Home Decorating & Improvement Projects I am Planning for 2021

Here we are on the other side of the holiday season and in the year 2021. If New Year’s Day didn’t land on a Friday I would have been back posting on January 2nd. The weekend was an added bonus to our holidays. :-)

Now that it is the first business day after New Year’s Day, it is time for me to get back at it.

Taking time off always renews me and gets my brain fueled with new ideas, especially knowing that HOME has taken on more purposes and meaning than ever before.

Although we’ve said goodbye to 2020, its challenges didn’t go away at the stroke of midnight on January 1st. In my home I still am in control and can make it as comfy cozy as I can for the uncertain times we are living in.

As I redefine my surroundings to fit into how 2020 changed how I do a few things, I will be making a few changes for my everyday needs.

For instance, when I updated my kitchen island to make it work even better to make it easier to do daily tasks. Function first – then styled and pretty. :-)

I love when I look around my house, it’s hard to find an area where there isn’t something I spend time working on with my hands as a way to put my personal stamp on my surroundings.

This makes my home feel just right for Ed and I – not overly styled… just cozy and our own.

I thought I would share the projects that I have on my 2021 “To-Do” list with you.

Some are small and will be done in a few days time. Others will take more time and will be ongoing and will be part of an ongoing series as we complete them.

But first I have to get organized. This won’t take me too long since I keep on top of clutter by editing what I no longer use or like frequently. I am starting the year by donating the things I no longer need. It is what I plan to do right after I post this post. :-)

Home Decorating & Improvement Projects I Am Planning

Chalkboard wall in kitchen
  1. Add a Plate Wall in the Kitchen – As much as I enjoy drawing on the chalkboard wall that I created on the narrow wall in-between my kitchen and living room, I love my collection of white platters even more. One of my first projects will be transforming this wall to a plate rack wall.
How to paint faux finishes. Faux zinc kitchen table

2. New Table Top for My Kitchen Table – I have been searching for a new larger round kitchen table for some time. I have found many that I like, especially a few that have removable leaves, but the cost is out of the question.

I shared how I changed the top of the table in these posts – table covering that looks like wood and faux zinc, but even though I liked both of these – we need a larger table.

So we are going to keep the existing base that I like as it is classic in design and in contrast to all the wood in the room. I will remove the 4-foot round top and replace it with a 5-foot round top that we make from stock lumber.

I would like the finish to look like this table.

3. Add a New Covering on the Wall Behind the Table – Right now the window wall by the kitchen table has textured wallpaper. I would like to see more texture on the wall and am considering adding white horizontal panels or a grid wall.

Game room closet makeover before

4. Transform This Storage Closet – This closet is in the game room that at one time was a bedroom that needed a clothes rod in the closet that we don’t use.

What we do need is a highly organized closet for a range of misc. items from the overstock of paper and canned goods, board games to family photos. I am thinking something like this closet.

Exterior & Outdoor Projects

front entry of house

5. Add Front Porch Railing – Since we removed the shrubs in front of the porch when we had the house painted, we need to add railings, not only for safety, but for overall curb appeal. In keeping with the modern vibe of this side of the house we are going to use cable railing.

I have been doing a lot of research and reading how-to’s to figure out the best way to proceed and what power tools we may need. I figure we can start once the weather warms up which will be around mid March.

Where I plan to add a kitchen garden

6. Kitchen Garden – We have already started this and hope to have a few raised beds ready for spring planting. I took this photo late yesterday afternoon when the area was in the shade. We have removed shrubs and are in the process of lengthening an existing French drain near the area.

Project I Am Dreaming About

inspiration photo of kitchen addition I like

This most likely isn’t going to happen this year unless I win the lottery, but both Ed and I are serious about expanding the kitchen with an addition that looks like the open and airy space in the above photo.

We have a very small kitchen that we are content with, but it is tight and we get in the way of each other all the time when working in the space.

We are going to research costs and meet with an architect/builder to see what could be done.

DIY Decor

I always enjoy creating pretty things and will be sharing them as I make new items to decorate the house all through the year.

Your Projects

I receive hundreds of decorating questions every year and answer them directly to the reader.

It dawned on me that my responses to many of these questions are problems that many readers may have.

So starting this month, I will be sharing a reader decorating question and my response in a blog post. This will also open up the conversation in the comments where other readers can offer ideas that will in turn help all of us.

My Blogging Goal

My main goal here on the blog though is to continue to remind and inspire you to nurture the spaces that help make you live your best life possible.

Having a warm and well-kept home can enhance your life and we could all use a little more of this.

My 2021 decorating plan is simple:

  • Embrace and then add what I LOVE – If something makes you smile and feel good, make it yours!!! Find a way to add it and then enjoy it every single day.
  • Change What I Can – Re-purpose and use what you have to change things up. (I will be sharing how I just did just this to refresh my fireplace mantel decor for the winter months.)
  • Don’t Worry What Others Think – It is your house afterall! Do it – In Your Own Style!

What would you like to see me post more about for 2021? After blogging for 11 years, I have covered a lot, but I know you may be looking to find out how to do something in particular. Let me know in the comments.

XO – Diane

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42 Comments

  1. I have a number of lovely white canisters (mismatched) that I have collected and I love to use them for flour, sugar etc. The problem I’m having and I’m not sure there is a solution, though I’m hoping you have one, is how to “replace” or fix the rubber stoppers that keep the lids on nice and snug. Any suggestions would be so appreciated. PS Love your home.

    1. Hi Barb – I am not sure what sizes your canisters are, but you can buy replacements. You can check out a few here: https://amzn.to/2NeQpaY

      If you can’t find the right type or size, then I would head to the home improvement store and go to the weather-stripping aisle. There are a few different types. Some are rubber, others foam. Many have sticky backs which would cutting them to the size needed and make adding them to your canisters easy. If they don’t have a sticky back you can use hot glue to attach the cut lengths to your canisters.

      Another option would be to see if thick rubber bands like the kind they put on produce like asparagus could be attached to the lids.

  2. Not looking for anything, in terms of projects, but, given ALL you’ve done over the relatively short time in your lake house, wondered if you’ve given thought to a blog post dedicated to your fave projects (‘hits’) as well as mentions of your least faves (‘misses’)…perhaps things you’d’ve done differently. And, at the same time, ask readers to chime in on their top picks (thumbs up) and perhaps ones that didn’t strike their fancy (thumbs down).

  3. Diane, after ready your post and the comments that followed I quickly realized you are a “hero” to a lot more people than just me! you are an incredibly gifted person with vision and determination to make a house a home. thank you so much for giving inspiration to ones like me who has ideas but just cant seem to be able to work out the details
    I really enjoy your blog… it is a high light to my day!! hope all your plans come together to your satisfaction. happy 2021!

  4. Wow, amazing information. I love your thoughts, ideas, and creativity. At this time I don’t have anything to add to your fabulous ideas. I love your plan. Give me some time to think, and I am sure I will have more to add.
    Happy 2021

  5. Hi Diane,

    I would like to see your studioffice and ideas on how to incorporate a smallish art area or craft work area, maybe added to a guest room. Other chronic problem areas in my house are decor storage, and the laundry room. How do I organize all that?

    Happy New Year to you! I appreciate your blog so much and look forward to your ideas.

  6. I am excited about your plans and look forward to seeing them unfold. I’m especially interested in what you plan to do with the kitchen wall. I’m always looking for simple and easy to DIY wall treatments that make a big impact. And, your closet remake will be nice to see too. Thank you for sharing, Diane!

    1. Hi Sharon – Thanks for the nice note. I have been wanting to add a wall treatment to the kitchen wall for sometime. I want to keep it white, but by adding a textured treatment with wood, it should make it have more impact. Now I just have to decide which wood treatment to go with. :-) So many options.

  7. I look forward to all your posts, and I have searched quite a few things as well from your wonderful inventory! I want to transform my basement bar area into my craft area. It is a classic 1980s bar complete with the actual bar itself and the drawers and cabinets behind it are finished in thick coats of polyurethane that are way too yellow for my taste. I am thinking of painting the drawers and cabinets a gray color as well as the bottom part of the bar. That leaves me with the bar top, and although I would love to remove it, that’s not an option. My dilemma is 2-fold: 1) what are some products that can go on top of the bar and 2) what does the prep entail? It is a very nice area for my crafting, and I am also trying to organize everything into the area as logical as I can…but I have no idea what to do with the top. Any suggestions would be great! Thank you!

    1. Hi Teka – What a great way to repurpose a bar area in a home. It sounds like a perfect set up for you. When you paint the cabinets be sure to sand and use a gripping primer before painting. A thin coat or two will ensure your paint will adhere well.

      How big is the top? Maybe place a hollow core door over the existing top or get a piece of plywood cut to size and paint it. You could secure it from underneath with an angle iron or a decorative wood brace or bracket.

      If I think of anything else I will let you know. Enjoy your new crafting space.

  8. Diane,

    I love all of your decorating plans for 2021, but your plans for a kitchen addition are GORGEOUS !!
    While it may not happen in 2021, I have no doubt that you will add that beautiful room in the not too
    distant future. Look at what you’ve already accomplished at your lake house !! You have the remarkable ability and confidence to imagine, plan, and execute your amazing ideas.

    Wishing you the very best in 2021 !!

    Noel

    1. Hi Noel – Thank you for the nice note. Adding on is still a dream, but my mind for ways to add on to the kitchen are filling my mind. I hope we can make the project happen.

  9. So excited to see some of your projects! I’ve got a wall I’m thinking about using wall covering on so can’t wait to see what you do! Also have a decorating dilemma that I’d love your input on!
    You’re so organized to have a plan for projects all year. I’m envious!

  10. Your posts are always an inspiration to me. I don’t know how you manage to do so much on top of all that most women do just to maintain a household. I am curious if you have a housekeeper or a virtual assistant to help manage all the details of your life and business. Or am I just being nosey?

    1. Hi Barbara – :-) Your question made me smile. I wish I had a housekeeper, but never have. Between Ed and I we each take on a few of the household chores. He cleans the bathrooms and does the wash. Huge help. I take care of the kitchen and most of the other chores like vacuuming, dusting, window cleaning etc.

      I do have a virtual assistant who takes care of my Pinterest for me and a blog developer that does the blog tech stuff for me. Other than these two, I do everything myself.

      Since I work from home and am my own boss, I can manage many things in my day since I don’t have to leave the house as many do in a 9-5 job. This alone makes life a little easier.

  11. Hello from Southern Oregon …
    We bought a very large very torn apart repo in 2000 and lived upstairs whilst we worked on the downstairs and then reversed. We had three toddlers and only had a funky, small round outdoor table to use (rest was in storage). Our specialty lumber yard bought some Russian/Slavic wood that came in 6 ftX6ft square pieces. You can imagine we used a string and pencil and cut ourselves a bigger table round that we placed on top of the outdoor table. It was interesting to us because US wood/plywood is only available in 4X8 sheets. We still have the round and use it for outdoor paint projects and yard sales. It used to be really pretty finish plywood but now resembles a very poor Jackson Pollock DIY. Just FYI. Can’t wait to see your projects…

    1. Hi Kimberly – Your table sounds fantastic – functional, pretty and well-used and loved. Best kind of piece to have. I like your description of what it looks like now. I can see it perfectly in my head… a Jackson Pollock DIY. :-)

  12. Really looking forward to what you do for the front railing. Your updates to the front look like an architect made them!
    Carol H.

    1. Hi Carol – What a nice compliment – thank you. I have to thank searches on Pinterest and in magazines for finding ideas on how I could update the exterior on budget without too much work. :-)

  13. Happy 2021!!!
    I’m excited to see the plate wall and curious what you’ll do with the wall behind your table.
    I do think the cable railing will look nice on your front porch and I’m looking forward to seeing it as well :)
    So glad that you’re putting in a raised bed garden ?

      1. have a raised garden, but, some lg glazed pots for herbs, basil, chives, lemon thyme, sm cherry tomato.
        I like to cook with the herbs, makes a big difference in salad & they look so nice in pots.

  14. I’d really appreciate the help to embrace and nurture my space. We bought our fixer-upper the same year you bought your lakefront home and I’ve been overwhelmed by it.

    1. Hi Jen – Buying a fixer upper can be overwhelming. It takes a lot of time, money and work. I have been able to get a lot done since it is my job and I make my living doing projects on a daily basis. Most people have other jobs and can’t update on a full-time basis. Try to figure out a plan, what is most important and go one project at a time to make the house just right for your life and vision.

  15. Such great plans! It might be cool to try your white platters on the chalkboard as a background. You could put those Tripar disc adhesive hangers on your platters and just put them up to see if you like it. ( I find the discs at the local antique mall. ) I bet it would look stunning ! Thanks for all you teach us ?

    1. Hi Lyn – I thought about keeping the chalkboard as the backdrop for my white platters and plates, but in my vision and clippings I like the white on white look. I measured the wall last night and laid out my platters on the floor that I taped off to the size so I could see how many shelfs I would need. Off to buy the wood now. Thanks for reading my blog.

  16. I enjoy your projects and have read your blog for a long time. My favorite has been your kitchen countertop and similar types where you take something that could be incredibly expensive but you come up with a beautiful, yet affordable solution! Regarding the table, my parents used to have a plywood topper that was hinged in the middle. That way they would pull it out of storage when they had company (mom had a big table cloth) and the rest of the time it would be a regular sized table. Your kitchen plan sounds wonderful!

  17. Just a thought on your dining table situation. Perhaps a thrifted or craigslist or … round table could be found that you could use the top as your replacement. Then you can upcyle it to match your inspiration. I have been unimpressed with my efforts as creating round tops out of stock lumber so this option will be my next try. Looking forward to all of your projects. Still working up the list for our projects.

    1. Hi Chris – That is a great idea! Thanks for taking the time to share it. I am going to start searching on Craigslist this afternoon. It would be a lot easier to find what I am looking for instead of making it. :-)

  18. I love the wall plate rack idea, it’s going to look so pretty!! Looking forward to you answering a reader’s question!

  19. I love your inspiration photos.
    Can you link me to the blog post where you say the area you choose to live and how you decided on that area.
    Your posts are always so near and dear to my heart. Thank you for all your inspiration!!

  20. You’ve got some fun ideas there and I look forward to seeing the progress. If you ever do a post answering questions, I have one that has me kind of stumped. My husband and I are in our mid-sixties and have come to the conclusion that we should probably get twin beds (a la Lucy and Ricky). I am at a loss as to how to make them look like adults sleep in them and not pre-teen boys. Our room is not huge and budget is a consideration. We’re both handy and I’d be OK with refinishing headboards because upholstery may not be the way to go. Mentally, I just can’t get past the maple twin beds of the 60’s. Not in a hurry, but probably sometime in 2021 we’ll switch over.
    Thanks much and Happy New Year.

    1. Hi PJ –

      To make the beds look adult like and more up to date. Here is an idea to get you thinking.

      You could create one long headboard that goes across the expanse of the wall where the beds are placed with a modular table in between the beds. Hotels sometimes do this.

      On the outer side of the beds you could place night tables and mount swing arm lamps that are part of the long headboard. This long headboard could be stained or painted wood, upholstered plywood, a row of doors… whatever fits your decorating style.

      Creating one long all-in-one-look with the headboard and beds will make the twin beds feel more chic.

  21. Game changer purchases.
    These don’t have to be DIY related.
    It can be anything you purchased be it skin care products or home cleaning products or
    maybe kitchen products or organizers.
    You always seem to have it together and I would love to see what items you have purchased that have enhanced your life or made it easier in some way. Even if you bought something at a thrift store and repurposed it…..you always seem to have a vision for things that some of us don’t.

    1. Hi Deb – I smiled when I read that you think I have it all together. :-) XO Thank you for the suggestion for Game Changers. You are not the only reader who has asked for more of shares like this so I will add more. I enjoy sharing the good stuff that I find and will do more of it on the blog going forward.

  22. No this isn’t really answering your question, but I’m really looking forward to the plate wall, because I have a little wall I want to do the same thing on.