With the pandemic causing the price of lumber to soar to record high prices, it’s probably best that you wait a little while before starting a new renovation project. Unless you’re one of the lucky few sitting on stockpiled supplies and are ready to get rolling on a new project, you can expect to pay up to three times the normal price for lumber this year. Experts agree that prices will return to normal once the pandemic subsides and people get back to traveling. Until then, there are a few things you can do to spruce up your cottage and breathe some new life into it without breaking the bank on a few 2×4’s.

**Add a fresh coat of paint
**Painting is one of the cheapest and most immediately noticeable improvements you can make to a property. It’s also a great (and super easy) way to increase the value of your cottage, so throw on a fresh coat! Don’t rush into picking a colour, and if you’re going to be selling in the near future, use neutral colours. You don’t want to pick something bold if you’re going to be selling soon, as it’ll just be seen as another “to do” by potential buyers.

**Update (or add) laundry
**When you’re spending time at the cottage, the last thing you want to do is visit the laundromat or pack up a load of dirty clothes to bring back home with you. Adding laundry to your cottage not only provides convenience, but is also a very attractive feature for potential buyers. If your cottage already has laundry, look into updating your appliances – especially if they’re on the older side. (Yes, Kenmore mint green washer and dryer set from 1982 – we’re talking about you.)

**Save money and increase comfort with new windows
**With major renovations being put off, now’s the perfect time to look into adding new windows to your cottage. If you’re looking for an effective way to keep utility bills to a minimum and keep the cottage more comfortable year-round, consider installing energy efficient windows. Not only will they cut costs and keep you more comfortable, but they’ll boost the value of your cottage, reduce noise, increase security, and enhance your views.

**Shed some light on the situation
**If you’ve found that your cottage gets a little too dark after the sun goes down, it might be time to add some more lights. This is a problem faced by many cottage owners, and it’s usually solved just by placing lamps around the darker areas, track lighting in the kitchen, and fairy lights on the deck. Adding new lights is an affordable way to refresh your cottage and finally brighten things up, letting you get rid of some of those kitschy old lamps. If you’re not quite ready to add new lights, swapping your bulbs out for LED light bulbs is a quick way to brighten things up without the investment.

**Change it up with some new furniture, window treatments and linens
**If you’ve been spending more time at the cottage during the pandemic, there’s a good chance you’ve started to grow tired of your furniture. Either it came with the cottage when you bought it, or it’s cobbled together with second-hand furniture or broken-down stuff from your pad when you were a bachelor. While this certainly adds a certain charm to a cottage, it’s also a good way to make your cottage look very outdated. If many more cottage outings are in your future, swapping out your drab old furniture with new pieces can go a long way. Get something that’ll last for years to come, built to withstand kids, pets, and anything you might throw at it.

It’s also a great time to update your window treatments and linens. This might seem like a very minor improvement to your cottage, but these simple upgrades can addi some real beauty to your property. Swap out those ratty sheets, blankets and towels with soft, fluffy new ones, and throw out those frilled curtains in favour of something new that matches the rest of your decor. If you’re looking for some added privacy, consider adding blackout curtains or blinds.

**Perfect time to declutter
**Getting rid of the clutter is a cost-free way to spruce up your cottage and leave it feeling new-to-you again. Chances are it’s been a while since you’ve decluttered and that things have been left to pile up over the years – especially if you’ve only been visiting a few times per year. Clear out those old knick-knacks, books, toys, equipment, and everything else you’re never going to use again. Tackle those overstuffed junk drawers, closets, and even under your beds – clutter lives everywhere. Remember that once you’ve decluttered, the goal is to keep things clean and clear for the long term. Next time you consider bringing something with you to the cottage, ask yourself “do I really need this?”

Until lumber prices return to normal, focus on small and simple improvements you can make to your cottage. These projects aren’t brag-worthy (except windows, natch!), but can really go a long way in breathing new life into your getaway. Just because you won’t be adding a new deck overhauling your kitchen, doesn’t mean you can’t add value or refresh your property.

If you’re looking to refresh your cottage with new windows or doors this summer, let the folks at Muskoka Window & Door Centre help you pick the best, most efficient door and windows units for your Muskoka cottage. Our showroom features the highest quality products manufactured by the most trusted names in the industry, and our team of experts stand ready to breathe new life into your cottage. To get started on your upcoming door or window installation project, get in touch with us today.