The rise of DIY home remodelling projects

When the severity of COVID-19 became evident and it was clear that we were in this for the long-haul, we all expected a variety of possible outcomes. For most of us, a DIY boom wasn’t one of them. But, lo-and-behold, that’s exactly what happened.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the rise of DIY home remodelling projects not only in the UK, but around the world. Research from several countries show sales are up, retailers and manufacturers are smiling, and folks are rolling up their sleeves and tackling all sorts of projects, from building storage units, to renovating their basements, and more.

Some of the biggest DIY home improvement trends of 2021 have added more momentum to what began last year, and it looks set to continue. Let’s take a closer look at some surprising facts and figures, before exploring some of the most popular DIY home remodelling projects at the moment.

DIY In the UK
Although statistics vary from firm to firm, they all indicate that lockdown and other responses to the pandemic inspired most Brits to improve their living spaces in one way or another. UK-based Arriva’s study titled Home Life In Lockdown: Tech, Tensions and Tidying Up revealed that 85% of respondents engaged in home improvement projects during lockdown, even if some of them were as simple as tidying up or decluttering.

A Ronseal survey produced slightly different results. It found that 56% of those surveyed completed as many as 4 different DIY home remodelling projects during lockdown. While that figure is lower than the Arriva survey’s, it still indicates that more people in the UK undertook DIY projects than those who didn’t. Also revealing was a report by workwear brand Dickies. The brand found online searches related to gardening DIY projects increased by 1241% during lockdown.

According to Statista, online sales of home improvement and gardening retail products almost doubled between 9 and 15 March 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. The sale of plants, seeds, and bulbs rose by 48.2%, while paint sales increased by 47.1%. Building material sales increased by 31.4%, and the sale of tools and equipment rose by 14.7%.

In May 2020, GlobalData reported that 59.8% of British consumers had already used, or planned to use, the extra time on their hands during lockdown to ‘refresh their homes.’ According to the firm, DIY and redecorating items were more popular than new furniture or homeware.

The firm’s own research found that 47.2% of those consumers intended to do DIY in their bedrooms, 22.8% had a DIY project planned for their bathrooms, and 36.7% wanted to do some work in their living room. 13.7% of consumers planned to do some DIY in the dining room, and 31% had DIY plans for their kitchen. At that time, only 7.7% of consumers surveyed planned to work in a home office.

Hot DIY Home Remodelling Trends
In addition to DIY jobs, Brits decluttered and cleaned their homes and invested time and energy into their gardens. Influence Central surveyed 630 consumers via its Consumer Insights Panel and found that 61% of those respondents, based in various places, undertook DIY projects. Of those projects:

  • 61% were the organising of closets and drawers
  • 57% were stocking and organising pantries
  • 43% were working on a garden or outdoor space
  • 26% were working on a home office space
  • 22% were setting up a home gym or exercise space

The website’s findings are in keeping with current popular DIY home remodelling trends, some of which you might’ve implemented yourself. According to House & Home, a few of the popular trends at the moment include:

Home Offices—According to the Office for National Statistics, 46.6% of employed people did some work from home in April last year, and 86% of those people did so because of COVID-19. The office also revealed that the number of people who work from home exclusively rose from 21% to 24%. With stats like that, it’s not surprising that the home office is one of the must-haves of 2021.

Storage Units—Folks who cannot or do not want to declutter, whether or not their stuff sparks joy, are turning to built-in and freestanding storage facilities. However, instead of purchasing them from stores, people are putting up shelves, building cupboards, assembling cabinets, and coming up with various creative solutions.

Outdoor Living Spaces—As mentioned, the UK saw a sharp increase in interest in gardens and outdoor living spaces. While some planted vegetable gardens, laid paths, and dug new beds, others installed decking, hot tubs, furnished nooks, she-sheds, and other lifestyle elements. The outdoor DIY projects doubtlessly will continue through the summer as people use their new facilities and find more room for improvement.

Multigenerational Homes—More and more people are adapting their homes to accommodate multiple generations of their families. Some reasons parents, adult children, grandparents, and grandchildren are living together, either in one home or in several separate dwellings on one property, are to save money, to be closer to one another should future lockdowns be implemented, and for the sake of healthcare.

Outdoor Living In 2021
Britain’s renewed love of DIY and gardening is still going strong more than a year after COVID-19 first reached the UK’s shores and lockdowns were introduced. In early April 2021, the Guardian reported that spending at DIY stores and garden centres was expected to reach £1.4bn during Easter, a figure that is £290m higher than the spend during Easter 2020.

Among the reasons given for the whopping spend were the continued closure of pubs and non-essential retailers, as well as the banning of trips and getaways over the long weekend. According to the publication, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said that DIY store sales increased by 35%, and gardening centre sales increased by 8.5%, in the last three months of 2020, compared to the same period for 2019, and that the trend is still going strong.

Some of the most popular items among British consumers are firepits, gazebos, and outdoor pizza ovens, as well as patio sets, and the materials needed to create an outdoor room.

A New Appreciation
COVID-19 caused havoc on a scale not seen in decades, but it also gave many people a new sense of appreciation of their homes, and newfound confidence in their own skills.

If you’re toying with starting a DIY home remodelling project, we encourage you to take the plunge. Be warned, though—you’re likely to find another DIY project soon after.

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