Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

TikTok feeds the millennial obsession with house renovation

After months of protesting, thinking I was way too cool to use it and fostering the belief that I had surpassed the age at which making videos on the app was appropriate, I finally bit the bullet and joined millions of other millennials and gen Z-ers by downloading TikTok.

Since then, my usage of the app has only increased and the videos that I’m seeing on my For You page have changed substantially. The For You page uses an algorithm based on the videos you most engage with and what kinds of tags you usually seem to like so it’s unsurprising that the more you use the app, the more personalised it becomes.

I think we’ll have to settle on enjoying the home renovation videos from a distance

What started off as generic videos about university students, food, books and fashion has transformed into a For You page that is almost exclusively about home renovation. Once the obsession of our parents and grandparents, home renovation was manifested in cheesy 1990s home décor TV shows where the hosts would drastically redesign the homes of the guests, filling them with garish rugs, the latest technology and frightening modernist light structures. Now, it seems a refreshing genre of TikTok video focused on usually young couples flipping outdated homes are the modern-day equivalent of Homes Under the Hammer.

It’s hard to deny that there’s a certain charm to these videos. As students, confined to dingy flats that cost extortionate amounts of money and have stringent rules over how and how we can’t decorate, there’s something satisfying about seeing people completely makeover a house and turn it into something amazing.

While we’d all like to get rid of the god awful curtains, paint over the cracks in our walls and replace the interesting carpet choices that come with student homes, for now, I think we’ll have to settle on enjoying the home renovation videos from a distance.

To put it simply – we all love a bargain

In 2016, home ownership in the UK fell to a record low of 63% from a peak of 70% in 2001. Since then it has only marginally increased. What’s more interesting is that between the years 1980 to 2002, mortgages for first-time buyers were just under 500,000 a year. In the 2010s, this dropped to below 300,000.

Now, I’m no housing expert and this might simply mean that fewer first-time buyers are taking out mortgages, but I suspect that there’s something more cynical going on here. It seems as though people are buying houses much later and there are fewer first-time buyers accessing loans because there are fewer people buying properties.

Anyone can tell you that house prices today are extortionately high compared to what they were in earlier decades, even when you take higher incomes and living standards into account.

These videos help to provide a sense of grounding, escapism and they’re also just plain satisfying

These home renovation videos which are thriving on TikTok speak to the dream among lots of millennials and gen Z-ers about the prospect of one day owning a house of their own but feeling as though this is just out of reach. While the certainty of a job after graduation and the ability to save enough for a deposit on a house might seem so far off, especially after the awful year that we’ve had in 2020, these videos give us something to aim for and to dream about.

There’s also the practical inspiration that comes from these videos. The users often take pretty run-down houses that look like nothing special and turn the insides into homes that we can only dream of. To put it simply – we all love a bargain. We love the thought that we can do things for ourselves for low costs and design things to be exactly how we like them.

I’m trying not to get all postmodernist on you but if the past year has proved anything, it is just how chaotic modern life is. Everything is so unpredictable and fragmented, and it can feel at times that there is nothing in the world we are in control of. These videos help to provide a sense of grounding, escapism and they’re also just plain satisfying. The idea that you can choose every aspect of a home to fit your preferences is appealing to us. If a video of someone stripping a wall and painting it fabulous colours does anything for me, it makes me feel good inside.

TikTok’s expanding genre of home renovation videos is something we can all enjoy

It doesn’t matter whether you ever want to buy a property which many people actually choose not to. Lots of us actually like the freedom that comes with renting and being able to live anywhere you want and also there are lots of people that can’t afford to buy somewhere.

Whether you’re dreaming about buying a house one day, get satisfaction out of watching DIY videos or are just looking for a bit of escapism during the depths of this awful 2020 – TikTok’s expanding genre of home renovation videos is something we can all enjoy. In an unpredictable age, the sense of comfort and control that we get from these videos is nothing short of a miracle.

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