Whether homeowners are nervous about over-improving their properties or just continuing to feel the economic pinch, the days of the mega-home 867237_diy_painting_blueimprovement projects may be behind us for a while. Three or four years ago, kitchen and bathroom makeovers fueled the home improvement industry and many consumers spent thousands of dollars turning their backyards in outdoor living spaces. Consumers are still spending, but on much smaller projects. This trend means that manufacturers and retailers will be promoting a different line of goods and services.

A recent New York Times article highlighted how two industry heavy-weight, Lowes and Home Depot, have shifted resources to respond to changing consumer behavior. In addition to staffing up their do-it-yourself departments, these companies are lining shelves with supplies like paint, hardware and repair parts.  These days, homeowners are looking to repair their grills instead of tossing out the old one and buying the latest model. And the downturn in spending on consumer projects is expected to last through 2012. That’s when the Home Improvement Research Institute predicts that spending will finally exceed 2009 spending levels.

Local hardware and related stores may soon be changing their advertising campaigns to position themselves as the do-it-yourself experts. There are plenty of consumers out there, who for the first time, may be facing the daunting task of staining their own deck or painting their own homes during the busy fall home improvement season.

[Sources: Thompson, Peter. D.I.Y. Chains Adjust to Smaller Projects, New York Times, 8.22.09; Home Improvement Research Institute, August update]