For many years the attraction of the various home improvement shows on offer was their promise of showing people how to take matters into their own hands, save money on tradespeople, have the satisfaction of a job well done and add value to their homes.
Many of these home-improvement shows peddled by satellite TV providers tended to watched by those more attuned to a life on the couch, who would previously have struggled to change a light bulb or put up shelves. Suddenly, thanks to the power of television and positive thinking, these same people felt enabled and empowered to take on fairly skilled projects themselves.
The results were wildly varied. Of course, some people did find they possessed remarkable, previously undiscovered skills and were able to achieve fantastic results. Others carried out fairly adequate jobs, but found the burden of time and resource expended actually outweighed the cost of getting a professional in. Often, the results were either worse than expected or simply didn’t quite match expectations. A final group landed themselves in real deep water by attempting difficult home-improvement projects such as installing new bathrooms or kitchens. Those unlucky enough to accidently drill through pipes and cables or damage structural walls soon realised that some DIY is best left to the professionals (and in fact, where gas and plumbing is concerned, this is often a legal requirement). More than one home-insurance policy was invalidated because of an ill-advised home-improvement project. Often the repair jobs were more expensive and time-consuming than the original work.
The Positive View
However, it’s not all bad news. Technology means that we can easily learn new skills. Video tutorials can be accessed via mobile broadband and mobile devices to quickly seek out information or ask questions on a forum. Various apps can help carry out measurements and calculations for DIY projects. Online tutorials provide the ability to pause and rewind too – as do the newer versions of satellite-TV systems – allowing more relaxed viewing and absorption of new information.
The economic downturn actually seems to have had a positive effect in this field. Nowadays, most people have realised that they can’t double the value of their home simply by painting everything white, knocking down internal walls and installing laminate flooring. However, most of us realise that we can save money, have fun and create something unique and individual for our families by carrying out basic DIY tasks.
In our current situation, home improvement has taken on a new and much healthier significance. During the boom years, it was all about how much money we could make by jazzing up our house. These days, it’s all about how much joy we can give by creating a wonderful children’s bedroom, for example, or by laying our own new-look garden. Now a house isn’t simply an investment opportunity or potential money pot – it’s a home that we invest time and labour into to make our own.
Home-improvement shows still have a role in providing inspiration, ideas and tips, which we can later follow up on via mobile broadband, or pause and re-watch as we go. So perhaps we have matured from the original slapdash DIY disasters and started to genuinely improve our home-improvement skills in a way that would make our handy ancestors proud!
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