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The Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report: 2021

A guide to this year’s biggest trends in renovation and home design

In this year’s Home Improvement Trends Report, we start by taking a look back at 2020 to see how the year that no one expected has impacted our relationships with our homes.

From the rise of the home office, to the home improvements buyers now value the most – we’ve analysed more than 500,000 jobs on Rated People, and spoken to thousands of homeowners across the UK to uncover the renovation and interior design trends that will dominate 2021 and beyond.

Read the full Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report: 2021, and to receive more great home improvement tips and inspiration, sign up to our monthly newsletter – keep scrolling and a form will appear.

If you’re looking to sell your home in 2021, or you’re just curious about ways to maximise space or update the design – you can find local builders and other tradespeople right here on Rated People. If you enjoy our report, don’t forget to share it with friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Stylish interior with grey walls and work area.

Home improvement trends 2021

1. The race for space

The pandemic has changed UK homeowners’ priorities when it comes to what we want from our homes. Lots of us want to add space to our homes, and jobs such as building an extension, adding bespoke storage and knocking walls down to create an open plan, multi-functional space are amongst the top jobs planned.

Our plans to optimise space aren’t limited to our existing properties either; 25% of UK residents want to move to a bigger property in the next year, whilst 29% want to move to a property that has more outdoor space.

Big outdoor space with wooden decking, garden furniture and BBQ.

Potential buyers are willing to cough up the cash for a home that has the extra space, too. Features promising privacy add the most value to your property, with homeowners expecting to pay around £14,000 more for a self-contained annex. Smaller upgrades are also highly desired – a vegetable patch could get you over £6,000 more for your home.

2. Home is where the home office is

55% of the UK worked from home in 2020, but many of our home office set-ups didn’t inspire productivity. 41% of those working from home told us they didn’t have a proper desk, and 24% said they were embarrassed by their background on video calls. So, it’s no surprise that 38% of us want to improve our home offices in 2021.

The number of ‘home office’ jobs posted on Rated People more than doubled in 2020 and 43% of UK residents say they plan to work from home more than they did before (even if COVID-19 were to completely disappear), so we’re definitely expecting this trend to continue into 2021 and beyond.

Stylish home office in a Scandinavian style living room.

When it comes to home office design, our analysis of home offices on Instagram reveals that Scandi styling was increasingly popular in 2020, and neutral colours, house plants and simple furniture are shaping up to be key trends for 2021.

3. Upping the eco

57% of UK residents told us they wanted to be more eco-friendly in 2021 – whether that’s recycling more, eating less meat, or making home improvements to make our homes more eco-friendly or more energy-efficient.

Government initiatives such as the Green Homes Grant are helping homeowners to improve their homes in different ways, and in 2020, uPVC windows and doors, roof insulation and solar panel installation were amongst the top 15 eco jobs posted on Rated People. This year, another 4% of the UK say they plan to apply for the Green Homes Grant, to help them complete green upgrades.

Woman using intelligent home controls software on a tablet to set the right temperature for each room.

3. Gorgeous gardens

Our gardens were a sanctuary for many of us in 2020. 39% of us got more into gardening during lockdown, and 64% of UK residents now say they wouldn’t buy a home if it didn’t have any outside space.

Many of the top gardening jobs completed in 2020 also made their way onto gardening wish lists for 2021. 47% of UK residents are planning improvements for their gardens this year, and the top jobs that gardeners are keen to tackle are: planting new flowers and trees, creating a vegetable patch; and installing a new shed, fencing or external lighting.

Beautiful garden with flowers and garden furniture.

The Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report: 2021

We’ve analysed over 500,000 jobs posted on Rated People, spoken to thousands of UK homeowners, trawled through Google search data and studied over 100 Instagram posts to deliver the latest home improvement trends right into your hands. From beautiful interiors to innovative renovations, discover some of the best ways to upgrade your home in our new guide.

How to design the perfect home office according to Instagram

Bright home office with stylish desk and houseplants.

But, when it comes to our home office set-ups, it seems many are less than ideal, which could affect our productivity and motivation as well as our overall health and happiness. 

Well over a third (38%) of UK residents are planning improvements to the design of their home office this year. So, to provide a unique piece of analytical inspiration, we studied more than 100 of the most stylish and most-liked home office designs on Instagram to discover the core components each of them shared – from the optimum number of houseplants, to the most motivational wall colours, and even the best art to have on the wall.

Recipe for success

To arrive at the perfect formula, we looked at seven key design elements in each image, including: wall colour, floor colour and material; style, features and colour of the desk; chair type, colour and material; the total number of houseplants, type of shelves, and key decorative features such as artwork.

And, the results are in! The formula for the most stylish home office is:

White walls + medium wood bare floorboards + a wooden, writing style desk with no drawers + a white, fabric fixed leg chair + two houseplants + fixed simple shelves + a framed print of the outdoors
The elements of the most stylish home office according to Instagram users.

The analysis shows the calming aesthetic of Scandi styling is increasingly popular for home office design, with neutral colours, a couple of houseplants and simple furniture shaping up to be key trends for 2021.  

White walls

The overwhelming choice for an office wall colour is white – helping to maximise space, and providing a clear and professional backdrop of calm productivity.    

Home office with white walls and big window.

1. White 54%
2. Grey 11% 
3. White + colour accent 9%
4. Green  7%
5. Blue 5%
6. Cream 5%
7. Pink  3%   
8. Black 2%   
9. Brick 2%
10. Wood 1%
11. Orange 1%

Medium wood bare floorboards

Wood flooring was the front runner for a work from home space, particularly medium and pale woods. When not simply bare, floorboards were usually paired with a rug.

Medium brown wooden floorboards in a home office.

Top floor colours  

1. Medium wood 16%
2. Grey 14%  
3. Pale wood 14%  
4. White 14%  
5. Dark wood 8%  
6. No floor pictured 8%  
7. Black + white 6%  
8. Brown 4%  
9. Cream 4%  
10. Multi-coloured 4%  

Top floor materials

1. Floorboards 43%  
2. Rug 25%  
3. Carpet 18%  
4. Tiles 9%  
5. Concrete 1%  

A wooden, writing style desk with no drawers

Wooden writing desk with typewriter.

A simple writing desk was the most popular choice – typically with a modern minimalist design.   

1. Writing desk 47%
2. Computer desk 15%  
3. Built-in 13%
4. Floating shelf  10%
5. Table 6%
6. Stand-up 5%
7. Corner unit 3%
8. Other 1%

White desks were popular but natural materials eventually won out with the most common desks featuring a wooden top, if not all completely wooden.   

1. Wood 44%
2. White 34%
3. Black 10%
4. Brown 6%
5. Grey 4%
6. Pink 2%
7. Clear glass 1%

From drawers on one side to floating shelves, there were a myriad of different design features for desks – mostly incorporating storage. Here are the top 5.  

1. No drawers 23%
2. Thin drawers underneath 11%
3. Drawers on one side 9%
4. Statement design 6%
5. Set of drawers underneath 3% 

 A white, fabric fixed leg chair

White executive swivel chairs appeared a lot – and with 39% of chairs having some kind of swivel/free movement design, it showed ergonomics play a big part in home offices. However, fixed chairs were seen even more frequently, particularly fabric ones.  

White fabric chair with fixed legs.

Top colours   

1. White 21%
2. Black 19%
3. Grey 15%
4. Brown 14%
5. Beige 7%
6. Blue 4%
7. Yellow 4%
8. Pink 3%   
9. Cream 2%
10. Green 2%

Top materials  

1. Fabric 31%  
2. Leather 27%  
3. Plastic 20%  
4. Wood 9%  
5. No chair featured 6%  
6. Wicker 4%  
7. Metal 2%  
8. Rattan 1%  

Top styles  

1. Fixed 54%  
2. Swivel 27%  
3. Exec Swivel Office Chair 12%  
4. No chair featured 6%  
5. Armchair  2%  
6. Rocking Chair 1%  

Two houseplants

Some offices featured as many as 12! Whilst 28% didn’t feature any, another 28% featured three or more house plants, but the average was 2 plants in an office space.

Young woman working on a computer in a home office surrounded by green houseplants.

Fixed simple shelves

Over a third of the Instagram home offices didn’t have any shelving units, but those that did opted for simple fixed-to-wall flat shelves.   

Six simple wooden shelves on the wall in a home office.

1. Fixed to wall 35%
2. No shelves 35%
3. Built-in cabinetry 20%   
4. Free-standing shelving unit 9%   

A framed print of the outdoors

The use of artwork and photography was the most popular principal design feature – ranging from outdoor landscapes to block colour geometric prints. A mini trend was the use of pinboards, displaying post it notes, letters and photos.

Framed print of the outdoors in a home office.

1. Art 34%    
2. Nothing 20%    
3. Window 16%  
4. Shelves 15%   
5. Pinboard 10%   
6. Fireplace 2% 
7. Mirrors 2%  
8. TV 1%


What are your home improvement goals for 2021? Whether you’re planning a big renovation or smaller upgrades, share your ideas with us on our social media:

Stay up to date with the latest home improvement trends and connect with a local, skilled tradesperson by downloading our app on the App Store or Google Play.


The Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report: 2021

We’ve analysed over 500,000 jobs posted on Rated People, spoken to thousands of UK homeowners, trawled through Google search data and studied over 100 Instagram posts to deliver the latest home improvement trends right into your hands. From beautiful interiors to innovative renovations, discover some of the best ways to upgrade your home in our new guide.

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5 Comments

  1. I am looking for a competent Carpenter to do a repair on a rotten window ledge. Any names would be useful in the N.W London, Middlesex/Herts areas.

  2. I have some steps in my garden, onto the patio. Now that I am old (I have been in this house for forty years), I need rails to hold when coming down the steps. I would like rails exactly like those pictured in the garden photo in the email sent to me.
    Do you have a rated person who could do that?
    Thankyou.

    Kay
    Lily

    1. I have some steps in my garden onto the patio. I need rails to hold when coming down the steps. I would like rails lik,e those pictured in the garden photo in the email you sent. Do you have a rated person who could do that?

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