Small but meaningful

There are a variety of smaller things you can do that will help give your home the modern feel you want.

Door Hardware

Door hardware can look old and dated over time. Replacing it is something many people can do themselves. Instructions and tips can be found on websites like DIY Network, The Family Handyman and YouTube.

Front Lockset

Tired of those traditional, overly stylized front door locksets? If so, take a look at this one.

A similar but more expensive alternative is found here.

In all cases, make sure to select the appropriate backset, door thickness and handing when ordering.

Door Levers and Knobs

Replacing door levers and knobs is fairly straightforward. Both contemporary and modern kinds work well in an updated home. Use the former if you want a toned-down modern look and the latter if you prefer a stronger modern feel. Options for modern door knobs include this one.

Tip: Be careful when selecting a modern lever so you avoid those that look nice but have sharp edges…

Door Hinges

The reason to replace older door hinges is that they often look worn or dated and so detract from a clean modern look.

Door hinges come in two varieties, standard and ball bearing. As their name implies, ball bearing hinges contain ball bearings that allow for smoother operation.

You will almost always find ball bearing hinges on an exterior door because they can handle the greater weight of those doors. While more expensive, ball bearing hinges can be a good choice for interior doors, particularly solid core doors.

Note that given their exposure to the elements, stainless steel ball bearing hinges are best for exterior doors.

Tips: Before buying hinges, make sure you know the height of your hinges and their radius.

For interior doors, a 3 ½ inch height is standard and a 5⁄8 inch radius is most common. Older houses may have ¼ inch radius hinges.

Exterior hinges typically measure 4 inches in height. Again a 5⁄8 inch radius is typical.

Door stops

Old, worn door stops are easy to replace. Go with a standard look or go modern. You can also mix and match depending on what works best.

For example, we use this stubby modern door stop where our standard look door stops would project too far into a walkway.

Door chimes

Almost without exception, door chimes look anything but modern. So instead of an unattractive door chime projecting from the wall, consider a clean looking recessed one.

Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

Putting traditional looking knobs and pulls on slab and Shaker cabinets doors and drawers just won’t do.

Instead, think about something with a modern flair. You can also get a bit of a modern effect if you use them on traditional doors and drawers.

Floor and Baseboard Registers

Floor and baseboard registers can also become worn and/or dated over time. Replacing floor or baseboard registers is a snap. They are not very expensive.

While many are ornate and ill-suited for a modern look, cleaner looking examples are not hard to find.

For a bit more money, you can upgrade to wooden register covers that match your wood flooring.


The grilles covering your heating and ventilation return air ducts are also replacement candidates. For not much money you can get rid of worn and dirty grilles that detract from your new look.