Traditional Korean Hanoks with Modern Makeovers |
These Traditional Korean Hanoks Received a Modern Makeover

These Traditional Korean Hanoks Received a Modern Makeover

Tradition meets modernity - and it's a match!

Written by – Team
on July 25th 2017
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Have you ever stayed in a hanok?


Traditional Korean homes are called hanoks or chosun houses. Dating back from the beginning of the 14th century, these beautiful buildings are more often known for their slanting roofs that mimic the gorgeous slopes of the countryside’s hills.


If you’ve been to South Korea, you will easily understand the hype for hanok homes among tourists. After all, these homes are a great way to explore the country’s rich cultural heritage. But even contemporary interior designers have taken an interest in the unique structure and natural materials used within hanoks. Luckily, there’s plenty of room to develop sustainable hanoks with a modern twist, due to the increasing popularity of eco-friendly architecture.


Here, we explore our favorite hanoks that have been re-imagined for modern times. Let’s take a look at the stunning transformation of these homes.

Traditional Korean Hanoks: Exterior of an exquisite Korean hanok with signature tiled roof and wood beams |

An Art Historian’s Home

Dr. Kim, a dedicated art historian, had this hanok transformed to fit the times, careful to retain the distinct characteristics that make it a hanok. From the outside, this hanok in Seoul looks like a house straight from the past. You can also see the gorgeous wooden patio that opens to a fresh garden filled with earthy elements. We especially love the tranquil atmosphere – perfect for contemplative days.

Traditional Korean Hanoks: Exterior of a beautiful Korean hanok with wood balcony and soothing earthy courtyard |
Traditional Korean Hanoks: Bright interior of a modernized hanok with wood and clear white details |

Inside, the home features pitched ceilings made with exposed wooden beams. These beams connect the indoors with the outdoors. We love the blend of the white walls and light wooden shades that add an air of zen around the space. The furniture pieces consist of sleek edges and clean finishes. However, they remain close to the floor and retain neutral colors consistent with the overall look of the home.

Traditional Korean Hanoks: Interior of a modernized hanok with rich wooden rafters, a thick wood dining table and ambient yellow lighting |

A Fresh New Start

This hanok is located in the heart of the city. It was renovated to serve as both residence and home office for the owners. The designers did an amazing job in preserving the traditional structure of the house. At the same time, the designers aimed to create a space that centered on the functionality of the home.

Traditional Korean Hanoks: Courtyard area of a modernized Korean hanok with black framed doors and traditional roof and floor tiling |
Traditional Korean Hanoks: Interior of a modernized hanok with a dining area, dark chairs, wooden rafters and traditional spoons as wall decor |

The use of glass screens and dark toned dining room chairs give the home a more contemporary feel. Notice the use of traditional spoons as wall decor behind the modern dining space, creating a fusion of past and present. Bookcases have also been built-in to allow for more storage space in the room. The room retains traditional elements such as windows and doors.

Traditional Korean Hanoks: Interior of a modernized hanok with dining area, dark chairs, and wooden shelves |

Cherry Blossom House

Wanting to get away from the hustle of the city, a retired businessman sought the help of TRU Architects. Together, they aspired to create a spacious home that allowed for plenty of interaction with the outdoors. The resulting modern home is surrounded by cherry blossom trees that bloom every April. It was designed with the spirit of traditional hanoks in mind; indeed, the home is faithful to the slanted roofs of traditional hanoks, as well as the open patio for easy afternoons.

Traditional Korean Hanoks: Exterior of a hanok-inspired modern home with thick wood rafters and bright white walls |
Traditional Korean Hanoks: Interior of a hanok-inspired modern home with thick wood rafters and bright white walls |

Contrary to the low-pitched ceilings of traditional hanoks, the Cherry Blossom house features a raised ceiling that allows for an observation deck from the second floor. We love the minimal white interiors that emit a harmonious flow of energy around the home. See more of the home .

Stylish Hanok with Vibrant Interiors

When architect Simone Carena and fashion designer Jihye Shin were looking to move in 2007, they knew they wanted to live in a traditional hanok home. But buying an old home meant that the property needed a major revamp, especially fixing leaky roofs. The couple decided to give the home a stylish refresh, and they began with eye-catching green interiors.

Traditional Korean Hanoks: Courtyard area of a modernized Korean hanok with wood-heavy fittings and lime green interiors |

The ceiling still features exposed wooden beams, but plenty of modern adjustments have been added to the home. For instance, a ceiling fan was installed to maximize air flow around the room. Meanwhile, a storage system sits facing the recessed bed. Check out the rest of the home .

Mixing the Old with the New

This home nods to the traditional hanok structure with its pagoda-like roof and wooden windows. On the other hand, red bricks on the exterior provide a unique twist.

Traditional Korean Hanoks: Spacious courtyard area of a modernized Korean hanok with signature wood beams and curved roof |

Designed by Guga Urban Architecture, this modern hanok is home to a family who wanted to escape the density of the city. They wanted their new home to have a peaceful garden, as well as plenty of space for the kids.

Traditional Korean Hanoks: Open air modern living room area of a Korean hanok looking out onto a traditional courtyard |

The kitchen and dining area are surprisingly modern; you’d almost forget that the home is part hanok! From the inside, the courtyard seems like an illusion of the past, yet remains accessible from large glass screens. We love how the courtyard retains an air of privacy but still provides plenty of connection with nature. Have a look at the rest of the home .

Traditional Korean Hanoks: A modern wood-heavy living room area in a Korean hanok with a view out to a traditional courtyard |

What do you think? Would you enjoy living in a hanok home? Let us know in the comments. We recently wrote about tropical Philippine home decor, you can check it out here.


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