More than bricks and mortar

March 2020, the start of the lockdown. And, while we were all confined to our homes, a passion for DIY swept the nation.

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Despite the restrictions, the frustration, and the loss endured, the last six months have been an opportunity to do things better and start anew. Seeing the world through this new lens changed our attitudes towards our homes and motivation to do home improvement suddenly shifted into high gear.

And many of you appear to agree. We asked 2,000 people how lockdown altered their relationship with their home. A staggering 9 out of 10 said that home was important to make life better. Home isn’t just a house, flat or bungalow, it’s a sanctuary. These four walls are where we can be ourselves, unwind, feel safe and take refuge from the rest of the world. It’s a place of endless triggers, from heirlooms to photographs and flowers that conjure memories of family and friends.

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But only 1 in 10 of us currently live in our dream home, so there is always magic to be done. Right? Aside from practical jobs such as fixes, repairs and rescuing treasures, over half of us found projects good for the mind and soul. Repetitive paint strokes suddenly became relaxing, hanging frames melted away the day’s anxiety, reorganising the garage a personal sedative. It’s these reflective moments where memories flood in. Even the younger generation discovered a new-found love for home projects, eagerly ditching their phone in favour of a drill, getting more ambitious week by week.

During lockdown, homes served as makeshift workplaces (as well as gyms, schools and pubs). Homeworkers adjusted to Zoom calls, days without a commute to bookend the 9-5 and early starts at the kitchen table just to beat the morning rush. More than a third of us planned to improve our workspace and create a dedicated spot away from the lure of a boxset binge – and somewhere that felt smarter than your new tee and sweatpants attire.

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Research showed that other ways in which people wanted to make their lives better included spending more time outdoors. For many of us, our homes are our castles, but lockdown also taught us there’s joy to be had in spilling outside. Government-approved daily exercise, the feeling of intense gratitude at being able to sit down on a blanket in the park and using whatever space you had to take meals outside.

DIY tricks and the great outdoors aside, we took on new hobbies, from learning a new language to mastering a banana loaf. Over the next year, most of us are keen to spend more time with family and friends.

The experience of lockdown will, no doubt, have a lasting effect on us all. But, hopefully, many will rethink the role their home plays in their life - and realise it’s much more than bricks and mortar.

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