The outlook for 2021 and into 2022 confirms what you may already know: It’s a good time to be a home remodeler.

That’s the takeaway from the latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity. It’s projected $370 billion will be spent on pro remodeling projects in early 2022. Not bad for a pandemic-hobbled economy.

For remodelers, you can expect more talk about 'cloffice' configurations, partitioning once-popular open floor plans, and blending inside/outside spaces into seamless, pandemic-friendly environments. It makes sense. Extended life at home has made many rethink home style and function.

You won’t hear any argument from veteran painting contractor Tim Whitaker, owner and operator of New Jersey-based T. Whitaker Painting, the business he has owned with his wife, Liz, for 34 years. Whitaker’s take on homeowners’ current mood? Call it somber and reflective after the pandemic tumult of 2020 and early 2021.

“They’re a little less materialistic. They’re not living so much for their house as they once did,” he says.

That view is supported by the subdued color choices many owners make. “Back in the 1990s when the airwaves were full of home improvement TV shows, I might leave behind 20 to 25 cans of labeled paint for the owner. A homeowner would order five different colors for the dining room alone,” Whitaker remembers. Whitaker recently shared his thoughts on today’s trends:

  • Remember Wallpaper? Whitaker does. In his early years, wallpaper jobs accounted for a third of his business. No more. “It’s not about the cost of putting it up. It’s about the cost of taking it down. Customers tell me they don’t need that difficulty and expense,” he says.
  • Think Gray and Taupe. And beiges, too. “Because they’re home so much, folks look around and notice how dingy the home looks. They’re favoring more neutral colors, and not that many different colors. People are a little more conservative in their choices now,” Whitaker says.
  • Whitaker’s Go-To Formula. “We usually tell customers to go with a flat white on interior ceilings, a semi-gloss on the trim, and a regular premium plus flat on the walls,” Whitaker advises.
  • Heyday of Painting. Whitaker holds his breath when he hears manufacturers say “reformulation.” “But I have to admit the paints and tints just keep getting better and better,” he says.

Case in point, Behr Ultra Scuff Defense, a stain-blocking paint and primer and personal favorite of Whitaker. “If there are kids or grandkids around, I always recommend it. It’s surprisingly washable for a low sheen paint. It covers great. It goes on easy. It takes us less time, so we pass the savings to the customer. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Running a family business makes Whitaker appreciate what it takes to succeed, like sharing savings with customers. “Younger contractors ask me for advice. I tell them put the customer first. Return phone calls. Show up on time. That puts you ahead of most of your competition. Do a great job and you’re really ahead of the game!”

Learn more about how stain-blocking paint and primer from Behr can deliver a win-win on your next project.