Lockdown Homes under the Hammer

  • Two in every five Brits believe lockdown has improved their DIY skills 
  • Nearly half intend to get their home valued post-lockdown to see if their efforts have increased their property’s value
  • Savvy DIY-ers believe they have added an average £21,000 to their property’s value, according to research from Barclays Mortgages
  • Interiors expert Kate Watson-Smyth gives her top tips on the best tasks to tackle

Enterprising home-owners across the UK are tapping into a new-found passion for DIY during lockdown in a bid to boost the value of their property. According to new research from Barclays Mortgages, Brits have dedicated an average four days each to home and garden DIY tasks in lockdown so far, with approaching half (44 per cent) saying they’ll get their home re-valued once restrictions lift to see how much their endeavours have increased the value of their property.

Despite the current pause on in-person valuations, budding DIY-ers estimate that their efforts have added an average £21,000 to the value of their home, with the average male confidently estimating they have increased their property value by as much as £28,000.

The lockdown restrictions have driven Brits to nail down the tasks that normally elude them, with over half (54 per cent) confessing they are using the extra hours spent at home as an opportunity to tackle the jobs they have been putting off for months, or even years.

Lee Chiswell, Head of Barclays Mortgages commented, “The national lockdown has meant people have taken the opportunity to consider how they can increase their property’s value with a bit of DIY. It’s a savvy decision to invest this time improving your property and get those jobs that have been on your list for a while done and dusted.”

Some of the most popular jobs being tackled include the relatively straightforward tasks of general gardening and mowing the lawn, hanging paintings and pictures or creating a vegetable patch. Others are more ambitious, including painting and decorating, felling trees and renovating gardens. One in ten (11 per cent) of respondents even said they had painted their property’s exterior, a job which could make a big difference to their home’s saleability given researcg showing that 35 per cent of buyers make their decision based purely on outward appearances.

Top ten DIY jobs Brits are tackling during lockdown:

  1. General gardening (37 per cent)
  2. Mowing the lawn (34 per cent)
  3. Painting and decorating (33 per cent)
  4. Renovating back garden (23 per cent)
  5. Trimming hedges (18 per cent)
  6. Renovating front garden (17 per cent)
  7. Hanging paintings or pictures (15 per cent)
  8. Felling or trimming trees (15 per cent)
  9. Creating a vegetable patch (14 per cent)
  10. Fixing or building a fence (14 per cent)

The inspiration and practical help on how to achieve these tasks is being sought from a range of different places. Brits cite their partners as their biggest source of inspiration (24 per cent), followed by garden improvement shows (12 per cent), interiors influencers (11 per cent) and home improvement websites (11 per cent).

Barclays Mortgages has teamed up with interiors expert Kate Watson-Smyth to share her top tips on the best tasks to tackle during lockdown.

Kate Watson-Smyth, commented: “The best task to tackle during lockdown is something you know you can finish. There is no point deciding you are going to install a new fence or build a shed or paint the outside of the house only to get halfway through and give up. That is what interior design TV shows are made of. Instead, pick smaller jobs that will have bigger impact and you are certain to complete: painting a ceiling, redoing the woodwork, making some new cushion covers or blinds.”

  1. Paint your ceilings
    Not for nothing is the ceiling often called the fifth wall. When you have spent so much time agonising over colours for the walls why spoil it by sticking white on the ceiling? You don’t wear a white top with everything in your wardrobe so take time to think about which colour would really compliment the walls. This might be the same in a small room to make it look bigger, perhaps a pale version of the same wall shade or even a soft contrast – a very pale pink with green, blue or chocolate walls. Although you can paint ceilings in matt emulsion, try using an eggshell or even a gloss with a sheen to bounce the light around.
  2. Paint your woodwork to match your walls
    The Georgians always matched wood and walls so it’s not a new idea, although after years of white woodwork it now looks modern again. This will create a calming effect as lots of white lines distracts the eye and draws attention to the edges of the room. This technique can make the walls look taller and, therefore, the ceiling higher – but make sure you use eggshell or gloss paint to stick to the wood.
  3. Paint that cheap table you bought
    Most of the best DIY tips involve paint as it’s a really affordable way to make a difference. If you have a table that you bought at a junk shop or car boot sale then you can create something bespoke and individual with a tin of chalk paint. Or you could simply paint the legs of your kitchen table.
  4. Remake some blinds by re-using the old parts
    Window dressings are often expensive as so many of us have windows that aren’t standard sizes. If you have a blind that you no longer like, or that doesn’t go with the décor, try taking it apart and re-using the mechanisms so that all you have to do is re-make the material part.
  5. Make some cushions covers with remnants
    Sewing cushions is fairly straightforward as it’s all straight lines. You can also have the back and front in different fabric so it’s as if you have twice as many cushions. If you don’t have a fabric remnant that is large enough, try sewing a few together to create a colour block or patchwork effect. If you aren’t confident sewing a zip (you need a special foot on the sewing machine for that) then make an envelope cover like a pillow case or a couple of large buttons. Again, you can buttonhole by hand if you don’t have the right attachment on your sewing machine.
  6. Recover a simple drum lampshade
    You can buy lampshade kits but if you have a simple drum shade that, again, you would like to refresh, then you can simply glue some different material over the top and attach with pegs while it dries. Bear in mind it might not give out as much light as before so choose a light fabric. But it will still give direct light from the top and bottom rather than a gentle ambient and diffused glow.
  7. Paint those tiles you always hated or redo the splashback
    Tiles can be expensive and messy to replace and you will probably need a skilled tradesperson to help you. But, you can paint tiles using simple bowls or a ruler to create a new pattern. You will need at least two coats and allow them to dry fully. To fully protect the tiles afterwards you will need to add a layer of lacquer which takes up to 14 days to fully cure.
  8. Create a gallery wall with photos from your phone to print
    How many of us have thousands of pictures on our phones that just sit there taking up space? Why not use the current time to download and print a few and create a gallery wall in your home? A staircase is a great place to start as you don’t have to worry about straight lines. You can either match all the frames and have different sizes or choose a variety of black, wood and gold or coloured frames and create an organic pattern on your wall. Try laying them out on the floor first to get a feel for the overall look.
  9. Change your cupboard handles
    Refreshing the handles can be a simple but effective way to update your kitchen cupboards or a chest of drawers. The easy way is to choose handles that are the same size as the existing ones so you can replace like for like. If you want something different then you will need to be prepared to fill the old holes, sand them down and paint over before drilling new holes for your new handles.
  10. Paint the edges of the doors to create interest

This is a really good way to add a bit of interest without going overboard. Carefully stick frog tape to the edges of the door on both sides and paint the edge in a bold colour so that you only see it when the door is open. You can match the colour of the room the door opens into or add a bright totally contrasting shade for fun.