From Google to TikTok, the internet reigns supreme when it comes to searching for consultation on most things. Ever our advice-giver, Google acts as a useful handbook for any aspiring DIY-er, providing in-depth tutorials from YouTube, TikTok, and home improvement blogs. This was especially useful during the pandemic when people noticed the parts of their homes they wanted to spruce up, but couldn’t access professionals and had extra time on their hands. Now, with the cost of living crisis looming, DIY offers home improvement enthusiasts the option of bettering their home at a fraction of the price, and they’re turning to Google for tips and tricks.
Research shows that most respondents carried out DIY themselves or enlisted help from their partner, family, friends, or housemates to get the task done. While just 15% of people said that they don’t do DIY, or that it’s usually carried out by a professional. With this in mind, Cut Plastic Sheeting wanted to discover which DIY projects the UK population was turning to for advice, and which ones they were considering starting. As such, we’ve analysed Google search volume to paint a picture of the tasks around the home we’re planning to start or in the midst of.
Data from 2019 shows that while Brits were confident in completing activities such as painting and decoration (85% of respondents), and assembling and installing furniture (82%), they were much less confident with tasks such as plumbing (25%), electrical work (25%) and building work (17%). While some of the most popular search queries were in areas where DIY-ers feel less confident, there was a surprising number of simple tasks within the top 20, and even top 10, largely related to DIY mishaps.
Just a quarter of the projects in our top 20 were related to the projects that Brits feel less comfortable with, however some of these also ranked the highest in our list. Coming out on top was ‘how to build a pergola’ (3,700 monthly searches), with many people seeking guidance on how to create the ideal outdoor space for entertaining in the warmer months. Additionally, coming in at fourth position was ‘how to build a deck’ (3,000 monthly searches), with DIY-ers taking to the internet for instructions on how to build decking that would last and add to their outdoor entertainment space.
Some of the more surprising search queries were around painting (and paint-related mishaps!), while these may be the tasks that people are more confident in taking on themselves, there was no shortage of questions for Google on more vague topics like ‘how to paint a room’ (2,800 monthly searches ) and more specific ones like ‘how to paint kitchen cabinets’ (2,100 monthly searches) and ‘how to paint new plaster’ (1,200 monthly searches). It’s clear that while Brits may have been confident in undertaking these activities, that’s not without some hiccups along the way. The second most searched query was ‘how to get paint out of clothes’ (3,600 monthly searches) and the seventh most searched was ‘how to get paint out of carpet’ (2,500 monthly searches).
Our research also showed that DIY-ers also had a green finger when it came to their DIY projects, with queries like ‘how to build a large concrete planter box’ (1,200 monthly searches) coming just in the top 20, solidified by ‘diy greenhouse’ (1,400 monthly searches) ranking third on potential DIY projects. Garden projects took off during the pandemic and show no sign in stopping as households increasingly plant their own fruit and vegetables as side projects and leisure activities. Increasing numbers of people are turning to old windows and clear perspex sheeting to build greenhouses and cold frames at home, rather than seeking professional assistance.
But, DIY didn’t stop outside, and with the kitchen being the heart of many homes, our research found that this was at the top of the DIY project list. We found that DIY kitchen projects continued to come out on top in monthly search volume, at 21,000 average searches. 34% of respondents in Statista research between 2017 and 2020 were actively working on their kitchens, whether this takes the form of entire kitchen renovations, or more specific projects like ‘diy kitchen cabinets’ (900 monthly searches) which also ranked within the top 5, ‘diy kitchen island’ projects (600 monthly searches), and ‘diy dining tables’ (450 monthly searches).
Ranking in second position according to search volume was ‘diy panelling’ (2,500 monthly searches). MDF panelling has been popularised as a simple way of elevating interiors, with numerous accounts across TikTok demonstrating DIY tutorials and ways of installing panelling. Additional simple projects such as creating a ‘diy coffee table’ (500 monthly searches) ranked just outside of the top 10. Again, social media has been instrumental in sparking interest in projects like these, with people taking to TikTok to show how they’ve created custom coffee tables out of clear plastic sheeting that has ridges to hold magazines and create a high-end, minimalist feel on a budget.
After gaining confidence in DIY projects over the past couple of years out of necessity, we predict that people in the UK will continue to assess whether projects can be done without professional help to cut back on costs. This is further exemplified by the fact that the worldwide home improvement market value is set to reach $1010 billion within the next 5 years, showing that the public is increasingly willing to make improvements by themselves. Social media has also given rise to trending videos within niches unseen before, for example within the DIY sector, popularising quick, economical fixes that elevate home interiors, and even add an extra element to gardens. TikTok trends around slow living and wellbeing also emphasise the importance of connecting with nature and creating a slice of relaxation by tending to your garden, creating a wealth of garden tutorial videos and DIYs.
We found the most popular keywords relating to home improvements and DIY and analysed UK average search volume, ranking the keywords and queries based on the number of searches. Data was taken in November 2022.