NYJONES by Tyler Schmall
New York office – 646-873-7565 / usnews@swns.com


They say to “love thy neighbor,” but apparently some didn’t get that message, as one in five Americans admits to doing a home improvement project just to one-up those next door.

A new study of 2,000 people also found that 34 percent of all home improvement and renovation projects are only done to keep up with or impress a friend, family member, or neighbor.

Not only that, the average homeowner has spent $3,558 on home improvements and renovations that were only done to keep up with or impress other people.

The new survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Wilsonart, delved into the motivation behind home improvements, and examine if there’s any competition with neighbors.

According to the results of the survey, the spirit of competition among neighbors is still very much alive, with 42 percent of Americans saying there is definitely some competition to have the best house on the block.

Nearly half of those studied (48 percent) admit to walking into a friend, family member, or neighbor’s house and actually being jealous of an aspect of a renovation or home addition they’ve done.

Sometimes, however, it’s the other way around, as 63 percent said they’ve walked into a friend, family member, or neighbor’s house and felt satisfied that their own house was in better shape.

So what kind of things do people tend to notice about other’s homes and what do they compare and contrast?

Whether or not the house is clean is the first thing people notice, according to the results, with 54 percent saying they will often compare someone else’s home cleanliness to their own home.

How cluttered the house appears is something 39 percent say they notice about other’s homes, 34 percent can’t help but notice if the home smells fresh or not, and one in four will notice if there’s a nice garden out front.

Said a spokesperson for Wilsonart: “Our study has found that many people will walk into a home and, like judging a book by its cover, will judge a kitchen by its countertops.

“The kitchen tends to be the heart of the home, so this is a good place to start when it comes to creating a space that will not only functionally suit your meal prep needs, but be on-trend, and truly a source of pride when it comes to entertaining family and friends.”

If your neighbor has a nice lawn, or a beautiful garden sitting out front, there’s a good chance that’s for you, as 41 percent admit that they have taken on a landscaping project in order to impress others.

One in four Americans has added or refurbished a deck in order to impress somebody, too.

According to the results, summer is the most popular season to get started on home projects, with one in five (21 percent) saying it’s the time of the year they’d be most likely to renovate their home.

And with summer in full swing, timing is right to roll-up sleeves and start those renovation projects, or call an interior designer or contractor and start exploring the possibilities.

In fact, 42 percent of Americans say they’ve got projects planned for their house in the summer months, with the average American saying they have 4 projects on that to-do list.

Said a spokesperson for Wilsonart: “Summer is the perfect time for homeowners to move on that renovation they’ve been itching to start or complete. To make a seemingly daunting project like a kitchen or bathroom remodel more manageable, start with one major point of focus, like a show-stopping island – quartz or concrete looks are hot right now – and then make your way to the perimeter.”


Landscaping 41%
Kitchen remodel 39%
Bathroom remodel 32%
Deck(s) 25%
Windows/door replacement 23%
Porch 23%
Repairing property damage 21%
New countertops 19%
Room additions 19%
Whole-house remodel 17%
Roofing 16%
Finish basement 15%
Bathroom additions 14%
Siding 12%
Garage 11%


Is the house clean? 54%
Is the place too cluttered? 39%
Do the rooms smell fresh? 34%
Is there a nice garden out front? 25%
Is the place homely? 24%
Is the temperature right/too hot/too cold? 19%
Do they have a nice TV? 19%
Are the bathroom countertops unclean? 19%
Any stains/marks on the wall in the house? 19%
Is the sofa comfy? 18%
Is the overall décor modern/stylish? 18%
Is the lighting at a good level? 15%
Are there a lot of kids’ toys around? 12%
Are the countertops outdated? 12%
Is the artwork nice or not? 11%
Is it noisy? 11%
Are the curtains outdated? 9%
Are the shoes in the hallway neatly stacked? 9%
Are the carpets hard underfoot? 8%
Use of smart technology? 8%



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