A devastating drop in the numbers of people choosing to employ contractors to do home improvement work has been widely documented in the press. Cash strapped home owners are choosing not to spend money on their homes as the recession bites. It is believed that the reluctance to spend money on home-based projects is related to fears that when completed, the work will not add as much value to their property as it costs to carry out.
The knock-on effect of this shift in the home improvement industry has been terrible for self-employed, skilled workers such as interior designers and builders. However, according to some experts it has created a small boom in the DIY and Green sectors of home enhancement and design. “Going green and the DIY movement are what’s hot in home improvement,” according to an American TV presenter named Ty Pennington who works on a famous home improvement show.
The presenter on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in the US, Ty Pennington, also told US reporters that: “There are still many ways to upgrade without blowing the budget. In a kitchen remodel, a homeowner could save money by switching the hardware instead of replacing all of the cabinetry, and putting in tile instead of granite counters to replace the Formica.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Othman, a writer for several interior design websites told us: “People are happy to invest in second hand furniture if it is well made. They no longer see any point in buying substandard flat-pack furniture made of MDF because it breaks easily and is practically disposable, instead they look for solid, sustainable pieces which they can hand down to their children and grand children.”
She added: “Recycling old furniture by painting it, visiting Ebay and Gumtree and even looking in the local paper [to buy furniture] are all ways that people are trying to save money. They’re also conscious that by purchasing old pieces of furniture [instead of new ones] they will have less impact on the environment.”