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July 19, 2021
Quick Home Updates in a Not-So-Quick Market
By Kerry Spears

As the design industry faces unprecedented lead times, interior designer and Directory member, Kerry Spears shares quick decorating tips for working around the long lead times.

Thirty week lead times. Three hundred percent price increase in lumber. The aftermath of 2020 and early 2021 has truly driven the design world into pure chaos. We are seeing shortages in foam, lumber, labor and parts of furniture you wouldn’t even know you needed until it’s unavailable. I recently had a console delayed for months because of where its brass ferules are sourced from. My client didn’t even notice the brass ferules. Lead times are LONG right now and if you’re looking for major updates, you’re going to have to wait. However, I have found several ways to keep my clients’ design moving forward and cut out some of the long lead times, without their home losing personality.



Shop Vintage. This is my favorite way to beat the lead times because I think every room should have at least one antique anyways. It doesn’t matter what your style or aesthetics are, antiques bring warmth and uniqueness to a room.

home design solutions antiques repurposing
Photography: Jessie Preza


Edit and rearrange what you already have. I don’t think a year has gone by without my husband coming home from work and finding our living room with a different layout. Or artwork swapped between rooms. I love shopping in my own home and finding a pretty plate to hang on a wall or the juxtaposition of moving an antique framed piece of art to a brightly colored living room. A lot of people move in to a space and hang the art and it never moves. Now is the time to move the art and rearrange the chairs.

home design solutions repurposing
Photography: Jessie Preza


Consider reupholstering existing furniture. Many fabric companies can fulfill orders quickly. It seems to be the foam and wood that are causing the factory delays. So try envisioning your existing piece in a fresh, new fabric to spruce up your space if you can’t handle waiting until 2022 for that new sofa.

home design solutions kerry spears
Photography: Jessie Preza



Add layers. I truly believe every project begins with a detail and ends on a detail. Details drive design. These layers of details are what make all the difference in a space and can elevate your design immensely. This can be as simple as adding more art to your walls or stacking books on a coffee table. Layer in the details by shopping at local shops and ordering from online stores for readily available items.


home design solutions repurposing
Photography: Jessie Preza


Swap out lighting and furniture accessories. Try using a patterned lampshade on an otherwise basic lamp. Or try new knobs on your nightstand. These changes can have a major impact and don’t require you to wait for new pieces of furniture to arrive.


If you’re in the middle of construction and completely frustrated with the material and labor shortage that is going on, consider unique ways to get the same look. Try painting your old wood floors rather than ripping them out. Shop for remnants to use as tile and for smaller countertops and backsplashes. Hire a decorative painter to paint a faux finish on furniture, floors or walls. I guarantee some of those changes will end up being the favorite things you’ve done in your new space.

Photography: Jessie Preza


My final bit of advice is to be okay with living in the incomplete. As the late Mario Buatta said, your home “should grow and change as the people living in it do, in order to achieve that timeless, undecorated look.” So maybe 2020 was just a reminder for us all to slow down, appreciate what we have and take the time to get a little more creative. And our houses will thank us for that in the end.

At Kerry Spears Interiors we offer e-design services for clients who want the extra help fine-tuning their visions and sourcing the materials to do it. We offer a full design scheme within six weeks, which includes access to a lot of great resources that aren’t available to people outside of the Trade. If you’re interested in learning more about the design we offer, please visit www.kerryspearsinteriors.com.

Kerry Spears

Combining her traditional New England roots with a sprinkle of southern elegance, Kerry Spears designs homes that are both refined and timeless. Her desire to truly get to know and listen to her client, helps her create spaces that not only suit their everyday needs, while also adding unique details and style.

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