What You Need to Know about Renovating Your Home in 2021

Home renovations are booming right now. No really, booming. Many SF and Oakland designers are up to their ears in projects, and it’s easy to see why. Most people are working from home. Many have kids who are schooling from home. And even if you are working outside of your home, I’m willing to bet that home is your safe place — or you want it to be. 

In other words, everyone is realizing what we’ve known all along: your home plays a huge role in your overall well-being!

I honestly believe this is going to be equally as true in 2021. Even if the world looks semi-normal again this summer, our homes will always be the constant in our lives, the place we seek comfort, relaxation, and joy. 

So, if you’ve been waiting to make some joyful and inspiring changes in your home, 2021 is the time to do it. What would make your family enjoy your home a bit more? Updating your kitchen? Your living spaces? Adding colors and textures that make you smile? 

And how will you do it?

Two Options for Updating Your Home in 2021

The way I see it, there are two ways you could approach updating your home: renovating or refreshing. 

If you decide to renovate, this could include cosmetic updates, additions, or changes to the floor plan. It could involve removing a vanity and installing new tile in the bathroom. It could be a full gut and new installation. For a project of this scope, you’ll usually need a team of professionals to help, usually a designer and their extended team of contractors. 

A cosmetic refresh is much simpler, and usually something you can do on your own. I’ll share some tips further down.

This bathroom was large but outdated space when we arrived... and a fun, refreshing place to be after we left! 

Option 1: Renovating

If you decide to renovate, there are some things you should know first. COVID-19 hasn’t completely changed how we renovate homes, but it has certainly changed how long it takes

How is COVID-19 Impacting Renovation Timelines?

Increased Demand for Professional Services

The pandemic has prompted many people to renovate their homes, which means designers, architects, and contractors are in higher demand. These professionals are also expected to abide by social distancing standards, meaning crew members can not be working in close proximity and need more time to complete each project’s phases. Scheduling inspections and getting permits also require human attention, so naturally, these are taking longer than usual, as well.

Slower Production & Packed Warehouses

COVID-19 restrictions like social distancing are making many materials harder to get. This is thanks to higher demand, slower production (social distancing), and longer freight times. For example, the cost of wood has increased due to demand, and shipping for any items imported from abroad have greatly increased. Furniture delivery is also severely backlogged due to lower capacity in warehouses. 

A Word of Advice...

...it is truly in your best interest to hire a professional! Having a team that is familiar with COVID restrictions and can navigate these nuances for you will save you so much time and frustration. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be our team! Find an experienced team that specializes in the design you love and let them keep you stress-free.

All the essentials for a dining space, learning space, or work-from-home office space… get inspired by the full transformation here.

How Long Does a Renovation Really Take in 2021?

As I mentioned, things are taking much longer due to the pandemic. Even when we’re all vaccine’d up, I have a feeling it will take at least another 6-12 months for demand to settle back into normalcy. So, how can you judge your project timeline? Good question. 

In my experience, if you take your normal project timeline and add 4 to 6 weeks, that is how long your renovation will take. If you’re thinking, “But Kelly, I don’t even know a normal project timeline,” I’ve got you:

Bathroom Renovations

Normally: 8 to 10 weeks

Now: About 3 months

Kitchen Renovations

Normally:  3 to 4 months

Now: 5 to 6 months

Furnishing a Bedroom or Living Room

Normally: 1 to 2 months without custom items; 3 to 4 months with custom items

Now: 3 to 4 months without custom items; 6+ months with custom items

We recently completed this furnishing project for a client in Walnut Creek. Instead of staring at blank white walls all day, she now has joyful spaces filled with lively color and soothing textures... a very different daily experience and one worth waiting for.

Option 2: Refresh Your Home

Whether you’re waiting on a renovation or postponing one, there are several steps you can take to immediately transform or refresh your existing spaces. Done right, smaller yet impactful updates can completely change the look and the feel of your home. Here are some of my best suggestions...

1. Update Your Bedding

The bedroom is the space where you wind down after a long day and reset for a new one. Great bedding can help you sleep better and promote feelings of comfort, joy, and security. Updating your bedding sounds so simple but it can make a huge difference to your daily quality of life and how much you love your home. 

I suggest investing in high-quality bedding and being very picky about your sheets and inserts. Opt for organic cotton ones. Thread count isn’t important, it’s the materials that are used. To complete your luxury hotel experience at home, layer your sheet with a blanket, a down comforter, some pillows, and you will have a bed that makes you happy for years to come.

Joy Street also offers a bedding refresh service. Reach out to us here to get our selection of luxury sheets and linens.

2. Freshen Up Your Towels

Same concept but in the bathroom. Give yourself an experience that genuinely brings you joy. No one likes a stiff and scratchy material against their skin. Plus, you can visibly see whether your towels are old and worn or soft and fluffy… and I guarantee the latter is going to make you happier.

Same as I suggested for your bedding, 100% cotton is the way to go. 

Soft and inviting… the way towels should be! From our 1920s Tudor Transformation.

3. Add Joyful Color to Your Spaces

Color is an amazing way to transform your home. It can change a room from tired to alive, from drab to inspiring, outdated to relaxing and fresh. Choose an exciting shade that inspires you and add it in key spaces of your home: an accent wall, the back of built-ins, new upholstery. (Color is a little tricky to work with on your own, so feel free to contact us about a consultation, and we can help.)

We transformed this bedroom for our COVID Design Giveaway. Formerly tired and gray, we infused balanced deep, soothing tones with lighter, more joyful ones for a space that feels relaxing yet uplifting.
Or, go the opposite direction with a cool palette warmed up with leather stools and hardwood flooring, like we did in the kitchen of this 1920s Tudor.

4. Get Inspired by Past Trips Abroad

If you’re like me, being grounded in the U.S. has been hard. I love finding inspiration all over the world and incorporating it into my own home and into designs. In most cases (and maybe you’re the same), I’ll bring back something beautiful or interesting with me. 

You could consider redecorating your space around an inspiration piece. You could “shop your house,” moving your past travel finds from one room to another for a fresh look. Or you could create a gallery wall of your favorite places around the world (we recently framed some of our client’s favorite travel photos) as a not-so-subtle reminder that the world is still out there waiting for us. ;)

India is famously known for its variety of patterns and colors. Take a tour through color and time in this blog post I shared from my trip earlier this year.
Last year’s jaunt to Marrakech was a true design muse. The beautiful tiles, hand-made pottery, the fabrics in rich hues. Simply gorgeous!

Whichever route you choose to bring joy and comfort into your home in 2021 — a renovation or some fresh updates — we would love to support you. Book a consultation with us here and let’s create something together.

— Kelly

These might interest you too