. It is important to remember that rendering won’t necessarily increase the value of your home as it is quite expensive to do and we would recommend trying other modernising methods, such as painting window trims or tidying up the garden.

You could consider partial rendering or DIY rendering to save on costs. If you end up choosing to DIY, start in a hidden section of your home that has little visual impact — just like a spot check — so you can work on your technique. You may need to apply 2-3 coats to achieve a smooth even finish. If completed by a licensed professional, rendering brickwork can add up to 10 times the cost of the initial rendering cost to the sale value of a home.

Costs

If you choose to hire a professional, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $50 per square metre, with smaller homes costing around $12,000 and $20,000 for a larger double storey home.

Accentuate your entryway

First impressions matter and nothing says ‘WELCOME IN’ more than a well curated entryway. A beautiful front entrance has the ability to provide your guests with an insight into what to expect before entering your home. 

A well designed entryway can provide character as a standout feature and modernise an old brick home. There are a number of elements to consider when revamping your entryway, including brick pavers, painting or replacing the front door, or creating a modern unique garden path that takes your guests through a wild nature walk.

Revive your worn, faded garage door

If your garage door has seen better days and a simple paint job won’t bring it back to its former glory days, it may be time to replace it. Your garage door accounts for 30% of your front facade and contributes to the overall look of your home, with the potential to increase its value. 

Depending on the style of your home, consider updating to a darker wood-look door with dark or light grey walls for a contemporary and stylish look. For a more monochromatic theme, a dark or black customised sectional garage door will go nicely with a modern, rendered exterior.
Read more advice on how to pick a garage door colour.

It’s always a good idea to contact the professionals if you’re considering updating your garage door. With a team of knowledgeable design consultants, they will be able to provide you with expert advice on how your garage door could modernise your home.