Which Home Improvement Projects Are Most Popular in 2021?

Good news, contractors: Home improvement spending is expected to rise in 2021, and the majority of home owners are planning to hire out for some or all of the work.

Home improvement, which gained massive popularity during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, is showing no signs of slowing down.

A recent survey by Axiom, a Minneapolis, Minn. marketing firm, asked consumers about their recent projects, accomplishments and home improvement plans for 2021. More than 90 percent of DIYers said they plan to spend as much or more time on home projects in 2021 compared to last year, according to Axiom’s Homefront Insights Survey.

“There’s an appetite for learning and a sense of when it’s time to bring in help to get the job done,” said Stacy Einck, building products practice lead at Axiom.

Continued growth in home improvement popularity is a positive sign for professionals, according to Einck. The study said 56 percent of respondents intend on hiring a professional for all or part of projects. Forty-four percent of surveyors said they were planning more complex projects in 2021, while 40 percent answered maybe and only 16 percent said they were not planning for more difficult projects.

“Homeowners said they definitely gained confidence in their own skills because of what they accomplished last year,” Einck said. “Once you know how to do something and believe you can handle the work, it becomes a big motivator to dive into the next project.”

Which Planned Projects Are Most Common?

Yard and landscape work was the most popular answer by Axiom’s survey responders, with 31 percent saying they intend to work on their outdoor area. Twenty-five percent said they plan on fixing or building a deck/patio.  At-home entertainment areas have been in increased demand with bars and restaurants shut down at times during the pandemic.

“Use of space has shifted,” Einck said. “We’re hearing of more multi-use space and building out nooks in unexpected places for work and study. As people adapt their current living space, the idea of moving becomes less and less likely.”

Here are the most popular survey responses:

  1. Yard/Landscape: 35 percent;
  2. Bathroom: 31 percent;
  3. Kitchen: 27 percent;
  4. Bedroom: 26 percent;
  5. Deck/Patio: 25 percent;
  6. Office: 16 percent.

Note: The percentages do not equal 100 percent as some responders are planning multiple projects.

When Are Home Improvement Projects Planned?

Nearly 40 percent of homeowners said they plan to start their first 2021 home improvement project in March or April. Approximately 24 percent listed the first two months of the year, while more than 85 percent suggested the first half. Roughly six percent of respondents said they aren’t planning any projects.. Here’s what projects have the best cost vs. value.

Building a sturdy Deck Gettyimages 964176964Avalon_Studio/Getty Images

Who Is Doing the Work?

Approximately 57 percent of survey responders between the ages of 19 and 55 said they planned to DIY a project. compared to 39 percent by those 56 or older, according to Axiom. Those numbers reflect Axiom’s question on expertise.

Only five percent of those older than 55 considered themselves DIY experts. Those numbers rose to 22 percent in the 40-55 age demographic, 39 percent for those 29 to 39, and 37 percent between 19 and 28. The survey said those under 55 are also twice as likely to take on a difficult project.

Here’s how surveyors said they were planning to complete their 2021 projects:

  1. DIY: 50 percent;
  2. Hire a professional contractor: 31 percent;
  3. DIY with some professional help: 25 percent;
  4. DIY w/a family member: 19 percent;
  5. DIY w/a friend or neighbor: Five percent;
  6. Other: Two percent.

Note: The responses do not total 100 percent as the survey allowed for multiple responses.

home inspection contractorSean Locke Photography/Shutterstock

How Much Are People Willing to Spend?

Approximately 64 percent of projects planned for 2021 are expected to cost more than $1,000. The most popular range was between $1,001 to $2,500.

  • Up to $500: 16 percent;
  • $501 to $1,000: 20 percent;
  • $1,001 to $2,500: 22 percent;
  • $2,501 to $5,000: 20 percent;
  • $5,001 to $10,000: 14 percent;
  • More than $10,000: Eight percent.

You can read the complete survey here. Other questions answered in the survey included the age, marital status, home owner status and geographical location of responders.

Alex Shoemaker
Alex Shoemaker is the Digital Newsletter Editor of Family Handyman.