Home remodeling during the pandemic became as popular as masks, vaccine debates and sheltering in place.
For many, staying at home meant changes became necessary to keep it interesting instead of staring at the same four walls.
Reports estimated that year-over-year spending on home remodeling rose by nearly 10 percent to $357 billion a year from 2019 through 2021.
But for those who renovated before pandemic-induced lockdowns, the temptation to redo the renovation came with other costs.
Specifically, some spent more money to renovate all over again.
Shawn and Ameena Franklin completed an entire renovation of their Palmer Park, Maryland home in December 2019.
In a room vacated by their daughter months earlier, the Franklins installed an office complete with dual computers, a fax machine, file cabinets and a projector and screen for power-point presentations.
COVID-19 came shortly after, forcing their daughter back home.
“It was a renovation we decided on way too soon,” said Shawn Franklin, whose daughter, Ayesha, hit hard times and returned home like so many others.
“We had put so much in that room and we only have a two-bedroom home, so we had to re-renovate and the $5,500 we spent kind of went to waste,” Ameena Franklin stated.
The Franklins aren’t the only ones who regret their pre-pandemic renovations.
Marc and Emily Gethers said they spent more than $75,000 redoing their basement, installing a bar, luxury lounge chairs, a game room and a 90-inch television with movie theater sound.
“We thought it would be great to entertain but COVID hit and that meant that we wouldn’t have guests or family in our home,” Emily Gethers said.
As year three of the pandemic begins, Marc Gethers said they still haven’t entertained in their new and expensive surroundings.
“As it turns out, especially when you consider other needs during the pandemic, we regret such an expensive makeover and now we’re in the process of having to do another renovation,” he remarked.
Reed Johnson Jackson, a professional interior designer at Jackson Tile Installation, said he has heard a lot of stories about regrets from clients after renovating their kitchens.
“Most of the regrets are actually not on what was the design or remodeled, rather on how individuals completed the work,” Jackson said. “Since most of the jobs were DIYs during the pandemic lockdowns, some tile installations, for instance, were not done right and have caused problems with leakages or durability.”
“I think the remodeling they did pre-pandemic is still relevant to today’s reality. It was the execution and proper use of materials that needed correcting.”
Stacy Lewis, an interior designer at Eternity Modern, an online store that specializes in mid-century modern furniture and décor, added that a renovation isn’t something that most would want to do twice in a span of just a few years.
“It isn’t just about the cost. It’s all the stress that comes with the project,” Lewis said. “When you’ve spruced up your home just before the pandemic, chances are you’ll be stuck with what you have for at least five years.”
Lewis added that crying over spilled milk also isn’t helpful.
“What’s left to do is to try to make the most of what’s already been done,” she asserted. “As the owner, it is up to you to acknowledge and appreciate the outcome of the renovation. It’s what validates it. If you shift your mindset to see the good in what has already been done, then you need no approval from anyone else.”