Tool belt with hand tools . Work background on wooden board

A constant in home ownership is that there will always be things to fix, replace, or improve around the home. Whether that’s upgrading an appliance, buying and installing a new appliance, remodeling a room, or adding to an outdoor area, there’s always a home improvement project to tackle.

With that in mind, we surveyed homeowners in the United States asking them about the home improvement projects they completed in 2019 and the ones they have planned for 2020. Additionally, we asked about who they plan to do the work on the project — themselves, family, friends, or a paid contractor or handyman. Read on to see our full findings.

Home Improvement Projects Completed In 2019

Not much a surprise that the most common home improvement completed in 2019 was painting at 19.3% of all homeowners. It’s simple enough to do, generally less expensive, and can greatly improve the look (and value) of a room or piece of furniture. Interestingly, 10% of respondents said they did flooring renovations. Appliance replacements (8%) and plumbing (7.4%) were next. Only 2.6% of respondents said they didn’t complete any home improvement projects last year.

Projects Americans Aim to Complete in 2020

Additionally, we asked about projects American homeowners plan to complete in 2020. The two most common answers were painting (14.72%) and flooring (13.23%). Those matched the top two projects completed in 2019, meaning there’s always work to be done when it comes to those two categories. Surprisingly, a bathroom remodel was the third most common home improvement planned for 2020 — typically it’s one of the more expensive projects to take on. New kitchen counters (6.23%) and appliance replacement (6.14%) were third and fourth, respectively.

Read about the cost of remodeling a bathroom.

The Highest Priority Home Improvement Projects in 2020

After asking about all of the projects homeowners are planning, we asked them which was their highest priority. Painting (13.4%) and flooring (13.3%) were again the top two choices. Additionally, bathroom remodel (11%) held its spot at number three. Appliance replacement just beat out kitchen counters by a fraction of a point for the fourth spot on the highest priority projects.

Who Will Do the Work on Priority Projects?

We also asked homeowners who would be doing their most desired home improvement projects. What we found is that most people are going to rely on themselves or family members. Over half of respondents, nearly 55%, said that is who would be doing the work.

However, just over 40% said they would be paying a professional to do the work, either a contractor or a handyman.

Read more: How Much Should You Really Be Budgeting for a Home Renovation?

Who Will do the Work by Home Improvement Project

Because the work required for home improvement projects can vary so significantly, we wanted to dig deeper into who Americans are planning to do the specific projects. The above table takes the results from the question, “Who Will Do the Work on Your Priority Project?” and parses the data by the project.

What we found is that generally, people are going to hire someone for more difficult jobs such as HVAC or plumbing — that’s not much of a surprise. However, when it comes to remodeling and improving rooms, it varies. It seems Americans want to do the work on their kitchens, but leave the bathroom to the contractor.

Similarly, outdoor projects are split as well. Americans want to build their own decks and patios but leave gutters and landscaping to the pros. In another study showcasing DIY outdoor projects, many homeowners in sunny states want to liven their backyard with some DIY improvements. In Texas, California, and Georgia, homeowners will do their own landscaping and grass work. DIY gardens were the most popular projects in nine states including Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Homes will always need some repair, whether that’s a minor fix or a major project. Our survey asked homeowners in the United States about the project they completed in 2019 as well as the ones they’re planning for 2020. If you’re planning home improvement projects this year, check out some of our guides and how-tos.

Looking for some help with home repairs and maybe save a little money at the same time? Consider a home warranty. Check out our in-depth reviews to see which one may be right for you — all of them offer free quotes!


We surveyed 873 homeowners across the United States asking them questions about home improvement projects they completed in 2019 and projects they are planning in 2020. The survey respondents were not limited to specific demographics. We estimate the margin of error at 3%.

Editorial Contributors
David Cusick

David Cusick

David specializes in data, data journalism, and all topics related to homeownership. He’s won multiple national awards for content marketing and comes from strong background in journalism. His work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, CNN, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Good Morning America, ESPN, and many more.

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Lora Novak

Senior Editor

Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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