Home improvement (also called house renovation or home repair) is the process of improving the interior and/or exterior of a residential building. The term is used in contrast to the term home building, which refers to new construction. Home improvement is usually done to increase a home’s resale value or livability, or both. Home improvements can be performed by a homeowner or by a hired professional contractor.
A home improvement project may be a minor addition or a major remodeling job, such as converting a dining room into a kitchen or adding a bedroom or bathroom. The scope of work may also extend to outdoor projects, such as installing a deck or putting up a fence. It may be done for aesthetic reasons, to make a home more energy-efficient or to improve the property’s safety.
In the past, magazines and tool makers promoted DIY home improvement as a way for men to recreate the bonds of male companionship that were lost when fathers no longer passed on their job skills to their offspring. By the 1990s, however, cable television shows such as Trading Spaces blurred the distinction between male-dominated realms of carpentry and the largely feminine spheres of decorating and design, and women became more active participants in DIY home improvement. Home centers like Lowe’s and Home Depot shifted their marketing strategies to accommodate these changes. They began to advertise that they carried everything needed for a home improvement project and encouraged shoppers to become their own contractors.