This article was reprinted with permission from NerdWallet.
After a year of spending more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many homeowners are looking for ways to adapt their homes to their new surroundings. Open floor plans are out; There are special rooms for remote work and learning. Courtyards are being turned into entertainment rooms and walls are being repainted. At the same time, heightened demand and safety concerns can make the remodeling process much longer than before.
Here are five trends to watch out for this 2021 home remodeling season.
1. A focus on dedicated spaces
In early 2020, “the most requested design concept was open space,” said Jimmy Dollman, director of Dollman Construction in Roanoke, Virginia. “But now we have different effects on design because everyone’s living conditions have changed.”
Dollman notes that remote workers and learners need privacy and tranquility. “A year ago, it was rare for a family member to work from home,” he says. “Now, [parents] and kids find it difficult to get their jobs done because the open design makes noise. “
This year, expect homeowners to spend less time tearing down walls to open up common areas and more time converting open spaces or corners into dedicated spaces. This could mean adding a home office or a home theater, for example, or turning a corner into a distance learning room.
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2. Create space for home offices
Doug King, owner of King Contracting, a St. Petersburg, Florida design-build company and president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, says “Homeowners Don’t Add Living Space.” “Rather, they take out cabinets that are rarely used, like in the hallway, and move inside walls to make room.”
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The home office trend is not going to go away anytime soon, he notes.
“Even after the pandemic is over,” says King, “many people will still work from home.” Because of this trend, the use of home technology is also increasing as households install, for example, Ethernet cables for computer networks and Bluetooth speakers.
3. More outdoor life
A cure for this feeling of settling in is outdoor living areas.
“People want their backyards to be their oasis,” says King. In his area, he says, pools are the number 1 addition to backyards. Outdoor kitchens and fire pits are the next most popular.
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Homeowners who spend more time at home may also be looking for remodeling projects that offer a nice view of the outside – for example, by installing larger windows or glass doors that let in more natural light.
4. Longer waiting times
Alongside changes in design trends, homeowners can expect the industry to slow down. In some cases, security concerns have changed the way contractors and workers approach projects. For example, Dollman has stopped all work in occupied homes to avoid exposure to COVID-19, “to protect the homeowners and our crews,” he says.
Obtaining permits can also take much longer than usual as demand increases and those approving the permits adapt to new working conditions – at home rather than in the office, or with limited staff, for example.
5. Bold colors
For DIY enthusiasts looking for affordable ways to make rooms more welcoming this year, adding a colorful, fresh coat of paint will likely be high on their list.
A sign that bold colors and color combinations could gain in importance: They were prominently represented among the color of the year 2021 winners announced by brands such as Sherwin Williams, Pantone and Benjamin Moore. Sherwin Williams, for example, chose Urban Bronze (dark brown-gray); Benjamin Moore chose an Aegean teal (a blue-green color); Pantone chose a color duo: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (a shade of gray next to a bright yellow color).
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For homeowners, bold colors like these could be an appealing and inexpensive way to add depth, excitement, and personality to a room without overwhelming it.
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Carol J. Alexander writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected].