Basic elements of two-story houses that you should consider for the next remodel

The split-level home was very popular in the 1970s. Many were built during that time, which means most still stand today. Although the inside of a split-level home flows nicely from one level to the next, the outside is another story. The exterior of a split-level is often dated and bland, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. 

If you own a split-level home and would like to modernize it a little bit, take a look at the suggestions below. 


The typical split-level home had T-11 siding and plywood sheets with vertical grooves spaced exactly 8 inches apart – kind of bland and uninspired. Today’s modern home exterior is clean and smooth, with stucco being the most common medium for achieving this look. The good thing about stucco is that it adheres to virtually any surface, including T-11 siding. 

Another exterior wall material that works well in a modern home design is natural stone. The structural breaks in a split-level home make it very easy to mix these materials for a modern look. 


The windows in a split-level home were usually single-pane colonial-style windows. This dated feature can be modernized easily by replacing the windows with casement windows that swing out or windows that slide horizontally rather than vertically. 

The Roof

The roof is more than a utilitarian feature. It’s also a design element that can make or break a home’s overall look. For a complete modernization of a split-level home, the roof shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Like the exterior of the home, today’s roof is also clean and smooth. You should consider a standing seam metal roof, or at the very least, a dark-colored shingle roof rather than a light color that shows every nook and cranny.

Outdoor Lighting

An easy and inexpensive way to modernize a split-level home is by adding some accent features like lighting. Split-level homes have some great options for placing outdoor lighting such as:

  • The pathway to the front door
  • The overhang of the cantilevered second level – recessed lighting looks great here.
  • Both sides of the entryway – large fixtures work well here
  • The garage doors

Garage Doors

If the garage doors of your split-level home face the street, this is probably your best option for modernizing the exterior of the property. Split-level home garage doors had very little curb appeal, but today’s garage door options add beauty and style to any home. 

Consider a translucent garage door that, at night, turns your garage into an attractive nightlight. Although the doors feature glass-like panes that allow light to shine through, they obscure the contents inside your garage for a wonderful lighted nighttime effect without revealing what’s inside. 

Another good garage door option, especially if you’re adding a natural stone element to the exterior of your home, is a wooden garage door. The combination of natural elements works very well together. 

The split-level home was popular in the 1970s and is still a great home today. If you own one and want to transform its exterior into a modern masterpiece, try the suggestions listed above.