DIY Deficit


A recent survey by suggests that Britain is a nation of incompetents when it comes to DIY. If this is true then a strange paradox has emerged. Whilst a raft of television programmes dedicated to home improvements is fuelling borderline paranoia about the qualities of our homes we appear to have lost the skills to do anything about the inadequacies.

Primed by TV

A few minutes spent playing with the satellite remote will reveal a vast array of home improvement programmes which are enough to leave the average home owner feeling like they should bar all visitors to their property. With experts urging us to makeover everything to within an inch of its life it is little wonder that we haven’t all acquired psychological disorders on an epic scale. I even find myself wondering if my place mats are on trend or whether my toaster is looking passé and I am not usually given to concerns over my image.

The Results

If home improvements are all the rage how is it that few people appear to have the skills to do the work themselves? The survey reveals that just 8% of young people can rewire a plug and only 20% claim to be able to hang a picture. 4% know how to hang wallpaper and a miserly 21% feel they could assemble flat-pack furniture. Given the popularity of IKEA the latter statistic is a little mystifying! Even more curious is the fact that women rate DIY incompetents as unattractive so you would think that young men would be queuing up for DIY courses.

Busy Lives

The truth is that modern lives are busy and there are almost unlimited ways to spend your leisure time. People just don’t want to give up their time to learn the required skills or to exercise them on their own homes so we are all tending more and more towards leaning on any parents in the know and paying experts to do the work.

The Superstores

Some people must be busy beavering away though if my local DIY superstore is anything to go by. At the weekends getting a parking space is up there with winning the lottery, you could die of old age in the queues for the checkouts and the approach roads are clogged with traffic. Once in the car park it is almost impossible to get out again so long is the line of cars waiting to exit. So if all these people are investing in tiles, flooring, paint and new curtain rails what are they doing with them?

Job Half Done

Is all this purchasing the result of wishful thinking? Does the merchandise end up banished to the garage whilst householders wait for the DIY fairies to magically complete the projects? Or is it simply that people will buy the relevant materials and then just pay someone to do the work? I suspect that many things are bought and never used and that there are a huge amount of half-finished projects which have been abandoned when the scale of the skills and effort required becomes apparent.
We are a nation of wannabes who are very good at window dressing. We love to shop for homewares and accessories to grace our houses but we simply can’t be bothered to roll up our sleeves to do some real work.


Article By Sally Stacey