For a lot of people, there has been a deep desire for improvement — personal, physical and mental — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Canadians have been looking inward and practicing self-care, searching for a more relaxed mental state, while others have made a routine of 15-minute workout videos streamed on YouTube for the physical benefits.
But after a year-and-a-half of looking at the same blank walls, sitting at the uneven kitchen table-turned-workspace and standing dejectedly in a shower that turns cold after five minutes, people are looking for a different kind of improvement: home renovations.
According to a survey by TD Bank, more than one-third of Canadians are planning big home renovations or repairs to accommodate their new lifestyles.
Considering the “new normal” includes many people continuing to work from home, experts have shared some tips and hacks for people looking to renovate their spaces.
Keren Milman, the owner and project manager of Milman Design Build in Toronto, recommends turning your garage into a usable space (for more than just a parked car).
Some of her clients have turned their garage into a home gym, set up a small yoga studio, or are using it as their workstations.
“If you have kids at home, it can be used for a quiet space,” she says.
This multi-purpose-room concept can expand into your basement or attic, which can be for more than just storage, she adds.
“People are looking to add more living space in their home,” says Milman. She adds that you can also achieve this by closing part of your backyard to create a sunroom.
One of the biggest priorities Milman has noticed is renovations for the kitchen.
“People are cooking and eating a lot more in their homes,” she says.
Ty Pennington, a designer, carpenter and star of HGTV Canada’s Ty Breaker, recently told The Morning Show we can say goodbye to the all-white kitchen, which can be hard to clean and can look a bit “sterile.”
Painting your cabinets or island and adding colour to your bar stools and light fixtures can help liven up the space, he says.
“It’s refreshing to finally start seeing some colour come back in,” he adds.
Similarly, Milman recommends adding more green, two-tones and floral wallpaper (as an accent wall), to embrace a more natural setting.
Cottagecore is another trend that has emerged, which consists of a romanticized, rural or agricultural aesthetic.
Pennington says you can achieve this vibe by adding dry flowers, incorporating monochromatic colours and creating texture through worn furniture.
“Cottagecore nostalgia is that need for comfort,” he says, adding that it’s a nod to simpler times.
Another way to add texture to your home is by expressing it through your walls, says Pennington. Specifically, adding a Venetian plaster wall, weeded walls, wicker, or using a reeding and fluting finish will add dimension.
He adds that the price of wall finishes can vary, but some renovations can even be done yourself, he adds. “(But) practice before you make it permanent.”
Milman says that since many people have had a lot of time on their hands, finding ideas on Pinterest and watching them come to life can benefit your home space and can become a new hobby.
For some backyard hacks, DIY expert Jennifer Tryon recommends reupholstering your patio furniture with a darker fabric so that dirt and grime don’t show.
Using a sewing machine or velcro, pin the fabric with the cushion inside so you can achieve a snug fit and from there, use a sewing machine or velcro, she says.
If sewing isn’t your strong suit, you can also use an outdoor fabric spray paint which can be a simple and effective revamp.
“It’s a cute way to just give new life (to your furniture) if you don’t sew,” she says. “And honestly, the difference between the before and after is pretty great when you’re just looking to quickly and easily spruce something up without throwing it out.”
For renovations outside of your DIY capabilities, landscaping your house with more plants can be an inexpensive addition.
For more tips and trends for home renovations, watch the full video above.