If ever an excuse was needed to spruce up our pads, September is National Home Improvement Month. Fiona Evans finds out how the campaign is spreading DIY cheer.
Home is where the heart is, so the saying goes.
How much that rings true may depend on your experience of lockdown but there is little doubt that the pandemic has seen most of us spending more time in our nests.
And that has brought with it rising scrutiny of our abodes, from house-share to mansion; city flat to suburban semi, few can have been immune from the critical gaze of a nation told to stay at home.
It comes as no surprise then, that lockdown encouraged many of us to dabble in DIY, whether born out of a need to keep busy, part of a dawning era of self-sufficiency, or the result of sheer frustration with our surroundings.
Prior to the months of social isolation, only one in 10 Brits felt confident enough to tinker with their homes themselves, according to research conducted in January and commissioned by the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA).
In contrast, a different study by marketing agency Democracy found that 39 per cent of all respondents (increasing to 49 per cent of Londoners) had been directly prompted to do some DIY as a result of the lockdown.
It also summed up the new significance of our homes in light of the pandemic’s impact noting that they “have never been so important.”
The report stated: “In lockdown we’ve asked more of them than we could have anticipated - and questioned if they were fit for what we need them to be. In the Covid world, the home is the heart of everything - the place to switch on for work, to switch off after work, a place of sanctuary, our outdoor space and the place we socialise.”
The UK-wide report, based on research carried out at the end of May, points to the emergence of a new generation of DIY enthusiasts.
More than two thirds of those aged 25-34 revealed that they felt more confident in their DIY skills as a result of the time spent tweaking their homes over lockdown.
There certainly appears to be a hearty appetite for DIY and National Home Improvement Month offers a chance to make the most of that momentum.
The awareness campaign, organised by BHETA, is encouraging people to improve their homes during the month of September.
It has called upon home-dwellers to continue this DIY fervour and make just one change, big or small, to their house this month.
This has been echoed by TV presenters and National Home Improvement Month ambassadors Craig Phillips and Georgina Burnett, who hope to see this interest in DIY expand further still, with those new to the hobby making just one change to their homes to get started.
“It’s great to have National Home Improvement Month roll around again, especially after what’s been a tough time for pretty much everybody across the country,” said Craig, DIY expert and former Big Brother winner.
“It’s great to see the nation take to DIY while they’ve been at home, and hopefully that’ll continue over September.”
And it’s worth noting that the returns on investing in a spot of DIY can stretch well beyond the physical transformation of a home.
“So many people lead busy and often stressful lives, so the emotional benefits of improving your home environment are immeasurable,” said Georgina Burnett, property and DIY interiors expert.
“We all need a home that supports our day to day living.”
BHETA’s research also revealed what Brits were doing to improve their houses, with close to a third (31 per cent) choosing to update their home’s style over improving its value (18 per cent), increasing its energy efficiency (12 per cent) or upping its security (11 per cent).