Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Revealed: The city most stressed by DIY

Published: 14 January 2021 - Neil Mead

We all know that assembling your own household furniture is nothing short of a nightmare and with lockdown 3.0 in full swing, the UK is under increasing pressure to 'Do It Yourself'. 

In a new study conducted by, it was found that, as a result of the pandemic, 67% of Brits will now seek to assemble their new household items without the help of a professional.* 

In light of this, experts at wanted to find out which UK city will become most stressed with this newfound pressure. In order to do so 1,644 participants from across the UK were sent one of ten popular household items to assemble. Whilst completing the task, participants were asked to record their heart rate and the time it took them to assemble the item, revealing both stress levels and efficiency.** can confirm that assembling household furniture by yourself can increase your heart rate by 30%, with participants across the UK averaging 104 beats per minute [BPM] during the study. can reveal that Birmingham is the region most likely to struggle with the pressure of DIY, with participants maintaining an average heart rate of 122 BPM throughout the task. This is a 53% increasefrom the UK’s average resting heart rate of 80 BPM, indicating extreme stress.

In second place is York. Participants from this city experienced an average heart rate increase of 46%, with an average of 117 BPM whilst assembling their designated item.

York was followed by London and Manchester who saw a 38% and 30% increase in average heart rate, respectively. The city that is seemingly least impacted by at home assembly is Cambridge, with the lowest average heart rate of 91 BPM, only 14% higher than the average resting heart rate of 80 BPM.

Eager to find out if increased stress levels effect efficiency, experts at asked participants to time themselves during their designated task. can reveal that Manchester is the least efficient when assembling their own furniture at home, maintaining an average assembly time of 2 hours and 12 minutes26.9% longer than the estimated average.

Birmingham ranks as the second least efficient region with an average time of 2 hours and 7 minutes, 22.1% slower than estimated. Ranking as the second slowest region and the region with the highest average heart rate, this study shows residents in Birmingham are not cut out for the pressures of DIY.

The quickest of the lot is Leeds taking an average of 1 hour and 43 minutes to assemble an item, 1% quicker than the estimated assembly time. Ranking as the fastest and the third ‘calmest’ city – this region is seemingly best equipped to make it through lockdown 3.0.


  1. 1,644 participants were surveyed from across the UK. Participants were asked whether they would attempt to assemble household furniture during lockdown and what household furniture they have assembled themselves in the past. The top ten most common items of furniture were selected for the study: bed, bookshelf, cabinet, chair, chest of draws, cot, desk, shoe rack, television stand and wardrobe.
  2. One of the 10 most common items was then sent to each participant along with a timer and heart rate monitor. Participants were asked to record their heart rate throughout the duration of the task and the time it took to complete.
  3. The average recorded assembly time for each city was compared to the average estimated set up time across all 10 household items (1 hour and 44 minutes) to work out percentage increase.
  4. The average beats per minute [BPM] for each respondent was compared to the average BPM in the UK (80 BPM) to work out the percentage increase.


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