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What Are the Budgeting Habits of UK Renovation Clients?

Discover how UK homeowners spend their money, finance their projects and manage the costs

Amanda Pollard

Are you wondering what influences the spending decisions clients make, or how much cost matters to them? Homeowners who responded to the UK Houzz & Home Study 2022 told us how they spent their renovation budgets in 2021, how they financed their projects and whether they kept costs on track. Read on to see the findings…

How much do UK homeowners spend on their renovations?
The median amount spent by UK homeowners in 2021 was £18,000. That’s 20% more than the £15,000 median of 2020.

The biggest budgets were those of millennials (Gen Y – homeowners aged between 25 and 39) who reported spending a median of £25,000 on their renovations.

Homeowners’ planned spend increased by 43% at the time of the survey, with respondents expecting to budget for £10,000 in 2022 versus £7,000 in 2019. Those 10% of homeowners who were planning higher-budget projects were expecting to pay £100,000 for projects in 2022 compared with £75,000 in 2021.

What do they spend their money on?
The most popular room to renovate in 2021 was the kitchen, with 29% of respondents reporting that they’d upgraded the space. This was also the room that saw the highest spend, at £12,000.

Homeowners’ favourite room to decorate or furnish was the living room, with 43% saying they’d focused on it in 2021, a rise from 38% in the previous year.

Renovators are willing to invest in expert help for their renovation projects, with 92% of homeowners hiring a professional in 2021. While electricians and plumbers were the most sought-after service providers, builders and architects were the busiest professionals in the construction and design sectors.

Do they stick to their budget plans?
It seems that homeowners are pretty careful with their cost planning, with 70% setting an initial budget. Of those, approximately half managed to stick to that budget.

However, 12% reported that they overspent by 25% to 49%, while 5% went over budget by more than 50%. Younger homeowners were most likely to go over budget, with just 33% of those aged between 25 and 39 saying they’d stuck to their payment plans versus 38% of Gen X and 59% of Gen B (baby boomers).

Why do they go over budget?
A rising budget for 53% of respondents was caused by products or services that were more costly than expected, while 38% said they went over budget because the project was more complex than they realised it would be.

A way to manage client expectations, according to Alicja Wawrzyniak of Alwa Interiors, is to communicate clearly throughout a project. She uses the Houzz Pro Product Clipper tool to share a shopping list of items with her clients. The tool allows homeowners to make decisions on products and budget for their project. “They can go through the products and leave you notes,” Alicja says. “This is a very efficient tool in terms of communication with clients.”

How much does budget influence their decisions?
Cost does play a major role in renovation choices, as highlighted by the 68% of respondents who said the price was a major factor in their decision process. However, this wasn’t the biggest influence – reviews are more crucial for the majority of UK homeowners, with 73% of respondents saying that reviews and recommendations were a leading factor in their choice.

So while it might be tempting to provide a cheaper quote, a good-quality service is more important to clients. Interior designer Natasha Burton of NB Interiors UK explains to potential clients that quality does come at a price and that it’s a false economy to go cheap. “I explain what they get for my time, essentially how I save them money in the long run and help to prevent them making costly mistakes,” she says.


How do they finance their projects?
The majority of homeowners plan ahead to budget for their renovations, with 87% of respondents saying they used cash or savings to pay for the project.

Gen X were most likely to use a credit card, at 20% compared to 15% of Gen Y and 12% of Gen B. On the other hand, the older generation were more likely to have some home equity to spend, with 21% using funds from a previous home sale for their renovation, as opposed to 14% and 7% for Gen X and Gen Y respectively.

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Senior Editor at Houzz UK and Ireland. Journalist and editor specialising in interiors and architecture.

United Kingdom
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