For homeowners, home makeovers seem to be more than just a hobby. In the second quarter of 2003, Americans spent more than $132.2 billion on residential improvements, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Additionally, Lowe's Trendex reveals the typical homeowner has spent an average of more than $4,000 on home improvement projects in the past year -- up $300 from May 2003. Homeowners seem to consider their homes a good place to invest.
Many Americans desire a fixer-upper more than a new home. According to a recent survey, 41 percent of all Americans prefer to live in an older home that may need some restoration or repair. The average American home, built in the mid- to late-1960s, is approximately 34 years old.
The fancy for older homes corresponds with a desire for more traditional property layouts and retro decor interests.
- While 60 percent currently have a home in the suburbs or an urban area, most (55 percent) would rather live in a more rural area. Further validating this trend, one in four (26 percent) homeowners think larger properties with more land should be back in vogue.
- Front porches (32 percent)
- Gunmetal gray appliances (36 percent) of those ages 49 and younger
- Hand-painted murals (27 percent)
On the flip side, homeowners hope some decor has-beens never resurface.
- Harvest gold-, bittersweet- or avocado-colored appliances (26 percent)
- Shag carpeting (25 percent); despite the resurgence of a refined, updated version known as frieze
- Flocked wallpaper (21 percent)
- Country-themed decor cluttered with geese, dolls and teddy bears (26 percent)
With approximately 50 home-related, makeover shows on the air, it's probably no surprise television influences the way homeowners seek do-it- yourself advice. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of all homeowners watch home improvement programs and half (49 percent) of these viewers watch more how-to programs now than they did two years ago. Restoration and remodeling shows -- such as PBS' "This Old House," TBS Superstation's "House Rules" and The Discovery Channel's "Restore America" -- are at the top of the more than half (54 percent) of all do-it-yourselfers' must-see TV lists. Nearly three- quarters (71 percent) of how-to TV watchers say these shows inspire them to try new projects.
One of the new projects they might be inspired to request in new construction is a lady's or gentleman's only quarters. About 40 percent of new homes nationwide now include at least one his-and-hers area, according to the National Association of Home Builders. This is consistent with findings that men and women (72 percent) like the idea of creating their own separate sanctuaries. Two-thirds (66 percent) of females would like to have their own bathroom, and both sexes would want separate closets (61 percent) and hobby rooms (52 percent).
Lowe's is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world and sponsored this study.