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The UKs most Do It Yourself City

The UK’s most Do It Yourself city, revealed


There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a lockdown DIY boom. With people across the country being forced to spend more time at home than ever before, many homeowners and occupiers took the opportunity to tick off those little DIY tasks that are usually left for another day. Being within the same four walls every day also caused many people to completely re-evaluate their properties, with a lot of people trying their hand at more complex DIY jobs in order to achieve more functional and attractive homes.

But which city is top of the league when it comes to DIY? Using a unique scoring system, Brandon Hire Station has ranked the top 14 cities in the UK for home renovations.

Here’s what we found.

The top DIY city

London came in first position, as the overall most ‘Do it Yourself’ city in the UK. It’ll probably come as no surprise that the capital is home to more big homeware stores than any other location. According to our research, there is also more online interest in DIY trends in London than there is in other locations in the country.

Other cities that rank highly in regards to home improvement include Manchester, Belfast, Birmingham and Sheffield. On the other end of the spectrum, Portsmouth is the least DIY-friendly city, with the fewest big homewares stores on the list.

the UK’s most Do It Yourself city, revealed

The scoring system

In order to find out which cities fare best in the DIY stakes, we gathered data relating to the prevalence of home decor shops and tradespeople in a variety of locations across the nation. We also examined the monthly online search volume for a range of DIY trends during lockdown. We combined all this information to come up with our rankings.

the UK’s most Do It Yourself city, revealed

Home decor shops

In order to make changes to your property, you obviously need supplies, such as power tools and building and decorating equipment. We looked into the number of DIY stores in each location to try to find out which city is best placed when it comes to access to DIY supplies.

As previously stated, London has the highest number of large homeware stores. With 19 of the big chain DIY stores, there’s no shortage of shops to choose from if you’re looking for home renovation supplies in the capital. Whether you want to re-grout your bathroom tiles, add a new lick of paint to your living room or install new hardwood flooring in your bedroom, you’re never too far away from a DIY store in London.

Manchester and Birmingham come in joint second position with eight big chain homeware stores in each. In third position, we have Sheffield with six large DIY outlets. At the bottom of the list, there is Portsmouth with only two big homeware retail outlets to choose from.

the UK’s most Do It Yourself city, revealed

Tradespeople

We looked at the numbers of registered tradespeople in each location and concluded that places with high numbers of professionals may be less likely to engage in DIY activities.

Manchester came out on top in our rankings as it has the fewest tradespeople, with only 81 registered electricians, 27 kitchen installers, 40 plumbers and 76 builders. Edinburgh came in second position with 547 registered tradespeople, and Cardiff came in third place with 961 registered tradespeople in total. At the other end of the spectrum, Birmingham boasts the highest number of tradespeople at 4,491.

Of course, not all jobs are designed to be carried out by laypeople and it’s important to point out that you should hire a professional to help you with projects that you don’t feel confident in tackling yourself or with any tasks that may compromise your health and safety.

the UK’s most Do It Yourself city, revealed

DIY trends

To find out how much interest people in different parts of the country have in DIY trends, we studied the monthly Google search volume for a number of key terms, including ‘pallet furniture’, ‘wall panelling’ and ‘garden bar’ from July 2020 to June 2021.

London saw 11,500 monthly searches for these terms in total, with ‘wall panelling’ being the most popular search term, with 6,600 people Googling this on average every month. In second position, Liverpool saw 2,860 monthly searches for these terms. Glasgow came in third position with a total of 2,740 searches per month on average. People in Cardiff showed the least online interest in DIY trends, with only 180 searches per month for the most popular DIY trends.

the UK’s most Do It Yourself city, revealed

More about our methodology

To create this list, we identified 14 of the most populated metropolitan areas and their corresponding cities:

  • London
  • Birmingham
  • Manchester
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • Newcastle
  • Sheffield
  • Portsmouth
  • Glasgow
  • Cardiff
  • Bristol
  • Belfast
  • Edinburgh
  • Brighton

We then scored each of the above cities against the following criteria

  • the number of big homeware stores - this data was collected using Google Maps
  • the level of interest in popular DIY projects according to monthly search volumes on Google
  • the number of registered tradespeople

We tallied up the final scores to discover that London is the most DIY city.

Have your say!

Where does your city fall in our rankings? Did you achieve great home improvement results in lockdown or was every project a non-starter? Did you learn any new DIY skills or did you call in the professionals ? Tell us about your experience of DIY in lockdown using the hashtag #DIYLeagueTable.

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