Home renovation

Home improvement projects surge as more Chicago-area residents work and stay home amid COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) — Home repairs and renovations are booming right now as people spend more time indoors, but high demand is creating new challenges for people looking to spruce up their spaces.

Many of us are spending more time inside our homes than ever before. This inspires many people to finally take on the home projects they have been putting off for years.

“I kind of took that period of time to settle in and notice the things that I didn’t like as much,” said Kelly Dorfman, who has been working from home in her West Loop condo since March. “The bathroom is definitely an eyesore for me.”

She said she couldn’t take it anymore, so she hired interior designer Lindsay Fink Dewolf to help her makeover her bathroom.

“We’ve all been stuck at home staring at our own four walls and focusing on the things we don’t like about them, and I think people are just fed up with everything they watch,” said said Dewolf.

Dewolf said kitchens and bathrooms are the most common renovation requests.

“The other day a client called me to tell me that he had been ignoring his bathroom for years and that he no longer went to the office, it drove him crazy because he looked at it every day” , said Dewolf. “That, on top of that, we don’t spend our extra dollars on travel and eating out, so those disposable dollars are going to make our homes look better now.”

But some projects have become more difficult in the pandemic due to shortages and backorders.

Experts said cuts, layoffs and a reduced workforce could lead to delays on items such as furniture, appliances, kitchen and bathroom materials.

Some contractors are even seeing a shortage of wood, which could mean price increases.

“Lumber is extremely expensive now. Before the pandemic, a regular 2-by-4 cost me about $2.20. Now that same 2-by-4 costs almost six dollars,” said Camille Johnson Marcus Johnson of Lotus Home Improvement.

The Johnsons said owners should Follow these important steps before starting a home renovation with a contractor:

  • Do your research, get references, and see what your contractor’s job looks like in person;
  • Have backup options in case the product or materials you want are delayed or out of stock;
  • Always sign a contract;
  • and communicate with your contractor to make sure you’re both on the same page.
  • Meanwhile, Dorfman is happy that the bathroom she once hated is now a room she loves.

    “I love it,” she said. “I open my eyes and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is my bathroom.'”

    Home renovations can be expensive, but if you’re looking to spruce up your home without breaking the bank, try these affordable options:

  • Turn off the handles on your kitchen or bathroom cabinets to make the room stand out;
  • Add new pillows to your sofa to add color to your living room;
  • Try swapping your area rugs;
  • and add small plants or flowers to breathe new life into the room.
  • Sometimes subtle changes can make a big difference.

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