A national survey sponsored by American Express shows that home improvement is high on the list of priorities for Americans.

However, the results also indicated a continuing proliferation of do-it-yourselfers. Surveyors telephoned 341 heads of household who planned to embark on some sort of home improvement and asked them questions regarding the nature of those projects. Of those, 72% said they would do all or most of the work. And less than 20% of that group planned to consult a professional for help with their project.

Forty-one percent said they will be remodeling in 2003, second only to interior decorating. Kitchens were the room of choice for these respondents, followed by bathrooms and master bedrooms.

The results from the survey also indicated that people are looking to stretch their budgets. A press release announcing the results said that many homeowners will shop at places they can earn "points" or other rewards. The average home improvement budget was $3,796, up from $2,888 in 2000, the last time the survey was conducted.

How are Consumers Planning on Using Their Home Improvement Dollars in 2003?
Interior decorating 44%
Remodeling 41%
Landscaping 35%
Plumbing 26%
Gardening 26%
Refurnishing a room 22%
Exterior decorating 19%
Restoration 16%
Adding a room 16%
Building an outdoor living space 14%
Source: 2003 American Express Home Improvement Index