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A year in home improvements

We researched the top home improvement trends of the last year to find out how people have been loving the place they live over the past 12 months.

The past year has been like no other. In 2020, socialising, holidays and other things we take for granted have taken a back seat as we’ve spent large swathes of the year at home.

A year in home improvements
A year in home improvements

As a result of spending more time inside, Brits have been finding ways to make their house a home, with the demand for improvements and renovation on the rise.

We analysed Google search data from the past 12 months to find out what trends people have been turning towards as they look to give their house a new lease of life. So, if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, check out some of the biggest improvement trends in the UK for 2020.

We’ve looked at some of the most prominent focus areas for home improvements and the types of work people have been carrying out this year, to see what’s hot in the world of renovation.

Social spaces

One of the biggest changes in the way we live in 2020 has been the restrictions placed on socialising during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we once took for granted the ability to pop round to a friend’s house for a cup of tea and a chat, for large parts of 2020, it’s not been possible.

Enterprising Brits have looked for ways around this and engaged their imaginations to ensure their gardens are in tip top shape for permitted visits from loved ones.

Of the ten home improvements that have seen the greatest increase in interest for the past year, five relate to the exterior of the house. A handful of these are specifically dedicated to raising the wow factor of the garden and making sure it’s the perfect place to kick back safely with friends and family.

Over the course of the year, there were more than a million searches for decking, a rise of 173% on the year before.

Patios have also proven popular, with the number of searches more than doubling in just a year, while searches for summer houses have risen 173%, showing just how highly homeowners value a little bit of comfort and a space to host guests in their garden.

Kerb appeal 

Whether you’re selling your home now or just want to have a place to be proud of, there are few things more important than kerb appeal – the first impression people get of your house.

This has been one of the biggest priorities for homeowners in 2020, who have increasingly looked to spruce up the exterior of their home to make it pop and stand out from the rest of the street.

According to our data, laying a new driveway is one of the most popular ways to improve the home this year, with a rise of 85% in the number of people searching for this type of work. There was also an 82% jump in the volume of searches around garden landscaping, with people clearly looking to give their home a complete makeover both inside and out.

Kitchen storage

The kitchen is the heart of the home, where you cook those delicious meals and bring the family together to eat and catch up on your day. But it’s also the epicentre of one of the hottest trends in 2020 home improvements.

The humble kitchen cupboard is apparently a thing of the past – with Brits being inspired by Instagrammers and Pinterest boards aplenty to install a vintage walk-in pantry in their kitchen.

Our data shows that over the course of a year, the number of people searching for inspiration by adding a pantry to their kitchen rose by nearly 70%, as homeowners look for fresh ways to bring a little bit of flair to their homes.

Green energy 

Whether it’s budget-conscious homeowners or the increasing awareness of the need for greener approaches, eco-friendly homeowners have been turning more often to energy efficient home improvements in the past year.

In what’s been a difficult year, cutting energy bills may be top of the priority list for many, and that all starts with green upgrades in the home.

Data shows that energy efficient doors have seen the biggest jump in search over the past year. The number of searches for new doors that retain your home’s heat was 3,100% higher than 12 months earlier. And it’s not the only green venture Brits are turning to.

From double glazing that helps reduce heat loss to floor insulation that can lower the need for central heating in winter, our research shows that four of the top ten most popular home improvement jobs this year have a green angle.

Other popular green investments for homeowners include the return to popularity of solar panels for energy generation and new double-glazed windows.

Whether you want to give your home and garden a boost in kerb appeal or fancy injecting a little green energy into your property, there’s never been a better time to make your house a home. Take a look at our home improvement loan offering to see how we can help you finance your next project.


Google search data relating to a range of green home improvements and large-scale home improvements were analysed. The search data looks at October 2019 to September 2020.

The data looked at search volume % increase from Oct 2019 – Sep 2020, as well as total number of searches for the time period.


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