DIY : Millennials are ‘generation DIY’ – Emily Babb – Medium
Home may imply comfort, but it’s a bit of an uncomfortable subject for Millennials.
One in four people aged 20–34 still live at home, and the burdensome legacy from Baby Boomers to own property has left many of us feeling like failures — when the situation is anything but our fault.
That being said, 34% of home buyers are under 36, which is now the largest age range of homeowners. Of course, this doesn’t mean the housing crisis is in any way exaggerated, but how have some Millennials managed to survive it?
One way — which is how I managed to become a homeowner — is to buy a fixer-upper and renovate it. The figures seem to agree, as today more than half of DIYers are under the age of 35. After buying my little rundown flat a couple of years ago I can now call myself a fairly competent DIYer, yet all of this would have been impossible if it wasn’t for one thing:
Without the internet I wouldn’t know how to put up a shelf let alone tile an entire kitchen floor (which will always be one of my proudest achievements). If I didn’t have such a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips, would I have even bought my flat in the first place? Probably not.
55% of Millennials say that technology plays a major role in their creative output. When it comes to home improvement, technology has definitely allowed me — someone with zero experience — to transform a hovel into a home.
My tech-infused DIY journey started literally minutes after getting the keys to my flat. I had a look around and, once I had been reminded of all the work I had to do (which was accompanied by a great deal of sighing and wincing), I went straight onto Pinterest. Seeing so many before and after photos immediately calmed me down — there were people out there who had done it all already, so surely it was an achievable dream for me too?
Pinterest was inspiring but not very informative, so my next port of call was Design My Space. It’s a great platform for inspiration and practical advice that’s specific to home improvement (on Pinterest I often got distracted by the haircare tips and cake decorating tutorials). As well as tonnes of inspirational photos, Design My Space has a visualiser tool that allows you take a photo of your room and change the colour of the walls and flooring to see what different combinations would look like in your home. Really useful when figuring out what matches and what clashes, which is a lot more difficult than it seems.
Once I got started with the DIY itself, I found videos the easiest format to follow. It’s a very visual process that requires a very visual teaching tool — and you’d be surprised by the extent of information you can get on YouTube. People have videoed themselves doing absolutely everything — and yes, I’m just talking about DIY here.
Inspiration and how-to guides aside, there are so many great DIY apps out there. I found some superb tools, such as Handy Man DIY, my digital project manager for the entire flat. I also used Home DIY with Craig Phillips religiously to calculate the materials I needed and iHandy Carpenter, which puts a spirit level and protractor on your phone. I can’t tell how many times I used that!
At the end of the day, although us Millennials may not be as advantaged as the Baby Boomers, my DIY journey has shown me how resourceful we are. I’m lucky to be a homeowner, but I’m even luckier to have been born into a generation of tech innovators.