Locked-down homeowners spent an average of £2,600 on renovations last year, 15% more than in 2019, to help make working from home ‘less soul-destroying’.
Spending on home offices increased by an average of 21%, while demand for builders, plumbers, and garden landscapers increased by more than half.
Checkatrade.com’s first-ever ‘Home Pride Index’, surveyed 2000 British homeowners to reveal how the pandemic shaped trends in home improvements over 2020 and altered our relationships with our homes.
There’s no need to overstate that the environment in which we live has been tested beyond all expectations in 2020. It’s also clear that the ‘Stay At Home’ era has driven a deep-seated need to have pride in where we live, with our latest research showing that 54% of British homeowners love their home more now than ever before.said Checkatrade CEO Mike Fairman.
The most significant rise in spending was on the garden, with the average homeowner ploughing more than £390 into outdoor space over 2020 – 43% more than 2019.
Meanwhile, kitchens reigned as the most expensive renovation, costing an average of £435 for a makeover.
When it came to repurposing spaces at home, the so-called ‘shoffice’ (a garden shed converted to a home office) was the most popular project and is tipped to continue as a trend into 2021:
Having a dedicated office which is comfortable, bright, and warm will make it less soul-destroying to spend your working day in – and people are starting to recognize that and are likely to invest more into creating their home office spaces.said Gas Engineer Daniel Khanlarpour.
But it’s not all work, work, work. As well as home offices, ‘snugs’, home cinemas, and living room improvements all made the Top 10 home design projects of Brits in 2020.
Dr. Elenor Ratcliffe, Environmental Psychologist at the University of Surrey, suggests that spending money on our homes could be a way to boost self-esteem and that the pandemic will have changed the way many people think about where they live:
Being proud of one’s home and the way it looks is a key aspect of feeling attached to this important place, and is a way to bring residents of a community together. For individuals, a home that one can be proud of is a way to “boost” self-esteem, which is itself related to wider wellbeing outcomes such as happiness and having a sense of meaning and purposeshe said
She suggested that taking part in renovations- even in small ways, such as choosing furniture or artwork- could bring the self-esteem-boosting benefits that come with feeling proud of a job well done.
But it seems that homeowners’ time and money are willing to invest in their homes varies across the country. By comparing the amount invested on renovations, time spent on DIY, and the length of owners’ DIY to-do lists, Checkatrade.com declared Newcastle to be the most house proud city in the country, with more money and time invested in the average home than in any other region.
On average, Newcastle homeowners spent £886 on the garden alone in 2020- more than double the national average. Next were Birmingham and London- where home offices took priority over other improvements.
Meanwhile, Leicester and Norwich ranked bottom of the list, as homeowners were found to have fewer home-improvement projects on the go than the rest of the country.
Despite the billions collectively spent on renovating, the majority (79%) still say there is more room for improvement.
Topping the list for future renovations is redecorating the bedroom or living room, followed by a spruce-up of the garden and replacing or updating the flooring.