4 Ways to Upgrade an Old Homestead

Reader Contribution by Bobbi Peterson
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Home improvement projects do not pertain to urban homeowners alone. In fact, those of us who aim to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle are in a constant state of improvement and upgrade. If you’ve owned your property for some time, or are purchasing a used homestead, here are four improvements and upgrades to consider making.

Remodel the Kitchen

As one of the center points of any domicile, the kitchen usually plays host to family and friends throughout the day as a source of food, entertainment and general familial congregation. It’s one of the best locations to begin your upgrades, and can set the tone for the entire improvement project. Getting your new kitchen right will automatically increase the value of your entire home, making it a worthy investment. Most kitchens are inherently fully functional at the start, leaving quality and style as the necessary focus of your renovations.

Painting the walls to lighten the area and brighten the mood can serve as a logical and simple first step. Upgrading your kitchen with power-saving or environmentally friendly appliances can save you money on your utility bills and make better use of green energy alternatives. Besides the modernization choices, there are aesthetic choices that can upgrade your kitchen. Adding vintage touches to your new cabinets, shelves and other decor preserves the charm of your country life while ensuring lasting use and durability.

Eliminating Plastic From Your Home

Once you start paying attention, you’ll begin to notice how many plastic items you have in your home. While plastic bins can serve your storage needs well, the best materials to ensure lasting use and durability are quality wood, stone, metal and glass. Counters, appliances, shelving, drawers, chests and the like that are made from quality elements last longer than their plastic counterparts. Also, they serve the décor and aesthetic mood of your home and lifestyle well.

Even your tools and work items such as buckets and piping are probably made of plastic. Wood and metal tools will make your field and farm work more efficient, increase productivity and lead to greater output. Even something as simple as trading in that plastic rake you use to gather up fallen leaves for a quality metal version can make a difference in your daily life.


Upgrading your homestead does not only mean renovations and replacements. One of the best ways to upgrade an old homestead includes pushing the boundaries of the land outward or adding new elements to your crop rotation. Some homesteaders cut the trees of the surrounding forest or wood to increase the territory available to livestock for grazing, but additional space can serve for construction and building purposes, as well.

One way to incorporate both elements is the construction of a greenhouse or planting towers. A greenhouse allows for more exotic crop options that aren’t common on other farms. A planting tower gives you vertical planting options, taking up less space per square inch, while increasing the number of crops you can grow at a time.

Upgrade Machines and Home Technology

From farmers to ranchers to survivalists and environmentalists, tools and technology are essential for self-sufficiency. Modern-day machinery, especially for farmhands and workers, have gone through an eco-friendly redesign. Many of the machines used in the field now run on farm waste and other biodegradable materials, instead of fossil fuels. Upgrading your work machines will not only reduce your carbon footprint further, but can also save on purchasing new attachments or replacement parts.

Lastly, you can upgrade your home computer, televisions and other technology items to give your farmhouse a modernized country look. It’s a style that contrasts nicely with the rural design and atmosphere of country living when done well.

Modern Country Living

Country living does not mean an outdated lifestyle. You can live comfortably and well with a modern standard of living that benefits yourself, your family and the environment. Look for other opportunities to improve your surroundings while maintaining a rural way of life.

Bobbi Peterson is an environmental blogger who started the blog Living Life GreenFollow Bobbi on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Read all of Bobbi’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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