Before and After: Wood Renovations for Every Room of the House

It’s no secret that home renovations are on the rise. The National Association of Home Builders predicts that spending on residential improvements will grow at a healthy pace over the next two years, with residents looking to upgrade both the functionality and aesthetic appeal of their home.

For many designers, remodelers and DIY aficionados, natural materials like wood are bringing the texture, warmth and comfort craved by homeowners this fall. As you seek inspiration for another busy remodeling season, these six before and after projects show how wood can transform every room of the home – inside and out

Living Room

After a long day at the office (home or otherwise), a modern yet cozy living room can provide much-needed solace for homeowners to relax and unwind. Designers have noted that organic natural textures like wood – both in decor and furnishings – are on the rise in the interior design world. According to Country Living: “Coming back in chic and modern ways, wall panels are a great way to add additional character to your home.

Before + After: The Connector House

With a front-row seat to a lush backyard landscape, renovators predicted that the living room would become the family “hang out” space in this remodel. 

Capitalizing on the prime view, the project team replaced the room’s bay window with a modern wood bench to add seating and storage, framed above by larger windows that bring in more natural light. The contractor topped the built-in bench with black-stained pine to match the new hardwood floors, contrasting the dark hues below with a bright white satin adding texture and dimension to the vaulted wood ceiling. Barn lights and a contemporary chandelier further define the farmhouse aesthetic.

The Restoring House blog
We wanted to highlight the vaulted ceiling in this room with wood. If we lived here, this would be our 'hang out' room.

In a 2020 survey by financial services company Ally Home, the master bedroom surpassed the family room as families’ favorite spot in the house. Kobi Karp, principal of Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design, says that “using earthy hues and textures allows bedrooms to feel like comforting, safe spaces for those seeking to escape from the outside world.” Peeling back layers of decoration can provide an updated look to outdated designs and styling, revealing warm wood textures and palettes underneath that evoke a natural feeling.

Before and After: Modern Country Remodel

To transform this unremarkable attic bedroom, the homeowners removed the room’s dated drop ceiling and wallpaper, opting to update the scheme by cladding the wall with pine planks coated lightly in a primer that allows the grain to show through. 

In place of a headboard, the couple covered the wall behind the bed with reclaimed oak from a Pittsburgh bank. Beneath the carpeting? Hardwood floors. A dhurrie rug, faux-fur armchair and cotton textiles add texture and softness to the angular, rustic finishes.

Photo credit: Max Kim-Bee / Modern Country Remodel    

Kitchens have long ranked as the most popular room to remodel, as well as the most expensive. The majority of homeowners seek both form and function for this heavily utilized – and frequently visited – space. For small kitchens, white finishes can help reflect light, enhancing the feeling of open space. Clever use of wood and contrasting textures also help keep kitchens from feeling sterile, and can add visual patterns that expand the space.

Before and After: The Inspired Room

This small kitchen remodel by New York Times best-selling author and The Inspired Room blogger Melissa Michaels used shiplap to “make the room feel really solid” while unifying the space with its linear pattern which draws the eye outward and visually unites elements of the space. 

The ceiling is paneled with painted tongue and groove cedar planks featuring visible knots that give the room warmth and character without feeling overwhelming. According to Michaels, “Part of the charm of this small kitchen was that the design elements would be simple and classic, and interesting but not flashy. [We paneled our ceiling] to unify the whole room and up the classic charm even more.”


According to Homes & Gardens, after the pandemic has caused us to spend more time at home, bathroom designs will be inspired by the trending desire for home spas.“Bathrooms can now be so much more than purely functional spaces,” explained Yousef Mansuri, head of design at C.P. Hart. “More of our customers want to create an oasis of wellbeing at the heart of their home – somewhere that they can enjoy as a private retreat to de-stress and unwind.” Alongside the longing for comfort comes the move toward warmer tones, including terracotta, rust, caramel and biscuit. Untreated timber works well here.

Before and After: Dark Bathroom Makeover

For this bathroom remodel, the goal was to make the dark and dated room evoke warmth and coziness. The homeowners wanted to keep the gas fireplace, but did not like the way it looked.

Renovators clad the fireplace and window bench in cedar paneling to create a statement wall that adds visual interest. The wood features are coated in a matte, clear sealer for moisture protection. The bench, which conceals the gas line to the fireplace, can be opened to reveal added storage underneath.

Dining Room

During the pandemic, the dining room was redefined, playing host not only to more family dinners, but also to home offices and study halls, with dining room walls serving as daily backdrops for virtual meetings. New design trends have emerged as homeowners expect more and more from their dining spaces. Residents are requesting less formal and more relaxing, comfortable and versatile environments that can flex to the evolving needs of work-from-home life. 

Before and After: Country Style Revival

This farmhouse makeover revealed original painted hardwood floors buried under three layers of linoleum tiles. Where possible, the project team preserved the original wood flooring, patching in reclaimed barn planks as necessary. 

Barn wood paneling – which serves both pretty and practical purposes – makes the space feel welcoming and hides wear and tear more effectively than painted walls. “Covering the walls with rough-hewn salvaged timbers made this house feel country again,” said homeowner Rachael Bedard.

Photo credit: Monica Buck / Farmhouse Gets Country Style Revival

As highlighted in our recent blog, wood siding and decking can bring an unexpected and unique aesthetic that will help your clients stand out from the neighbors. According to Georgia Front Porch, wood design is in: “Whether it’s columns, siding, front door, fence, soffits or garage doors, people are finding a place to embrace the wood trend. Not only is wood stunning, it can be painted, stained or finished any way you desire — plus it’s easy to paint over in the future.” Softwood decking is a renewable product that provides natural beauty, and wood siding offers a wide range of versatile profiles from rustic shakes to traditional planks and ultra-modern architectural panels.

Before + After: Black Sheep Remodel

Before renovations, the front porch, rear deck and interior of this 1921 bungalow were disjointed and unwelcoming.

After more spacious cedar porch stairs and decking were installed, the exterior and interior decor were unified by complementary textures and tones that create a seamless aesthetic inside and out.In the rear of the home, a large sliding door was installed between the newly renovated kitchen and deck, giving the impression of extending the eating space into the outdoors.

Photo credit: Raphael Soldi / SHED

Whether you are facing a full home remodel or a one room renovation, wood’s versatility and sustainability make it an ideal material for projects year-round. For more wood-renovation ideas, visit

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