A corner office, kindergarten classroom, Pilates studio, and your new favorite restaurant: Home has taken on a whole new role (or several) in people’s lives. As COVID-19 has led many to spend more time than ever within their four walls, it’s no surprise that people around the country are eager to take on a few projects. Some are looking for home improvement ideas they can DIY, and outdoor space sprucing up is in high demand.
From aesthetic tweaks to major remodels, more than 88% of people surveyed by Ally Home have already taken (or are planning to take) this time to switch up their spaces. Here are a few home improvement trends emerging along the way.
1. Millennials and Gen Xers are driving the DIY train.
Do-it-yourself projects have become extremely popular over the past several months, especially for small replacement, maintenance, repair, and remodeling efforts. More than 60% of DIYers are focusing on their homes now more than they were pre-pandemic — and younger generations like millennials are taking on DIY projects more than their general predecessors.
2. Spare time spurred the majority of DIY projects.
Nearly half of homeowners said spending extra time at home made them aware of potential improvement initiatives. But for more than 80% of DIYers, the real inspiration for getting started on projects came from having newfound free time.
3. Aesthetic fixes are always a favorite.
Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint in the living room or planting bushes in the front yard, home improvement projects focused on giving your space a facelift are on top this year. Families are boosting curb appeal through DIY lawn maintenance and landscaping, as well as painting both indoors and the exterior.
4. The internet is an essential tool in a home improver’s toolkit.
The number one resource for homeowners who are seeking a home improvement project (or currently taking one on themselves) is none other than the World Wide Web. Nearly two-thirds of homeowners have used the internet for home improvement ideas and inspiration, guidance on “dos and don’ts,” as well as “how-tos” this year — up 12% from 2019.
5. The average spend for a project is less than $2,000.
Home improvement projects exploded in popularity at the beginning of social distancing and stay-at-home mandates. In just three months, from March to May, more than half of homeowners worked on a project and spent an average of $1,750 on their efforts. But the median amount spent was nearly 10 times that amount, at $17,140 — meaning projects of all sizes are taking place this year.
6. Demand for pools is poppin’.
More time at home doesn’t necessarily mean more time inside, and families were itching to expand their outdoor spaces. Our survey found that 38% of people surveyed planned to add an in-ground or above ground pool or spa. Houzz, an online home remodeling platform, saw a 58% year-over-year increase in demand for home pros in June — with demand for pool and spa installers up three-fold since 2019, and double the demand for deck, patio, and landscaping contractors.
7. The center of the home is getting an update.
The kitchen is the heart and soul of many homes, but more than a quarter of Americans want to give theirs an upgrade — especially as many have been cooking and eating at home more often. Turns out, the pandemic has been a popular time to take on a kitchen remodel project (which, by the way, can net you between 50% to 80% return on investment). According to Houzz, the demand for kitchen and bath remodels was up 40% this June compared to 2019. More specifically, our survey revealed that 28% of people plan to upgrade their master bathroom.
8. Home-improvers are getting techy (and eco-friendly) with it.
From smart technology like climate controlling beds, smart mirrors, and connected refrigerators to automated whole home systems, 44% of homeowners took time this season to add tech to their spaces. Younger homeowners, including millennials and Gen Z, were also focused on making their places greener, adding assets like eco-friendly appliances, solar water heating, and smart lighting.
9. New décor and furniture are not to be forgotten.
The pandemic certainly impacted retail sales in the early months, which saw an 8% drop in March and another nearly 15% drop in April as consumers paused spending during extreme uncertainty. But May saw a rebound in consumer spending, especially in the furniture and home furnishings sector, which rose 90% as families rearranged, redecorated, and revamped their interiors — and that’s not taking into account that furniture retailers have tended to see their highest sales numbers leading into the holidays at the end of the year.
10. Savings were the number one source of funding.
Thirty-eight percent of homeowners who took on a home improvement project this year dipped into their savings to fund the project. About one-fourth of people used credit cards to help pay, and 18% used either a personal loan, home equity loan, or borrowed money from friends or family to cover their home improvement expenses. If you’re looking to start a home project, check if your contractor or home improvement provider offers Ally Lending as a financing option.
11. Some major home projects may slow down soon.
While the early months of the pandemic saw home improvement projects abound, research by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University predicts that many homeowners will scale back remodeling plans in the coming months. This is due in part to lasting economic uncertainty as well as potential slowing down in home sales.
If spending extra time in your house has left you daydreaming about gleaming new kitchen cabinets and countertops, a fun new paint color for your half-bath, or a patio you can lounge on for summers to come, you aren’t alone. With a little extra free time and no excuses necessary to spend more time at home, now could be the time you tackle the items on your home to-do (and wish) list.
Ready to start saving up for your next home renovation project?