Homeowners worked on a variety of outdoor projects last year. In 2020, a larger share focused their attention on improving their landscaping than did so in 2019. The percentage of people making updates to garden beds and borders increased year over year, from 27% to 35%. The share who upgraded lawns rose from 17% to 20%. And a significant share of homeowners updated a patio or terrace (15%), outdoor lighting (21%) and irrigation (14%).
Shade, storage and features for cooking can make an outdoor area more functional or enjoyable. The share of homeowners updating these types of outdoor structures rose slightly year over year. Projects included sheds or workshops (which rose from 8% to 9%), gazebos or pergolas (from 5% to 6%) and built-in kitchens (from 2% to 3%).
Many homeowners turned to decks, porches and balconies as a way to make their outdoor spaces more appealing. The share of homeowners updating one of these outdoor features increased slightly year over year.
Homeowner spending on decks, porches and balconies also increased. The median spending on decks jumped year over year (from $2,000 to $2,500), while spending on a porch or balcony also increased (from $1,200 to $1,500).
“Median spending” means half of homeowners spent more and half spent less than that figure. Economists like to reference the median figure rather than the average because the average can be skewed by a number of factors. The median should not be interpreted as the likely cost of a project. The cost to remodel varies widely by location and project scope and can be much higher in some metropolitan areas and for major remodels.
Furniture, lighting, pillows and other decor items make an outdoor area more inviting and comfortable. And as the share of homeowners tackling outdoor projects rose, so did the share of homeowners who bought outdoor decor products.
The percentage of homeowners who bought fire features, such as fire pits and fireplaces, increased year over year (from 11% to 16%), as did the share of people who bought large outdoor furniture (from 21% to 25%).
The share of homeowners who bought small furniture, lighting, pillows and throws, rugs and water features for their outdoor spaces all rose slightly as well.
And with more homeowners making updates to landscaping, they bought more lawn and garden supplies last year (48%) than in the previous year (44%).
Some homeowners integrated smart tech products into their outdoor areas. The percentage of homeowners who bought smart outdoor light fixtures jumped (from 4% to 7%), while those who bought smart security cameras increased slightly (from 17% to 19%).
While outdoor projects grabbed a lot of attention last year, kitchens are the heart of the home for most people. More than a quarter (27%) of homeowners said they renovated or added a kitchen in 2020. And kitchen improvements captured the most renovation spending last year, as they did in 2019.
Overall median spending on kitchens ($12,000) remained the same year over year. But homeowners spent more to tackle major updates to larger kitchens.
Median spending on major renovations — in which at least all the cabinets and appliances were replaced — to kitchens over 200 square feet climbed to $40,000 last year from $35,000 in 2019.
Homeowners remodeling a smaller kitchen spent less last year than in 2019. Median spending on major renovations to kitchens of less than 200 square feet fell to $20,000 from $24,000.
Bathroom Spending Bounces Up
After kitchens, homeowners spend the most on renovations to bathrooms. And similar to kitchens, overall median spending on master bathroom remodels held steady year over year, at $8,000. But spending jumped for major bathroom renovations, in which at least the cabinetry and vanity, countertops and toilet were replaced.
For major renovations to master bathrooms larger than 100 square feet, median spending rose from $17,000 to $18,000.
For major renovations to master bathrooms of less than 100 square feet, median spending jumped from $10,000 to $12,000.
Many homeowners skipped eating out at restaurants during the pandemic, and perhaps that resulted in some diverting more funds to improving their dining rooms. Median spending on dining rooms rose year over year (from $1,200 to $1,500).
Many homeowners who found themselves working from home last year decided to rethink their home office setups. The share of homeowners updating a home office, including home office additions, increased compared with 2019 (from 10% to 14%). And median spending on home offices also rose (from $1,000 to $1,100).
The new working environment and the extra time at home perhaps had some homeowners reassessing their wardrobe as well. While the share of homeowners updating a closet stayed the same year over year (14%), the median spending on closet updates rose (from $700 to $1,000).
Homeowners budgeted money for making updates to other rooms as well. Median spending on living rooms and family rooms ($3,000), guest bedrooms ($1,000) and laundry rooms ($1,500) held steady year over year.
The share of homeowners who bought home improvement products was highest for paint (67%) and light fixtures (51%) in 2020, as it was in 2019.
Updates to home systems were also popular. About a quarter of homeowners updated plumbing (26%) and electrical (24%). And while spending on upgrades of most top home systems held relatively steady year over year, it rose slightly for heating (from $3,500 to $4,000) and in the home entertainment category (from $800 to $1,000).
A relatively small share of homeowners bought tech products for their updated homes in 2020, as was true in 2019. But the share of homeowners who chose to buy smart products increased year over year.
The percentage of homeowners who bought smart light fixtures, which allow lighting to be controlled using a phone, tablet or computer app, increased from 11% to 16% year over year, along with the share who bought smart alarms or detectors (up from 12% to 14%), smart streaming-media players (from 10% to 14%) and smart TVs (from 7% to 12%).
This content was originally published here.