Tips to remodel your 1950s home exterior without spoiling its retro style

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How to remodel a 50s home

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

Don’t spoil the looks when you remodel your 1950s home: Advice from 1959

Whether you’re remodeling or building, follow a simple, straightforward style. Your house will look better and cost less.

A house should look like what it does. Ornament and decoration that are consistent with the overall house design make it handsome and warm.

But unnecessary ornaments, mixed architectural styles, and the use of too many materials cost money, and spoil the looks of your house.

In Victorian days, gingerbread, spires, and steeples were a sign of social prestige. Today we’re a little wiser.

1950s home remodel

Now, well-planned space comes first. Even though most of our houses have never seen an architect’s drawing board, the pace at which we live has brought about a more straightforward design that gives us lower material, labor, and maintenance costs and achieves the most efficient use of the space we’ve paid for.

For a 1950s style home remodel: Eat gingerbread, don’t build with it

Often called “Hansel and Gretel,” “Chalet-type,” or “American-Swiss,” this house is heavily ornamented with scalloped fascia boards, dovecotes, window boxes, and diamond-cut shutter and door panels.

MORE: 27 old-fashioned wood porch bracket designs

This sort of millwork is expensive; as ornament, it is precious and overdone and adds nothing to the usefulness of the house.

How to remodel without spoiling your home's 1950s style (1)

Right house — wrong porch

Many colonial houses can be adapted for use today. But, if you want it to be authentic, don’t ruin the looks and sense of your house by mixing different historical, styles.

ALSO SEE: Post-war housing: See 35 small starter homes from the ’40s & ’50s

This New England saltbox has a Southern colonial porch tacked to it that prevents sunlight from entering the rooms and is out of proportion to the house.

How to remodel without spoiling your home's 1950s style (2)

ALSO SEE: What did a typical 1950s suburban house look like? Feast your eyes on this fab prefab home built in 1958

The patchwork-quilt look

Too many building materials on the outside of a house, such as this combination of brick, stone, shingles, and vertical boards, break up the exterior into little patches that confuse the overall design.

Building materials are used to support and decorate the total structure, and they should not be considered as a separate design element.

How to remodel without spoiling your home's 1950s style (3)

MORE: 130 vintage ’50s house plans used to build millions of mid-century homes we still live in today

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