8 Modern Upgrades for a Luxury Mid-Century Modern Home Renovation

Midcentury modern kitchen with indoor outdoor transitional door.

The allure of mid-century modern homes lies in their timeless design, characterized by clean lines, organic forms, and seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. Norman and the surrounding central Oklahoma area is chock-full of mid-century modern ranch style homes in want of updating.

Originally built from the 1940s to the 1960s, these homes were once celebrated for their simple, rambling layouts, and their ability to include modern amenities such as open kitchens and attached garages. Unfortunately, time and technology progressed, but most of these homes have not kept up. Today, these once modern marvels often lack the modern amenities and upgrades that would make them the functional icons they once were and we believe It’s time to bring them into the 21st century.

As we look to the future, integrating modern upgrades that complement and enhance the original ethos of these structures is crucial. Let’s explore of of the modern enhancements (by 2024 standards), that can be seamlessly integrated into mid-century homes, ensuring they meet contemporary standards of comfort and functionality while retaining (or bringing back) their unique architectural charm. 

1. Smart Home Technology

In the realm of home automation, smart home technology offers a perfect blend of convenience and style, which can be integrated into mid-century homes without disrupting their aesthetic. Key upgrades include: 

  • Smart Thermostats: Devices like Nest or Ecobee can learn your schedule and adjust temperatures accordingly, ensuring energy efficiency and comfort. 
  • Automated Lighting Systems: Smart lighting solution such as Philips Hue not only allow you to control lights remotely but also enable you to change lighting colors to fit your mood or the time of day. 
  • Integrated Sound Systems: Built-in speakers that blend into the ceiling or walls provide high-quality audio without compromising the visual integrity of the room. 

2. Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors

Series 7650 Sliding Glass Door from Western Window Systems' Performance Family.
Series 7650 Sliding Glass Door from Western Window Systems’ Performance Family. Photo Credit: Western Window Systems.

Replacing old, drafty windows with energy-efficient alternatives is crucial for enhancing comfort and reducing utility bills. While you’re at it, don’t just replace your windows, instead, lean into the openness of the mid-century style and install larger energy-efficient windows and doors to bring in more natural light. 

  • Slim Profiles: Contemporary window and door frames that offer the slim profiles typical of mid-century design but with better insulation and durability, like this one from Western Window Systems‘ Performance Family.
  • Double or Triple Glazing: These windows reduce heat loss and help maintain a consistent indoor temperature, a must for energy conservation.
  • Low-E Coating: A microscopic coating that reflects infrared light, keeping heat inside in winter and outside in summer, further enhancing energy efficiency.

3. Modern Kitchen Appliances

Midcentury modern kitchen and dining area renovation by Brent Swift + SwiftCo in Norman, Oklahoma. Purpose is to show our quality of work.
Home Renovation in Norman, Oklahoma, by SwiftCo.

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, and updating this space with modern appliances can significantly enhance its functionality without sacrificing style. When selecting appliances, look for:

  • Retro-Styled Modern Appliances: Brands like Smeg and Big Chill offer appliances that feature modern technology with a vintage look, perfect for a mid-century kitchen.
  • Integrated Appliances: Dishwashers and refrigerators that can be fitted with custom panels to match cabinetry help maintain a clean, uncluttered look. This is our go-to for most of our kitchen designs at SwiftCo. We even use it in our own office!  
  • Induction Cooktops: These not only provide a sleek, flat surface that fits well with the minimalist style of mid-century modern kitchens but also offer precise temperature control and energy efficiency. 

4. Contemporary Lighting Solutions

Lighting plays a pivotal role in defining the ambiance of a space. For mid-century homes, selecting lighting features that provide both functional illumination and act as a sculptural piece of art can enhance the overall aesthetic:

  • Pendant Lights: Designs featuring geometric shapes or made from materials like brass or copper can complement the mid-century decor while adding a modern twist.
  • Track Lighting: A versatile lighting solution that can be adjusted to highlight art pieces or architectural details without overwhelming the space.
  • LED Recessed Lighting: Offers a clean, streamlined look and can be used to create a warm and inviting atmosphere with adjustable color temperatures. 

5. Updated Flooring Options

Flooring in mid-century homes should balance style with durability and comfort. Modern flooring options that fit well with mid-century aesthetics include: 

  • Cork Flooring: Not only is cork flooring sustainable, but it’s soft, pliable nature makes it comfortable underfoot, a nod to the mid-century emphasis on organic materials.  
  • Terrazzo: This composite material, popular in the mid-20th century, has made a comeback with its speckled appearance and immense durability.
  • Polished Concrete: For a more industrial look, polished concrete offers a sleek, low-maintenance surface that complements the clean lines of mid-century design.

6. Eco-Friendly Material Choices

Sustainability is a major consideration in modern renovations. For mid-century homes, using materials that reflect the era’s appreciation for nature while meeting today’s environmental standards is key:

  • Recycled Glass Tiles: These can be used for backsplashes or bathroom walls and are available in a variety of colors and finishes.
  • Reclaimed Wood: Ideal for flooring, ceiling beams, or accent walls, reclaimed wood adds warmth and character.
  • Low-VOC Paints: Enhance the indoor air quality of your home by using paints that emit fewer volatile organic compounds.

7. Bathroom Modernization

Custom master bathroom renovation with hidden stacked washer and dryer. Renovation by Brent Swift + SwiftCo in Norman, Oklahoma. Purpose is to show our quality of work.
Home renovation in Norman, Oklahoma, by SwiftCo.

Updating a mid-century bathroom with modern fixtures can significantly increase both its functionality and aesthetic appeal. 

  • Floating Vanities: These can make the space feel larger and more open, a core principle of mid-century design. 

  • Frameless Glass Shower Enclosures: A modern touch that enhances the visual flow and simplicity of the bathroom.
  • Retro-Tiled Patterns: Using tiles in classic mid-century patterns like hexagons or chevrons can maintain the vintage feel while using modern materials. 

8. Enhance Outdoor Living Spaces

Custom pergola and outdoor living space by Brent Swift + SwiftCo in Norman, Oklahoma. Purpose is to show our quality of work.
Pergola and outdoor living space by SwiftCo.

Mid-century homes often feature strong connections to their outdoor spaces. Enhancing these areas with modern landscaping and comfortable outdoor living options can extend the livable space of your home:

  • Modern Decking: Composite materials offer durability and minimal maintenance.
  • Sculptural  and Functional Features: Add a functional focal point that aligns with the geometric aesthetic of mid-century design by adding a pergola, fire pit, or fire place for outdoor entertaining.
  • Seamless Transitions: Use large sliding or folding glass doors to create a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. 

Get inspired by our portfolio of Outdoor Living Space projects.

Integrating modern upgrades into a mid-century home requires a delicate balance of preserving the past while embracing the future. By choosing the right materials, technologies, and designs, you can enhance the functionality of your home without sacrificing its architectural integrity. 

Ready to Transform Your Ordinary Home Into a Mid-Century Modern Masterpiece?

Are you ready to breathe new life into your mid-century modern home with thoughtful, modern upgrades? Contact SwiftCo today for professional advice and tailored solutions that respect the unique character of your home while enhancing its comfort and functionality. Whether you’re in Norman or anywhere in Central Oklahoma, we’re here to help you achieve a seamless blend of classic and contemporary in your home renovation. Check out our portfolio of past projects and find the inspiration you need to begin your renovation journey  with SwiftCo, your trusted local renovation experts.