Modernize or Restore? What is in and Does It Matter?

 The newest thing in home improvement is to “modernize” everything. The problem with the word modernization is that it goes along with contemporary, which is really just another …

 The newest thing in home improvement is to “modernize” everything. The problem with the word modernization is that it goes along with contemporary, which is really just another term for the phrase “everything old is new again”. Just like fashion comes and goes, home improvement projects do too.

In the fifties if there was a Winnipeg house for sale, it was all about small rooms that had a purpose. You had a living room that you didn’t ever do any living in and the kids weren’t allowed. You had the family room where you placed the shag rug and all the things that you didn’t care if they got ruined and you had the kitchen and dining room separate.

Due to the decrease in family time and hectic schedules, designers came up with a brilliant idea. How about if we combine the kitchen and dining space so that we can eat where we live? The idea was that if you couldn’t get everyone to come to dinner and sit around a table, then maybe you could bring dinner to them, and everyone could just “exist” together.

So what happened?

Designers decided to rip out walls, combine everything, and “modernize” the kitchen so that the person responsible for meal preparations could have a conversation instead of being sectioned off in the kitchen. They came up with phrases like “living spaces” and “eat in kitchens” complete with bar stools and a counter.

When we couldn’t get everyone around the bar to eat, what we did was open up a space to watch television together. Which, really just made everyone unplug and disconnect from one another. Seeing a trend and breakdown in the way that our families related to one another and time spent not being quality, many wished for the old days of dining rooms and separated spaces. So, what is modern? Like everything else in the creative, design and art world, modernity is in the eye of the beholder.

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The new trends for modernizing your home

Add back in those walls

Having everyone in one space doesn’t always work so well. When you have children, there is never a time when they are going to want to do the same things, or give you any peace. What is back in is creating niches around the house that are designated for teen rooms, play rooms, or just space for people to escape and find time alone. In an age where nothing seems private or quiet, having a little section of the world for quiet time is more than welcomed.

Sleek designs and hard lines

The eighties were all about contemporary and minimalist furniture. Unless you were designing a bachelor’s pad, or just didn’t really sit around the house, though, that wasn’t very conducive to any real “living”. So, those sleek lines were replaced with oversized chairs, fluffy pillows, and frilly edges. Alas, all the noise of our lives and chaotic spaces are too much. The new "in" thing is to go back to the contemporary look but with a more comfy feel. Bigger in decorating is no longer better, it just takes up more space. Decorate a space with appropriately sized furniture so that you aren’t walking around the room like an obstacle course. Also, choose furniture the feared “white”, but make sure to slipcover or scotch guard them heavily.

Dining rooms

Dining rooms aren’t just about when guests come over. They are spaces where there are no mobile devices allowed, Instagram pings, or television. Making a separate room to share a meal with family is back in. It need not be an elegant, expansive, space with a chandelier, just a simple table, chairs, laughter and some good times.

White walls

There was a time when white walls were so prevalent that we all began to feel like we lived in a sanitarium. The eighties brought bright and bold colors that were supposed to inspire moods and bring cheer. The new move is to white again, but not just your basic white. There are many shades and variation of whites to paint your walls that are much kinder and forgiving. They also make a space less encumbered and elegant.

Everything old is new again, even in decorating. If you want to modernize, just know that what is modern today will be old in two decades. So, choose those things that you love and fit your personality and style. Even if something is in and trendy, that doesn’t mean you have to follow the leader. Sometimes it is better to take your own path and find some uniqueness along the way.


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