DIY is back and booming.
On TikTok, the #homediyproject tag has 172.5 million views, with videos garnering thousands of likes and comments, while Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest offer a plethora of helpful hints, tips and tutorials showing just how accessible DIY can be.
We have a collective appetite for content around DIY, but this interest is not new.
The popularity of DIY culture dates back to the 50s and 60s, but there have been signs of it throughout the 1900s. For example, later in the 1970s, it was associated with the punk movement.
It has always had the power to save us money and breathe new life into the space in the home – which is perhaps why we are so embracing it today, given the pandemic, working from home and the rising cost of living.
These reasons played into why Natalie, 32, decided to start doing odd jobs in her new home.
“Before I bought our first home, I had never hung a picture,” she says.
‘I had never painted a wall before. I could just about replace a light bulb.
“We started doing odd jobs when we bought our flat because there was quite a bit of work to do and we needed to save money on the renovation.
“The pandemic and lockdowns have certainly made us much more obsessed with our living space.
“We’re really thinking more about how to make the most of our space now and want it to be a place we really enjoy being, so that definitely influenced our DIY decisions.”
She wasn’t confident at first without calling in a professional, but her “more frugal” partner was determined to save them money.
Natalie adds: “He also had more time to search YouTube because of his work schedule, so he did most of the planning.
“He convinced me to try the basics first because I would rather have paid someone to do everything.”
Together they used YouTube for guidance, and Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.
DIY can seem scary to a beginner, as Natalie found out. “I was so afraid that I would do it wrong and make a terrible mistake.
“And I actually painted the room the wrong color after literally spending seven hours on it — and I cried a lot about that. But it was actually easy to just paint over.
“I was also concerned about filling holes and chips, or hanging shelves—anything I had no experience with. But I’ve learned that every mistake can be corrected.’
Now that she had successfully transformed her home, she would go back to DIY in the future and face it with much more confidence.
Many of us are feeling more confident, it seems, as Pinterest data shows that the number of DIY searches has increased both in the past year and in the past month.
The number of searches for “diy home decor easy” has increased 3.5 times and “diy bathroom storage ideas”, for example, is 10 times higher between 2021 and 2022.
Even more telling is that this year the Museum of Making has a new exhibition in collaboration with the BBC, all aimed at ‘presenting Britain’s obsession with DIY’.
It’s happening now for a reason.
Retail trend analyst at Salience Search Marketing, Michael Robinson, says: ‘It’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the current DIY boom, maybe it’s the inevitable impact of spending nearly two years at home, or maybe the current economic uncertainty that we are trying to pay for more interior tasks ourselves instead of the professionals.
Inspirational content on sites like TikTok will have played a part in turning Gen Z into DIY and home improvement projects. The DIY hashtag currently has a mega-164.8 billion views – proving how popular this type of content is.”
He says interest in DIY is “unusually high” this spring, but peaks in the spring and fall as people prepare for a new season.
Michael believes the interest will continue, saying: ‘Financially things are looking rather bleak and more and more households are feeling the pressure of the cost of living which means hiring professionals is much less affordable.
In addition, the internet is full of expert guides and DIY tutorials on YouTube or TikTok, or in-depth written guides for many DIY projects.
“We are certainly seeing an increasing number of consumers conducting DIY related online searches, whether they are hoping to purchase DIY materials online or looking for guides or tutorials, for most of us Google is the first place we go when we start on a new project.’
Kitchens and pergolas are common areas where people are currently looking for DIY tips.
Besides saving money, DIY can also give us a great sense of accomplishment.
Yatna, an NHS staff member, has recently decorated her new place with a do-it-yourself mentality.
She says, “I wanted to do as much as possible to keep costs down and feel like I was doing it myself.
‘You can’t always be sure of professionals, some try to cheat you.
“I have quite a bit of experience as I’ve owned my own house before and had to do odd jobs there, but I’ve also had help from friends who have done their own remodeling.
“What’s also nice is that you can do it on your own time and not have to wait for someone to come and do it for you.”
Since many of us have DIY in our hands, it’s clear that the benefits are many – and it can be stimulating to see DIY this way.
However, we cannot deny the context in which this boom has grown: DIY is very much a symptom of our austere times.
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