How to Renovate in 2021

by | Jun 3, 2021 | Renovation

Lead times are long, raw material pricing is rising, components (like foam and wood) are in short supply, products are being discontinued after being ordered…you get the idea. If you’re wanting to renovate, what can you do to your house now?! Here are some renovation and home improvement ideas for 2021.

Doors/Shutters  |  Swapping out your front door for something more updated, or painting a classic front door a fresh color will completely change your home’s facade. Shutters will also suddenly pop from a new coat of paint in an updated color.
Lighting  |  Updated lighting that is well scaled (please don’t ever put an 8″ tall fixture on your outside) is a game changer for making you fall back in love with your home’s exterior.

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Interior design: Contented Interiors. Photography: Khand Tenney.

Wallpaper  |  Is there any better way to add pizzaz to a space the feels dark or ho-hum?
Lighting  |  Make sure you have a well-scaled fixture with enough spots for bulbs to point in all 4 corners of the area. Consider adding in additional light fixtures if you have a longer entryway.

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Interior design: Contented Interiors. Photography: Khand Tenney.


Architectural Details  |  Adding ceiling beams, casing in an opening to visually distinguish between two spaces in an open layout, and installing taller baseboards or crown moulding are all ways to make your space feel more luxurious and charactered without trying to compete in today’s crazier than crazy real estate market.
Seating  |  If you have an existing high quality chair or sofa (or can find one on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace), consider sending it to the upholsterer for a fluff, stuff, and recovering. You can remove a skirt for a more contemporary look or add character with nail head trim.

Shed  |  Still working from home and need a dedicated work space? Consider a shed built to match your home’s architectural style. Yes, it requires lumbar, but a whole lot less lumbar than if you were to build a new home. You can run electricity to them and have a split unit for air conditioning and heat, or just prop the windows open when the weather is nice. An interior of 8’x6′ is the smallest shed I’d recommend for such a space, with windows on opposite sides to catch cross breezes. Many such sheds can be ordered and delivered by truck. The deliverers can temporarily take down a fence section or two to get the shed positioned just so. 

Painting Tile Floors  |  Hate your tile floors? Consider hiring a decorative artist to come and give them a complete makeover. Just check out Chris Pearson’s work to see what’s possible.

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Interior design: Contented Interiors. Photography: Gordon Gregory.

Professionally Doctored Cabinets  |  Have a cabinet maker come in and extend any short upper cabinets to the ceiling and add in crown or other top moulding. Have new doors made. Have a painter professionally lacquer the cabinets to achieve a factory finish. Does all of this cost $1,000’s? You bet! But guess how much new cabinets cost right now? $10,000’s, with no seeming end to the price increases.


  1. Break up your project into chunks and be OK with it. You are not going to get everything right now and that’s OK! Every improvement is going to benefit you and make life better along the way.
  2. Move furniture, cabinet contents, and even a rooms around. For example, you could make the dining room part library by adding in book cases from another room. You might be able to correct some of the functionality issues you’re experiencing.
  3. Purge. If you’re wanting to renovate, there’s no point in renovating until you know exactly what needs to be kept and stored in a space. Tackle this step before getting hung up on how long your contractor’s waitlist currently is.
  4. Paint the walls a color that doesn’t fight the fixed elements’ undertones. Fixed elements are the elements in a room that can’t be changed (or won’t be changed due to availability, money, etc.)–often these are countertops, floors, and stone. Have granite with a horrible yellow beige undertone, but want a fresher or lighter look? Paint the walls Benjamin Moore’s Navajo White or some other off-white with a yellow undertone. You can’t change the fixed element’s undertone. In order to make it look right, you have to align yourself with it, which means matching the undertone.