Five HI Trends HERO

5 Home Improvement Trends That Emerged During COVID-19

Feb 08, 2021

Since the start of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic in 2020, home,” for many, has dou­bled as an office, school, movie the­ater, gym and more. The bot­tom line? Home­own­ers are spend­ing more time at home, undoubt­ed­ly chang­ing how remod­el­ing projects are prioritized.

To cap­ture how home­own­ers are pri­or­i­tiz­ing their project wish lists, the Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute (HIRI) and the Caney Group con­duct­ed 20 inter­views with home­own­ers across the Unit­ed States. From the qual­i­ta­tive study, we’ve iden­ti­fied five impor­tant con­sumer trends that emerged dur­ing the pandemic

Here’s our take on the trends that are like­ly here to stay as well as those almost sure to dis­ap­pear as the world gets a bet­ter han­dle on the coronavirus.

1. Enhanced Out­door Liv­ing
Out­door liv­ing space pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty to get out­side, enter­tain and relax safe­ly dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Espe­cial­ly as the can­cel­la­tion of camps, sports and oth­er activ­i­ties has chil­dren locked down at home, back­yards have become an area of refuge. As a result, fire pits, patio pavers, fur­ni­ture and bar­be­cue upgrades have become a favorite addi­tion of the last year. What’s more, they’re expect­ed to con­tin­ue in pop­u­lar­i­ty as anoth­er pan­dem­ic spring and sum­mer sea­son comes around.

Addi­tion­al­ly, must-do jobs such as deck repair and exte­ri­or paint­ing are being pri­or­i­tized as both DIY and con­tract­ed work. As is a theme of pan­dem­ic projects, home­own­ers have more spare time to research, shop for and com­plete projects with­out con­trac­tors. Study par­tic­i­pants also sug­gest­ed out­door projects have a low­er risk of fail­ure, since they don’t often require spe­cial­ty trades.

2. Upgrad­ed Home Offices
While remote learn­ing is seen as wide­ly tem­po­rary, many study par­tic­i­pants who work at home expect to con­tin­ue doing so beyond the pan­dem­ic at some lev­el. Many imag­ine work­ing from home at least sev­er­al days a week post-pan­dem­ic and are seek­ing per­ma­nent work­space solu­tions. Par­tic­i­pants agree that hav­ing a door is essen­tial to the home office, which presents a chal­lenge in open-lay­out homes. Where avail­able, base­ment con­ver­sions are a pop­u­lar solu­tion. Repur­pos­ing a guest room is anoth­er com­mon tac­tic for home­own­ers seek­ing pri­vate space.

3. More Refresh’ Projects
Small DIY projects have trumped exten­sive remod­el­ing projects dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Inte­ri­or upgrades that can be com­plet­ed by the home­own­er, such as retil­ing a back­splash, paint­ing cab­i­nets or chang­ing light fix­tures, have been pri­or­i­tized. Many new home­own­ers report feel­ing like it is a good time to learn new skills relat­ed to upkeep, main­te­nance and refresh­es. These projects are typ­i­cal­ly cos­met­ic upgrades that don’t require a plumber or elec­tri­cian, as home­own­ers are con­cerned with the safe­ty of bring­ing out­siders into the home.

4. New Leisure Spaces
While many projects were always on the list and pushed for­ward by the pan­dem­ic, oth­ers are unique­ly moti­vat­ed by cur­rent cir­cum­stances. Home gyms and home the­aters have increased in pop­u­lar­i­ty, per­haps fund­ed in part by repur­posed vaca­tion bud­gets as well as can­celed month­ly gym mem­ber­ships. Whether DIY­ing a garage floor fin­ish or fix­ing up the base­ment, home­own­ers are find­ing ways to trans­form their per­haps pre­vi­ous­ly unused space to ful­fill leisure needs they may have depend­ed on com­mer­cial busi­ness­es to han­dle pre-pan­dem­ic. Many of these projects are DIY since, as men­tioned ear­li­er, home­own­ers fear hav­ing out­side peo­ple in the home. Of course, there are some excep­tions: With out­door access to the base­ment, one study par­tic­i­pant described his invest­ment in a $22,000 home the­ater by a pro­fes­sion­al company.

While these pur­chas­es are expe­ri­enc­ing a boom right now, they are expect­ed to sub­side post-pandemic.

5. Increased Exte­ri­or Projects
Exte­ri­or upgrades are con­sid­ered among the safest when it comes to hir­ing con­trac­tors. Accord­ing­ly, paint­ing, roof­ing, gut­ter replace­ment and oth­er out­door projects saw the great­est increase from home­own­ers. Again, as trav­el, vaca­tions and oth­er plans were lim­it­ed, many of these projects may have been pulled for­ward on the pri­or­i­ty list.

Future Spend­ing
Many expect the pan­dem­ic to sub­side in the third or fourth quar­ter of 2021 as COVID-19 vac­ci­na­tions become more wide­ly avail­able. Study par­tic­i­pants already antic­i­pate they’ll have less time and mon­ey for projects as nor­mal life resumes, and that DIY projects will like­ly decline as vaca­tions, enter­tain­ment and kids’ activ­i­ties restart. How­ev­er, post-pan­dem­ic, home­own­ers are expect­ing to tack­le big­ger con­trac­tor-led projects such as com­plete kitchen and bath remod­els, addi­tions and oth­er spe­cial­ized trade work for the home interior.

HIRI mem­bers have com­plete access to qual­i­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive data sur­round­ing pur­chas­ing habits and addi­tion­al per­cep­tions. Data includes com­plete reports with age and region data for the DIY study, as well as curat­ed sum­ma­ry insights. Log in to get the lat­est stud­ies and down­load reports or join HIRI for access today.