Why are homeowners spending so much on home improvements?

Why are homeowners spending so much on home improvements?

Online estate agent Tepilo outlines how much British homeowners are spending on home improvements and why carrying out work can add value to a home.

For sellers, improving your home before you list it is an excellent way of potentially increasing its value.

Recent research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the HomeOwners Alliance (HOA) found that considerable value could be added to a home in a few short steps, whether it be creating a garden room or playroom, the addition of an extra toilet, simple kitchen improvements or converting a master bedroom so it includes an en-suite bathroom.

We’ve also seen how keeping up with the latest interior design trends – from tiles and wooden features to wall art and upcycled furniture – could help sellers to sell their home for more.

And now, with April playing host to National Home Improvement Month, trade body NAEA Propertymark has outlined just how much British homeowners are spending on improving their homes.

Over the last five years, homeowners in the UK have spent a total of £41 billion smartening or jazzing up their homes, equivalent to an average of £1,875 per household.

Some 73% of homeowners have made adjustments to their homes in the last five years, with the most popular improvements being redecoration (73%), garden landscaping (54%), the addition of new flooring (39%) and bathroom refreshment (31%).

How much is this costing?

Home improvements aren’t always cheap, particularly for those carrying out larger-scale projects. But this is often offset by the increase in value to a property that home improvements can bring.

If you’ve recently invested in a new bathroom, bedroom or kitchen, for example, they would all be major selling points if you decided to sell. The same could also be said for a loft conversion, an extension, a garage renovation, a driveway or a garden that has undergone a complete makeover.

A new kitchen is likely to set you back £5,016 on average, while installing a conservatory typically costs homeowners £4,310. Extending into the loft or basement, meanwhile, will usually come with a price tag of around £3,244. Quite a cost, then, but not an insurmountable one, and also one that could bring significant long-term rewards by allowing you to set a higher asking price when selling.

Why do people improve their homes?

While most (61%) home improvers carry out the works to improve the aesthetic appeal of their homes (in itself another selling point, as homes that look the part will be more attractive to buyers), NAEA’s research also found that a quarter do up their property to add value. They see home improvements as an investment which will increase the long-term value of their home.

Many homeowners have aspirations to do more to their properties, with 39% eager to redecorate in the future, while 28% said they want to install a new kitchen. A smaller proportion have more grand plans, with 6% keen to build a home gym or home cinema, while 4% would like to one day build a swimming pool in their back garden.

As well as the value and sale potential improvements can add, a spruced up home will be far more appealing to buyers than a worn or tired one. Improvements that create space, a sense of privacy or a brilliant first impression are likely to gain the most traction and add the most value.

If you’re looking to sell your home soon and are keen to make improvements before you list, remember not to make any new décor too personalised or garish – neutral and subtle is always the best way to go.

Top tips to improve your home’s value

Below, with the help of NAEA Propertymark, we take a quick look at the best home improvements to grow the value of your property. 

Upgrade your bathroom

Simple (and cheap) ways of improving your bathroom include re-grouting, eradicating all limescale and replacing taps, while it’s vital that this space – arguably more than any other – is kept fresh, clean and free from damp and mould.

If you choose to redecorate your bathroom, remember to opt for cool, neutral shades, and replace all old or worn-looking shower curtains with a new and improved one or a simple glass screen.

Smarten up your garden

Outdoor space takes on increasing importance as we motor towards summer, and it’s also the case that a smart, well-maintained, easy on the eye garden can add considerable value to your home. Getting it up to scratch won’t take much time, money or effort – simply clear pathways, prune the bushes, cut back any overgrown trees, mow the lawns, trim borders and plant some colourful, seasonal flowers.

Make sure to make use of your garden space – it should be an extension of your home, and a great place for relaxation and entertaining guests, rather than just some grass and a few trees.

Make a good first impression

If your front door is, for whatever reason, likely to deter would-be buyers, you need to change it. It is, after all, the first thing they’ll see. If you don’t want to replace it (or can’t afford to), give it a fresh lick of paint or a quick power wash.

Add a driveway

A great way to add value to a home, especially in parts of the country where parking is at a premium, a driveway will have considerable appeal to many would-be buyers and is a home improvement project with one of the quickest turnaround times.

Double glaze and open up space

If your home isn’t already double glazed, this can be a great way of adding value. Double glazed windows not only keep the warmth in, they also keep the noise out – a total dream for those living on noisy, busy roads.  

In addition, opening up living space – so, for example, the kitchen and dining room can operate as one large room – could help to make your home sociable.


The most popular home improvement (and it’s not surprising given the low cost and hassle involved), a quick lick of paint or a change of wallpaper can do wonders for a home.

Kitchen makeovers (new cupboard handles, new worktops, new tiling) and energy efficient appliances can also help to increase the value of your home, while a loft conversion is a much more expensive home improvement that bring the greatest long-term rewards. You will, though, need planning permission if you want to convert your loft. 

Home improvements won’t guarantee the sale of your home or a higher asking price, but they will make these goals easier to achieve.