Almost half of UK homeowners (45%) are planning home improvements within the next two years according to new research. One in 10 respondents said the cost and difficulty of buying and selling will see them actively put off plans to move in favour of home improvements and over a third (36%) of all respondents aren’t considering a move but have plans to upgrade their home.   

Interior decorating (29%), a new kitchen (23%) and bathroom renovations (21.4%) were the top choices for those planning home improvement works, with new flooring (21%) and new doors (15%) also making the top five. Other planned home improvements include external works like roofing, gutters and external paintwork (14%), new windows (13%), adding or upgrading a downstairs toilet (10%), fitting a new boiler (10%) or new lighting (9%).

The initial findings released as part of the Functional Spaces: Homes for Living research by Häfele UK suggest that despite a challenging start to the year for many businesses in the home improvements sector, factors such as a reduction in energy pricing may be allowing homeowners to invest in their homes once again.

“During Covid lockdowns, there was a huge spike in home improvement projects of all scales and sizes, but more recent economic circumstances have put many plans on hold,” says Natalie Davenport, head of marketing at Häfele UK. “In our survey of 2,000 UK homeowners, however, there are indications that half of households plan to spend on their current property in the coming years.

“The kitchen is a particular area that homeowners are looking to improve, especially as our research found that one in ten people do not like their current kitchen.”

This 2023 Functional Spaces: Homes for Living research builds on a similar study conducted in 2022 by the manufacturer and distributor of furniture fittings, accessories, hardware and ironmongery, that explored the impact of kitchen design on wellbeing and mental health.

This year’s survey uncovered that 81% of homeowners feel they would have an improved quality of life if the biggest issues in their kitchen were resolved – a stark increase of 16% versus the company’s 2022 findings.

Delving into what homeowners most dislike about their kitchen, not enough storage was the most common factor, chosen by 28% of those surveyed. Size was an issue for a quarter of respondents who selected ‘too small’ as their biggest issue. Cluttered worktops (19%), damaged and tired kitchen cabinets (17%) and inaccessible cupboards and shelving (15%) were also frequent problems.

A quarter of consumers selected a style overhaul as the motivator for why they would update or have updated their kitchen. Quality improvements (23%) and lack of storage (19%) were second and third on the list.

Given the cost-of-living crisis and a spike in conversation around rising prices, it’s perhaps unsurprising that budget and the overall cost was the most important factor for those who’ve recently bought or updated their kitchen (34%) and almost half of those who said they need to upgrade their kitchen are worried about the cost to do so. This figure has increased by 6% since Häfele’s 2022 study.

Examining the priorities for those planning a future kitchen upgrade, the top four comprise quality and how long it will last (19%); budget and overall cost (18%); function and usability (14%); and style and how it looks (11%). Almost a quarter of respondents (24%) said they would shop around to get the best functionality for their budget – up 3% versus 2022.

“Our upcoming report sharing more of the findings will outline a multitude of insights that will help those involved in all aspects of home design to create better spaces for the consumer, as well as understand their new priorities and drivers when it comes to purchasing and decision making,” concludes Natalie.

Häfele’s Functional Spaces: Homes for Living report will be available in full later this summer.