Have-a-go Brits save over £1bn by DIYing - top tips to nail home improvements this Bank Holiday weekend

Tuesday 23rd April 2024

As the May Bank Holidays approach and many Brits prepare to spruce up their homes, a new study from Novuna Personal Finance* sheds light on DIY highs and lows for homeowners across the UK.

Although we’re far from a nation of confident DIYers, with less than a third of Brits (32%) considering themselves handy around the house, have-a-go homeowners willing to take on the challenge are saving a jaw dropping £1bn* by undertaking projects themselves rather than calling in the experts.

Novuna’s research, which polled over 2,000 UK homeowners aged 23 to 50, reveals that over half of us admit we lack some of the skills (55%) we need to get stuck in to DIY. This crisis in confidence is stopping millions of Brits tackle home improvements to achieve their dream homes or from adding value to their property.

Flat pack furniture assembly (83%) along with painting and decorating (82%) are the DIY jobs Brits will most readily take on themselves, along with updating fixtures and fittings (73%). In turn, by rolling up their sleeves without calling for the experts, Novuna’s new study shows DIY enthusiasts are saving themselves a whopping £1,000-£5,000.

With the current average property value in the UK at £285k1, and property prices ranging from £158k in the North-East to an average of £500k in London1, an increase of 2% on to your home could generate a £3,000- £10,000 profit. This increase could be achieved by simply redecorating.3

The home improvements Brits most want to make

The home improvements Brits most want to make:

  1. New bathroom (86%)
  2. Fresh paintwork (83%)
  3. Kitchen redesign (81%)
  4. Landscaped garden (78%)
  5. Entranceway (75%)
  6. Solar Panels (69%)
  7. Converted cellar or loft (67%)
  8. Eco Heating System (62%)
  9. Vibrant interior design (47%)
  10. Conservatory (41%)

Theresa Lindsay, Director of Marketing, Novuna Personal Finance, said: “Undertaking bigger DIY projects, like replacing a kitchen or bathroom, could add up to 10% depending on the location of your property. With more retailers offering flexible finance, big ticket projects are also looking more affordable, which should encourage budding DIY enthusiasts to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in.

“But even something as simple as painting and decorating can deliver huge savings, in addition to significantly increasing the value of your property. An interior refresh can make you feel happier at home and will also help the property be more appealing to others when you choose to sell.”

Top tips to nail your DIY this Bank Holiday weekend

#Tip 1: Write down everything you would like to improve
This is the first job to do. Even if you can’t afford or don’t have the time to do everything now, it might be more cost effective to get certain jobs done together, especially if they involve professional trades such as gas and electric work. This sort of work often needs to precede more cosmetic improvements like carpeting or flooring to avoid any costly accidents.

#Tip 2: Estimate the costs of jobs you would like to do
This isn’t always easy to do, but information online can advise whether a job costs hundreds of pounds, thousands, or tens of thousands. Choose whether you want to do a budget, standard or premium upgrade. If you do things on a budget you might be able to get everything done, whereas if you choose premium, it make take a few years or a loan to help you carry out your home improvements. Always have a contingency of 10% for small jobs and 20% for larger jobs. Shop around to get a variety of quotes and estimates, and include a range of large chains, local and independent contractors so you can compare costs.

#Tip 3: Learn what you can do yourself and where you need an expert
Certain home improvement work requires somebody with the competence or qualifications to carry out the work. For example, electrical and gas work. Understand what work you can do yourself and what will need to be signed off by a competent professional. If you employ someone externally, always check they have the right insurance in place should anything go wrong, and ask for a guarantee for the job.

#Tip 4: How ever long you think – or are told – the work will take, double it!
In the UK we have some of the oldest property stock. This means it may have been upgraded several times, especially when it comes to electrics and plumbing. The work required might turn out to be quite simple or very complicated. As a result, a small job can turn into a much bigger one when it comes to improving your home, and you may uncover other jobs that need doing along the way. Don’t forget you might need planning permission and/or sign of from the Building Inspector for certain jobs.

#Tip 5: Find out if the renovations have increased the value of your home
Once the work is finished check with a local agent or qualified surveyor if the improvements have added value to your home, especially if you are looking to sell, remortgage or seek equity release.


The findings are the result of a YouGov omnibus research study conducted from 15 February to 16 February 2024. During this time, 2,040 UK homeowners aged 23 to 50 were surveyed.

*Respondents were invited to provide an estimated figure of how much money (£GBP) that they have saved by doing home improvements themselves. The £1bn figure was calculated by taking the lower end figure from the most popular cost bracket (15% saving between £1,001 to £2,500 on DIY), scaling this by UK homeowners aged 23 to 50 according to research by ONS and Statista, to determine the cost accumulated by 15% of UK homeowners.

Full calculations can be made available on request.

1 https://landregistry.data.gov.uk/app/ukhpi/

2 https://www.your-move.co.uk/blog/best-month-to-list-your-property

3 https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-improving/how-to-add-value-to-your-home/