Home Improvement

As we are now spending an exceptional amount of time at home, it feels only natural that we would look for ways to make our environment more pleasant. Suddenly the fading paint, peeling wallpaper, or fraying rug bothers us more than it used to. And, once we get in the home-improvement spirit, we may have the itch to keep going. Many people are turning to DIY projects or home décor refreshes for a rewarding quarantine project.

Between mid-February and mid-March, foot traffic in hardware stores rose 26% in the US, as people began to get wind of the coming lockdowns. As these stores closed to the public, in line with government regulations, the demand moved online. The momentum was so swift however, that many businesses were left wading through backlogs of orders. In Ireland, Woodies was forced to streamline its online product offering and halt paint sales, an especially desired product, just to keep up. Upon reopening stores last week, Woodie’s CEO, Declan Ronayne, told the TheJournal.ie that people appeared to have come into stores prepared. The average transaction value was much higher than usual as people bought in large quantities and with specific projects in mind. There has also been a practical side of these home projects as well, as people were forced to quickly adapt their space to be a home office or classroom. Overstock.com told The Washington Post that sales of home office furniture are up more than 100% since the lockdowns began. While this way of life continues, we can expect this retrofitting trend to continue.

Thanks to Zoom, people are now catching previous unseen glimpses of the living spaces of their colleagues—or even newscasters and celebrities, as they too work from home.  This has encouraged people to spruce up bookshelves or make decorating adjustments to stage a more flattering videocall backdrop. It has also made them more conscious of what their home says about them generally. Pinterest, where home inspiration is a central category, has reported some of the highest site traffic in their company’s history during the last months. This is also reflected in the outpouring of articles from magazines and newspapers offering advice on everything from rearranging furniture to picking the right paint colour.  The Irish Times is even asking readers to send in photos of their lockdown home improvement projects. One hot ‘pandecorating’ item for renters is peel-and-stick wallpaper. Google searches for the term are now at their highest levels ever. Chasing Paper, a removable wallpaper brand, has reported a 30%  increase since lockdown.

The pandemic has made the situation outside our front door feel out of our control. Faced with a barrage of daily statistics, unemployment, and literally having to wear a mask, people may be suffering a loss of individuality. Asserting a personal touch in our living spaces can be a cathartic way to process these feelings. Our homes have also become our precious refuge from the world in a more serious way. For many people, this new appreciation is awakening a ‘house-proud’ side of themselves. Additionally, as our physical world has shrunk to a 5k radius, our homes must now serve a greater spectrum of emotional roles. As the home takes on new meaning, a new chapter of interiors trends is being forged before our eyes. Brands in this space should observe what home projects consumers are sharing on social media now for a sign of what is to come.


Sean Mitchell

Author at Pynck

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