Creative Split-Level Home Remodel Ideas to Transform Your Space

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Split Level Home Remodel Ideas

Split Level Home Remodel Ideas

Aug 19, 2023   By Vijay Rohila

I frequently get asked, in my capacity as a designer and restorer, how to modernize older homes. They may be scary, pricey, and present embarrassing issues that need creative problem-solving. With so many levels, split-level homes like ours may be particularly difficult. But I can demonstrate to you how to accomplish it on a budget!

A split-level house is what?

Bi-levels and tri-levels are two different kinds of split-level homes, and there are even significant distinctions between those two subcategories. However, the reason they are known as split-level homes is because they often have many floors that are connected by short flights of steps. In the 1970s and 1980s, this architectural style was quite prevalent. As a result, they frequently require a creative touch to give them a contemporary appearance and adapt them for how we live today.

It first split level for me

Although it wasn't our first house, our split-level home was. If I'm being completely honest, I fell in love with it before Barry did. The home was antiquated, but despite that, I could sense its potential, and it was pleading with me to fall in love with it!

The living room, dining room, and kitchen are all located on the same level as the front door of our three-story home. Our top level is accessed via a short flight of steps to the right of the front door, which leads to three of our four bedrooms and two of our three bathrooms. Our main living area has cathedral ceilings and is a few steps lower than our kitchen. The staircase to the lower level (soon to be a completed basement) is located down the hall from the spacious family room, and the fourth bedroom, which we use as our home office, is at the end of the hallway in front of the house. 

Off this corridor, there is a laundry closet, a half bathroom, and a door leading to the garage.

We have slowly transformed our beautiful 1970s home into a contemporary split-level home over the past ten years. Since it is in a great neighborhood and has enough space for us, this house will probably be our lifelong home

Split-Level Home Remodel Ideas

The hardest question to answer is frequently where to begin. I advise beginners to start with the "lipstick phase." This stage involves painting the walls, maybe replacing a few light fixtures, painting the doors and trim, and replacing anything that is genuinely broken. Before making any significant changes, such as remodeling your kitchen, settle in and observe how you live in your own house. This will help you determine which upgrades are right for you and your family.


Painting is one of the finest methods to add a contemporary touch and make a significant impression. I like to paint the majority of the walls in light colors and utilize accent walls to give some uniqueness.

Paint the paneling and dated brick! A home might look quite old if its brick is old. It was the same with our fireplace. It had an orange brick from the 1970s rather than a red brick that looked old.

The fireplace's painting was a GAME CHANGER! Our high ceilings seemed even higher thanks to the use of an almost white on the brick and a dark colour on top, and the fireplace was transformed from an eyesore into a main point. In addition, it produces a fantastic color-blocked appearance and a contemporary style.

Open Floor Plan

This can be the most challenging aspect of older homes, and it might not be possible without busting up walls and spending a lot of money. Try replacing half walls or drywalled portions with railings, glass, or, if feasible, removing them totally if you are unable to pull down walls or it is just not in the budget to do so. Between the split-level kitchen and the living room, we demolished a partial wall and installed a cable railing in its place. This small adjustment made the space feel much more airy.

Little Kitchen Renovations

Consider painting the cabinets if a new kitchen is not in the budget. Painting some cabinets is a simple do-it-yourself job. You might also work with a nearby painting business to update your cabinets like we did.

When remodeling a place, updating the countertops might be a wonderful idea as well. Even changing the color of your cabinets may have a significant impact! In doing so, we upgraded our wet bar and added unique lighting. You'd never know that the uncomfortable area originally had imitation leather countertops, haha! Not really, but it did.


Space is a common problem in older homes. Since people used to own fewer possessions, closets tend to be smaller. I advise using wardrobe systems to offer built-in storage to make up for smaller closets. Sometimes rearranging a wardrobe just a little bit will expose plenty of room.

We updated Barry's reach-in wardrobe using the IKEA Pax system.
I used the IKEA trofast system and many big containers to give the linen cupboard in the upstairs corridor a better use. 


My favorite room to redecorate is the bedroom! Bedroom improvements are a simple and inexpensive method to make adjustments. They often simply require a fresh coat of paint, perhaps some new carpeting, a new lamp or fan, and contemporary furniture. a fantastic location for DIY beginners to begin.
If your bedrooms are small, you might want to think about installing built-in bunk beds. Although this is unquestionably a more personalized choice, it has significantly altered how we utilize our guest room. I have no regrets because bunk beds were a boyhood fantasy of mine.


A fantastic approach to redecorating a room is to replace worn-out flooring with brand-new wood or LVP. Durable flooring alternatives like LVP and hardwood are available in most contemporary homes. Do yourself a favor and replace the carpet with a long-lasting, contemporary option. There is just one carpeted room left in my entire house, and it will be removed this year. To replace it, I already have the wood! We have hardwood floors on the main level, laminate throughout the remainder of the house, and LVP in the basement.

With new hardwood risers and treads, even both sets of stairs have been updated.

The upgraded stairs really improved the new front entry!


Usually, there isn't much place for individuality in these distinctive settings, but it is possible! Hallways, despite being modest, link every room in your house. Additionally, they establish the scene if they are at your house's main door. Never undervalue the impact of a new front door!
Our halls upstairs and below have each undergone small design changes. I dared to paint the upstairs walls a dark color and used board and batten trim. On the internet, there was undoubtedly some skepticism about this one, but in the end, it was a fantastic concept! Unexpectedly, it gives the room the impression of being much larger, and it's a fantastic spot to show art or images in gallery form.

With identical board and batten but different materials and a brighter color, the downstairs received a glow-up as well. I wanted to keep it light since the hallway's ceilings aren't quite eight feet high. Best of all, the renovation only cost a few hundred dollars.

Big Changes

Big ticket items are what I would refer to as significant alterations that are expensive, entail shifting internal walls, altering the design of the kitchen, moving a load-bearing wall, or moving piping. We've dealt with a handful of these.
We moved some walls around to provide a better flow and a fresh appearance when we rebuilt our master bathroom and my wardrobe. Before, the bathroom was quite small and connected to our bedroom, which I didn't like.
For added efficiency, we also fitted new windows.

Exterior Renovation

Remember to take care of your home's exterior. This one can be more intimidating than the inside, but I have some cost-effective solutions for your split-level makeover.

Painting the outside. The house's façade had a vintage feel, like our fireplace. The outside color of the property was dark and didn't go with the decor of our house. The external design was quickly improved with a fresh coat of black paint. The nice part is that this was significantly less expensive than new siding! Note that the siding on our house is aluminum, and I don't believe painting vinyl siding is the greatest option for getting the best results.

We replaced our garage doors a few years ago since the old ones were broken. We decided on a contemporary design with side windows that are tiny. The new garage door not only gives our property a more contemporary outside, but it also brings in a tonne of natural light that we didn't previously have.

It goes without saying that the back of the house is equally as significant as the front. With new landscaping and a patio, the backyard at the back of the property has been updated.

Our newest addition was a hot tub. My Instagram story highlights include all the behind-the-scenes action as well as additional information.

How much of our split-level renovations are left?

This year, we're renovating our home office. Since we originally put it up, how we both use it has altered slightly as we use it more frequently than ever before. Also undergoing renovation is the basement. We added the wine cellar last year, and this year we'll finish the basement so it can be used as a home gym. Bunk beds were recently added to one guest room, but new flooring and decorative accents are still required in the second-story guest room. Since I'm out there working all the time, remodeling my garage is on my lengthy list of priorities. Also, a laundry room renovation since nobody likes doing their laundry in a closet. However, neither of those is now given high importance.

At my mom's house, we are now remodeling the family room and dining area. My Instagram stories will let you know how that project is progressing.
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  • What are the key considerations for a successful split-level remodel?

    A successful split-level remodel hinges on thoughtful planning. Consider the flow between spaces, maximize natural light, and choose cohesive design elements to create a harmonious living environment.

  • How might I make my split-level home more energy-effective?

    To enhance energy efficiency, invest in insulation, energy-efficient appliances, and LED lighting. Consider upgrading windows and doors to reduce heat loss, contributing to a more sustainable home.

  • Are there budget-friendly split-level remodel options?

    Yes, budget-friendly options include DIY projects, strategic use of paint for a refreshed look, and repurposing existing furniture. Focus on high-impact areas to make the most of your budget.

  • What trends are popular in split-level home design?

    Current trends include open-concept living, sustainable practices, and integrating smart home technologies. Embrace natural materials and neutral color palettes for a timeless appeal.

  • Can I undertake a split-level remodel project on my own?

    While smaller projects may be DIY-friendly, larger remodels are best left to professionals. Consult with a contractor or designer to ensure structural integrity and adherence to local building codes.

  • How long does a typical split-level remodel take?

    The project's scope determines the timeline. Simple upgrades may take a few weeks, while extensive remodels can extend to several months. A detailed plan and timeline from your contractor will provide clarity.

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