Brits Get to Grips with DIY

Make do and mend – the Great British motto! Wartime Britain is often lamented as showing the resilience and fortitude of the British people, especially in terms of quite literally keeping calm and carrying on in the face of insurmountable adversity.

Modern Britain has not not fared so well. According to figures from a survey by NetVoucherCodes, just 8% of young people in the UK can rewire a plug, 5% would unblock a sink without professional help and 12% would use a power tool with confidence. Poor show, 18-25-year-old age bracket!

But the UK has always been a land of self-improvement, and it seems Brits are picking up the pace once again to mend, sand, strip and build their way to better homes off the back of their own blood, sweat and tears.

In a home improvement market worth an estimated £12.5 billion (£26.5 billion if the bill for builders and skilled workers is included), it’s no wonder every brand and retailer – Vax and Henry Hoover to B&Q and Homebase – are trying to cash in with in-store classes, product deals and DIY staples.

Repair Not Replace

It doesn’t matter whether it’s looking for Vax spare parts for the vacuum or bringing an old lamp back to life with a new plug – Brits are mending things rather than buying new ones. According to a survey in The Independent, the demand for magnolia paint rose by 25% in a single year thanks to Brits investing in cheap, practical ways to improve their homes.

And it’s not just the simple fixes that are no longer flummoxing UK homeowners. According to B&Q, participation in ‘You Can Do It’ classes run at fifteen B&Q sites in the UK and Ireland is on the up, especially in terms of female attendance. Classes are run on various aspects of decorating, plumbing, timber and joinery, basic DIY and featured workshops (e.g. using power tools).

Tools of the DIY Trade

Investing in the right equipment for the job means two things. It means doing research into the right tools before buying, and it means learning how to use said tools without lopping off any fingers.

In the spirit of make-do-and-mend, more Brits are opting to repair things like power tools, vacuum cleaners and washing machines rather than buying new ones. Older models can often be easier to repair because they were built to last (great for someone who’s inherited granddad’s tools!).

From Vax spares for the vacuum right through to cord for the garden strimmer, savvy Brits are buying good quality tools and accessories that can be repaired not replaced along their DIY journey. Throw-away is out, investment is in!

Libby Carins is a DIY fanatic and a strong believer that pretty much any piece of furniture, old garden shed or garden ornament can be reclaimed with a little TLC! She contributes to blogs for home and garden companies like and can definitely rewire a plug.

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