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Report: Design do over: How a style over substance mindset is causing renovation regret for B.C. homeowners

VANCOUVER: A new BC Hydro report finds while COVID-19 caused home renovations to spike, about 20 per cent of B.C. homeowners regret their choices because they focussed on aesthetics instead of increasing their home's value.

The report1 titled 'Room for improvement: Why British Columbians are experiencing renovation regret after making home upgrades' finds over half of British Columbian homeowners have completed a renovation since the COVID-19 pandemic began because they are spending more time at home. Improving aesthetics (35 per cent), comfort (29 per cent), having more free time to finally make changes (10 per cent) and saving energy (10 per cent) were the primary motivators for the improvements.

While many are happy with the outcome, there are some that would do things differently given another chance – particularly those that did the renos themselves. More than half of DIYers would change some of their choices. When it comes to past decisions, B.C. homeowners' top regrets include bathroom and kitchen renos followed by flooring changes. At the root of these regrets, was the wish they had used different products, spent more time planning or invested the money to do the renovation they really wanted.

Adding to this, is the focus on aesthetics, which about 60 per cent of British Columbian homeowners think will increase the resale value of their home. However, these changes do not necessarily increase or maintain the value of a home long-term. In fact, maintaining worth depends heavily on energy-saving and maintenance upgrades such as updating the heating/cooling system and replacing windows, doors and roofing.

Despite some past regrets, British Columbian homeowners are not slowing down this year. More than 40 per cent are planning a renovation or home improvement project this spring. For those about to embark on a project, BC Hydro recommends the following solutions to improve energy efficiency and minimize renovation regret:

  • Doing the research: find out which renovations provide the best energy efficiency returns on the market – is a good place to start.
  • Taking advantage of rebates and incentives: BC Hydro offers home renovation rebates of up to $10,000 year-round to improve a home's energy efficiency.
  • Tracking electricity use: Identifying areas for improvement in the home by using MyHydro, BC Hydro's online electricity tracking tool.

For more information on how to save money and energy, visit

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604.928.6468

[1] Online survey conducted by Majid Khoury on behalf of BC Hydro of 800 British Columbian homeowners from Jan 29 to Feb 2.