Home Improvement in the 21st Century

Home improvement is the process of making changes to a property, such as improving its looks or repairing damage. These projects often increase the value of a house or make it more livable. They can also add comfort and enjoyment for the homeowner. Many projects can be done by the homeowner, but some, such as electrical work and installing heating systems, should be left to professionals.

The concept of home improvement has evolved over the years, from a focus on repair to a more generalized effort to improve a residence. Some of the earliest improvements were made after World War II, when returning veterans took advantage of government mortgage insurance programs to buy homes and build new ones. These policies helped fuel the housing boom of the 1950s and 1960s, leading to a proliferation of suburban housing with standardized features.

In the 21st century, home improvement has been boosted by a number of factors. Low interest rates make the cost of borrowing money to finance renovations more affordable, and homeowners have a strong desire to invest in their living spaces. Some of the most popular home improvement projects in recent years have involved outdoor activities. Deck construction has surged more than threefold, while fence construction is up nearly as much.

Despite concerns about an impending recession, most homeowners feel confident they can comfortably afford to complete their planned home improvements without having to tap into savings or take on debt. In fact, 42% of homeowners surveyed by NerdWallet say they’re able to pay for the majority of their remodeling projects without tapping into savings or going into debt.

However, it’s important to remember that not all home improvements are created equal. Some will not increase a home’s value at all, and some may even decrease its value. This is especially true if the project is overly personalized or doesn’t fit in with the style of other houses on the block.

Some of the best home improvement projects to undertake are those that increase a house’s energy efficiency or help lower utility bills. Installing a smart thermostat, for example, can save homeowners money and reduce their home’s carbon footprint.

Home improvement has become a national pastime that is popular among people of all ages and backgrounds. It has been bolstered by the popularity of television shows that follow the step-by-step renovation of historic homes, as well as a growing interest in craftsmanship.

Homeowners can also use online tools to plan and execute their projects. 3D modeling and design software like Floorplanner can be helpful for planning a room addition, for instance. It’s important to remember, though, that unless you have experience with electric and plumbing work, it’s typically best to leave those jobs to professionals. Homeowners should always weigh the pros and cons of taking on a big DIY project before signing on the dotted line.