Whilst the UK suffers through a cost of living crisis, homemakers continue to strive for aesthetic excellence — but on a budget. With this in mind, technology has become the segway for money-saving home hacks as #DIY on TikTok has generated 4 billion in the UK in the last year. Industry experts offer insight into why Brits are choosing to get their hands dirty to clean up their homes as a priority and what brands can do to help.
The worldwide home improvement market was valued at £622 billion in 2020 with experts predicting annual growth to exceed expectations in the following years. In 2023, National DIY Day - 1st April - celebrates this increasingly popular market and inspires them to consider new, creative ways of making their house a home.
The last few years have been a tumultuous time for the homeware industry. During the pandemic, the people of the UK were confined to their homes where they prioritised spending their disposable income on nesting, resulting in an unprecedented influx in revenue industry-wide.
However, in the current economic climate, ex-Prime Minister Liz Truss’ budget announcement of October 2022 has meant homemakers have been unable to sustain the same level of investment and have, instead, adapted to February’s 10.4% inflation rate by turning their attention to DIY.
To illustrate the current landscape, Plank Hardware offers insight into the state of the home improvement industry and predicts the DIY trends that are going to continue to enhance homes across the UK.
The current state of the home improvement industry
In the digital age, tips and tricks to upgrading the home on a budget sit at our fingertips and the UK is revelling in it during the cost of living crisis. On TikTok, the hashtag #DIY has generated 4 billion views in the last year, 453 million views in the last 30 days alone whilst #upcycling has generated 121 million views in the last year, and 15 million views in the last 30 days.
One major genre emerging on TikTok is ‘achieving the designer look for less’, coupled with ‘how to find dupes at a fraction of the cost’. Search interest in ‘dupes’ also continues to grow, spiking at one million searches over the past month, up 56% on last year. The smart and responsible way to nail a trend is to invest in pre-loved, or even better, utilise something you already have within your home renovation project, say experts at Plank Hardware. Social media is an excellent tool for interior inspiration, proving that even those who wouldn’t necessarily have known how to upcycle furniture, have access to a wealth of clever and creative people, offering step-by-step tutorials.
According to the UK DIY Retailing Market Report 2022, 55% of UK consumers agree that they look for ways to improve their homes more now than they did before the pandemic. In the last three months, data shows that Brits have also consulted Google for tips and inspiration on upcycling their existing furniture and DIY home improvements to give spaces a stylish look on a budget. ‘Furniture flipping’ enthusiasts have come into their own as searches around ‘upcycled dressing table ideas’ have seen a 250% increase in the last three months whilst other items of interest include dining tables, garden benches, rocking chairs and vanity units.
Keyword Three-month change
upcycled garden bench 400%
diy deck 324%
diy outdoor kitchen 306%
upcycling furniture projects 300%
upcycled mexican pine furniture 267%
diy flower wall 255%
upcycle wooden chair 250%
upcycled dining table and chairs 250%
upcycled drawers with wallpaper 250%
upcycled dressing table ideas 250%
diy pergola 233%
pallet wood projects 222%
pallet furniture ideas 213%
upcycled rocking chair 200%
upcycled sideboard ideas 200%
upcycled bedside table ideas 189%
upcycled vanity unit 189%
diy gazebo 179%
upcycling ikea furniture 179%
upcycled bar stools 175%
According to Plank Hardware Co-Founder, Tom Revill: “Timing has a big part to play in the surge of interest in DIY and particularly upcycling. Not only is it a cheaper option during the cost-of-living crisis — as a means of improving a home’s aesthetic — but it’s a cheap and creative outlet, too. During a time of side hustles, second-hand selling and the need for projects away from desk work, upcycling ticks all the boxes. You’re also creating something of real use and appeal at the end.
What’s more, sustainability is a trend that isn’t wavering. Upcycling reduces the furniture and materials in landfills and offers a new lease of life to pieces that would otherwise be discarded or replaced.”
The DIY trends of 2023
Whilst upcycling isn’t a particularly new trend, it’s definitely evolved. No longer just a lick of paint over the old cracks of ageing furniture, home DIY has become much more sophisticated. To get the best value out of the resources at their disposal, people have begun trying to completely emulate the tasks they would typically pay a decorator for from start to finish. Refusing to cut corners, people across the UK are looking to learn new crafts to ensure their homes can look as they envisage.
With 9,800 UK searches for ‘built-in wardrobes’ in the last month, DIY focus continues to remain on making the bedroom a sanctuary in the home. In response, the market continues to look for ways to make wardrobes bespoke at a fraction of the cost. Plank predicts this won’t waver over the coming year, as inflation continues to rise, the market will continue to get more and more creative with colour, wardrobe handles and wardrobe interiors to create a space that works for them and offers something more innovative than typical blueprints.
Kitchens are notoriously costly to renovate, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that searches for ‘DIY kitchens’ have increased by 82% in the last three months. Rental-friendly products like vinyl wrapping and home accessories are budget favourites for transforming the kitchen space, with many going as far as removing all kitchen cupboards to totally innovate them, transforming the exterior, replacing the handles and overhauling the full look.
Al Fresco Aesthetic
As we enter warmer months, DIY efforts are also beginning to focus on outdoor decor, too, with Brits looking for tips on how to DIY decking, outdoor kitchens and pergolas ready for BBQ season. Lockdown garden parties encouraged Brits to have a new appreciation for their outdoor space. Plank Hardware predicts this will be a similar case this summer, as people opt for spending more time and money in extending their home interior into their outdoor space, too, ready for guests and garden parties in comparison to leisure spent on socialising outside of the home.
How inflation will continue to affect the DIY industry
According to experts at Plank Hardware, to continue in line with the upward trajectory of DIY trends, alongside inflation, businesses will need to consider the part they play in the trend of value DIY.
As budget continues to be a key driver in the decision-making process of homeowners and renters, brands need to provide products and services that allow consumers to choose their offerings without costing too much.
It’s the time of how-to content, money-saving hacks and building relationships with consumers that go beyond product purchasing. This way, when the economic climate becomes more stable and disposable income increases, consumers will have trust and loyalty to the brands that continued to help make their houses a home — even when they were unable to afford to.
Revill continues, “We’re mindful that our average customer has less disposable income at the moment, but they’re still house-proud and keen to improve their interiors — often because DIY is a hobby they’re passionate about. By publishing content that demonstrates how transformative a kitchen upcycle can be, or by spotlighting savvy ways to hack a high-end fitted wardrobe, it’s our aim to inspire and offer an accessible entry point into projects that have historically been a more considered investment.”