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Room By Room: Popular Home Renovations For A Quarantined Nation

Rachel Burris8-Minute Read
May 29, 2020

With public gatherings banned and shelter-in-place mandates keeping people at home, COVID-19 has put the spotlight on houses. Now, people are realizing the limitations of their dwellings and making moves to do something about them. Quarantine has become the ideal time to finally get around to those long-forsaken punch list items.

But what kind of projects are people actually taking on? After examining the most popular Google searches conducted by individuals across the country, we’ve compiled a list of the top home renovation projects during quarantine. Take a look at the rooms Americans were most interested in renovating, decorating and sprucing up while cooped up in their houses, and decide if any of these projects are right for you.

Most Popular Home Renovations By Room

To gain insight into the types of home renovations that Americans were interested in pursuing during quarantine, we turned to Google Trends. With over 1.5 billion users and 40,000 search queries received every second, Google has a wealth of data that they categorize and analyze to provide insight into consumer behavior.

The online tool normalizes the data and scales it on a range of 0 – 100. So, when looking at popularity across regions – say specific states within the U.S. – trends are presented as a proportion to make comparisons between locales easier. Google Trends also presents data on the extent of interest there is in related topics and queries that users also searched for and displays spikes in interest as percentages. Any extreme spikes in interest are labeled as “Breakout,” and should be understood as being higher than any percentage listed.

On May 19, 2020, we focused our research on the “Home Improvements” category of Google Trends and pulled data on the popularity of home renovations during the month of April, the height of the nation’s stay-at-home orders. We examined the most popular topics and queries for each room across the United States and have used the data to speculate the intent behind users’ searches. Let’s take a look at the eight most popular spaces that Google users researched while quarantining and the assumptions we can make about home renovation interests based on their searches.

1. Garage

two car garage attached to a suburban home
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Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • Linear Garage Door Keypad: Breakout
  • Garage Door Net: Breakout
  • Double Garage Door: 300%
  • Garage Paint Ideas: 200%
  • Gym: 170%

 

Search Trends with Smaller but Notable Increases:

 

  • Lowe’s Garage Floor Paint
  • Garage Tile Floor
  • How to Install a Garage Door
  • Thermal Insulation
  • Epoxy

 

States in the North Central Region certainly have an increased interest in garages and not just because of the excitement that the garage door beer challenge has incited. Some users appear to want to increase the security of their garages by installing digital keypads and garage doors.

Other residents of these states seem to be searching for ways to convert their garages into livable space. By installing thermal insulation and garage door screens, they can regulate the temperature of their garages and make them more habitable. As they do so, they’re also looking into freshening up the floors with paint, tiles and epoxy. Their next step may be to transform the space into a home gym.

2. Kitchen

kitchen with bar and stools
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Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • DIY: Breakout
  • Loan: Breakout
  • Countertop: Breakout
  • Sink: Breakout
  • Cost of Kitchen Remodel: 180%
  • Kitchen Rug Sets: 180%

 

Search Trends with Smaller but Notable Increases:

 

  • How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets
  • Kitchen Renovation Ideas
  • Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets
  • Kitchen Cabinet / Doorknobs
  • Kitchen Backsplash Tiles

 

Based on the data, Americans are more interested in renovating their kitchens than any other room inside their houses. This finding shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that kitchen updates have been historically the most popular home improvement project. Many users are trying to find do-it-yourself tricks for remodeling their kitchens and seem to be focusing their efforts on smaller tasks, like refinishing or painting cabinets, changing the hardware on cabinets or doors and selecting rugs for their kitchen floors. Based on the increased search volume for loans, others may be looking for professionals to help them complete larger renovation projects, like installing new countertops, sinks and tile backsplashes.

3. Basement

renovated basement with mint blue walls
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Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • Bulkhead: 350%
  • Unfinished Basement Ideas: 250%
  • Basement Epoxy Floor: 170%
  • Basement Dehumidifier: 120%
  • Basement Storage Ideas: 110%
  • Basement Toilet: 100%

 

Search Trends with Smaller but Notable Increases:

 

  • Basement Wall Ideas
  • How to Get Rid of Mold in Basement
  • Basement Ceiling Ideas
  • Cost to Finish Basement

 

With people confined to their homes, many homeowners are now looking to maximize the space they have at their disposal. Those living in the northeast are using Google to learn how to increase the habitability of their basements by clearing out the junk, eliminating mold and making their lower levels less humid. Although they’re seeking ideas for finishing their basements, the fact that “bulkhead” is a trending search query suggests that many users may want to add a legal egress to convert their basements into bedrooms. Since basement toilet has also been a popular search, it seems likely that these individuals could be inclined to turn their basements into private guest suites.

4. Yard

exterior of house with bright green grass
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Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • How to Till a Yard: Breakout
  • How to Keep Rabbits / Squirrels out of Yard: Breakout / 3,600%
  • Artificial Turf: 250%
  • Walkway: 250%
  • French Drain: 200%
  • Yard Decor: 200%

 

Search Trends with Smaller but Notable Increases:

 

  • Statue
  • Playground
  • Landscaping
  • Front Yard Garden
  • DIY Yard Ideas

 

Oscar Mayer’s May 2 campaign may have elicited a large number of people to search the term “Front Yard Cookout”; however, Americans still appear to be looking for ways to improve their outdoor space during quarantine. Most users’ queries centered around growing and preserving healthy plants. Some appear interested in installing a French drain in their yard to minimize stormwater runoff and prevent their properties from flooding. But others are inclined to enhance the appearance and utility of their yards by building walkways, adding playground sets, incorporating sculptures and ramping up the decor.

Patio

family eating dinner on their back patio
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Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • Walkway: Breakout
  • Patio Shades: 120%
  • How to Build a Patio: 110%
  • Window Screen: 110%

 

Search Trends with Smaller but Notable Increases:

 

  • Patio Screen Door Replacement
  • Patio Paint
  • Ikea Patio Tiles
  • Patio Blinds

 

It seems that when you can’t eat out, dining al fresco is the next best thing. Homeowners are now more tempted to add patios to their yards or improve preexisting ones. Many seem interested in paving walkways that lead to their patios, while others are focusing on keeping the area cool with screens and shades. However, there’s also a desire to improve the aesthetics of these outdoor spaces by painting and tiling the area.

5. Bathroom

renovated bathroom with wood finishings
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Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • Chenille Fabric: Breakout
  • Teak Bathmat: Breakout
  • Brown Bathroom Rugs: Breakout
  • DIY: Breakout
  • Loan: Breakout

 

Search Trends with Smaller but Notable Increases:

 

  • How to Paint Bathroom
  • Tile for Bathroom
  • Cost of Remodeling a Bathroom

 

Top bathroom searches seem to suggest that users are pursuing bathmats and rugs made of teak and chenille to avoid the chilling sensation of bare feet on cold tile floors. Considering that bathroom renovators are hunting for tips on how to paint their lavatories and exploring their options for tiling, it appears they want to take on smaller projects themselves. But similar to those interested in kitchens, users are also inquiring into financing options, perhaps after learning the projected cost of their remodels.

6. Dining Room

dining room with dining room table and modern chandelier
dining room

Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • Refinishing: Breakout
  • Accent Wall: Breakout
  • Navy Blue: Breakout
  • Chair: 160%
  • Dining Room Rug: 100%

 

Search Trends with Smaller but Notable Increases:

 

  • Dining Table

 

With restaurants closed or only providing carry-out options, people seem to be more interested in journeying to their dining rooms to enjoy their culinary creations. Since dining rooms have taken a backseat to eat-in kitchens in recent years, it seems users want to find easy ways to spruce up these rooms. Users are interested in refinishing their dining tables and chairs and adding rugs to create cozier dining experiences. They also seem interested in adding a pop of color, specifically navy blue, to their dining rooms by painting an accent wall or adding furnishings with this deep hue.

7. Bedroom

modern bedroom with a snake plant and chair in the corner
chart

Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • Tray: Breakout
  • Coral: Breakout
  • Fur / Fake Fur: Breakout

 

Search Trends with Smaller but Notable Increases:

 

  • Bedroom Rug

 

Users showed less desire to take on bedroom renovation projects. However, some are seeking to redecorate their bedrooms and find quick fixes for improving their comfort and convenience. Residents of these states are looking for rugs, fur or faux fur throws and bed trays, perhaps to add a level of coziness to their rooms and enable them to enjoy lazy mornings of breakfast in bed. They also may be enticed to change their bedroom color palette. Although Living Coral was Pantone’s Color of the Year back in 2019, it seems that the once underutilized hue is now gaining traction. Through coral furnishings and accents, individuals are finding simple tricks for breathing new life into their sleeping quarters.

Cape Cod Bedroom

cape cod style bedroom with tall lamp and gallery wall

Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • Cape Bedroom: Breakout
  • Addition: 190%

 

While homeowners may not be determined to renovate their own bedrooms, they do appear motivated to add an additional bedroom to their attics. Cape Cod-style bedrooms, which are typically situated on the top floor of the house, are known for their quaint, snug feel. These bedrooms are usually boxy spaces that feature steeply sloped ceilings, simple furniture and nautical color palettes.

8. Living Room

modern living room with pops of yellow color
chart

Increase in Search Volume for Trending Topics / Queries:

 

  • Gold: Breakout
  • Midcentury Modern Architecture: Breakout
  • Rustic Architecture: Breakout
  • Beige: 130%
  • Living Room Rug: 100%

 

Search Trends with Smaller but Notable Increases:

 

  • Accent Wall
  • Tan
  • Boho-Chic
  • Couch

 

Living rooms may not be getting much love when it comes to Google searches; however, users have demonstrated a yearning to give their common areas a facelift. While gray was once all the rage, the newly sought-after look incorporates warmer, neutral colors. Think light wood finishes, tan couches, beige rugs and gold accents. This palette complements the midcentury modern look, which emphasizes clean, geometric lines, warm woods and metallic finishes. The connection makes sense given that living room searches also indicate that people are thinking of changing the aesthetic of these rooms. Those less interested in minimalist design seem to be gravitating toward the raw, natural beauty of the rustic style or the relaxed, eclectic feel of boho-chic interiors.

Bottom Line

If you’re going to be stuck inside anyway, why not use this time to renovate your home? Homeowners around the United States are doing the research necessary to get their home improvement projects off the ground. If you think your home could use a bit of a makeover, now’s the time to follow suit.

As popular Google searches have shown, Americans are realizing that even minor adjustments can lead to significant gains in their quality of life. So, take a tour around your home and see what work there is to be done. If you’re interested in making larger-scale, pricier improvements to your home, learn more about home improvement loans. To speak to a Home Loan Expert about the right financing for your circumstances, create an account with Rocket Mortgage® or call (800) 785-4788 to speak to someone over the phone.

Get the right home loan for you.

Rachel Burris

Rachel Burris is a writer covering topics of interest to present and future homeowners, as well as industry insiders. Prior to joining Rocket Companies, she worked as an English teacher for the New York City Department of Education and a licensed real estate agent for Brown Harris Stevens. She holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Bucknell University, a postbaccalaureate certificate in psychology from Columbia University and a master's degree in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University.