Given how COVID has drastically changed how Canadians view and use their homes, it's no surprise that home renovation projects became a popular pastime over the last year.

Though, as more Canadians adapted their living quarters to keep up with changing lifestyle habits -- including making more space to work comfortably from home -- homeowners were actually investing in home renovations to improve their quality of life, not to add value to the real estate market, according to a new survey from RE/MAX.

In fact, more than half of Canadians renovated their homes in 2020, with 29% saying they renovated to enhance their lifestyle for non-essential reasons (aesthetic and/or recreational purposes,) while 29% said they did so for essential reasons (safety and maintenance).

On the other hand, only 16% of Canadians said they renovated to increase the market value of their home in order to sell within the next one to three years.

READ: Home Renovations in Canada Up Nearly 40% Since Start of Pandemic

"The notion of the home as an investment continues to be an important consideration for Canadian homeowners; however, they clearly value the home for what it is meant to be: a place to live and enjoy spending time,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada.

“The pandemic has influenced virtually every aspect of our lives, including what Canadians want and need in a home. The uncertainty also compelled many sellers to move to the sidelines or renovate their home to accommodate current quality-of-life needs, which has further tightened conditions across many Canadian real estate markets.”

With this in mind, nearly one year after the start of cross-country lockdowns, Canadians are still making renovation decisions, with over half (55%) of survey respondents saying they have already done some renos or would like to do a home renovation within the next year. Of this group, 35% say they would opt for minor renovations, such as painting.

Of course, when it comes to home renovations, certain projects result in greater returns on investments for homeowners -- with fresh paint and landscaping serving as two upgrades that yield a high ROI, despite being low-budget and minor in nature. The ROI also varies by region, with certain projects holding more importance in different cities.

According to the survey, the top home renovation trends that yield the greatest ROI in Ontario include kitchen renovations, followed by bathroom renos, and new flooring.

It's interesting to note that in regions like Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton-Burlington, Niagara, London, and Kingston/Napanee, there was a strong shift toward outdoor upgrades and amenities in 2020, specifically the addition of a pool or larger exterior living area.

Then across markets such as Mississauga, Thunder Bay, London, Barrie, and Ottawa, painting is noted by RE/MAX brokers as the top renovation that homeowners are doing themselves, as well as one of the best ways to also see an improvement on ROI.

That being said, below, you'll find the top three home renovation trends in Ontario yielding a greater ROI and a look at why you may want to consider tackling these projects yourself.

Kitchen Renovation

The kitchen is easily the most used room in your home, and because of this simple fact, it needs to be a space that you and your loved ones actually want to spend time in. This means that in addition to having fully operating appliances, you’re going to want to have a kitchen design that is not only functional but one that you’ll appreciate for years to come.

What's great about upgrading your kitchen is that you don't need to have a massive budget to see incredible results. You can revamp your kitchen by making the smallest of changes — think new paint, backsplash, and updated hardware and light fixtures -- that will still manage to make the space feel modern and new without having to break the bank.

Bathroom Renovation

The next space that easily gets the most use in your home is the bathroom, which just so happens to be a small enough room that it can be reworked with a few updates and minor renovations, which add style and function to the space without a total overhaul.

Some great ways to breathe new life into the bathroom is by adding statement wallpaper as it can completely transform the small space, or you could consider replacing the vanity with something that comes with a countertop and sink already installed for a budget-friendly bath refresh. Other ideas include creating a statement wall with a dynamic tile backsplash, adding more modern light fixtures, updating cabinet hardware, painting cabinets and cupboards, and swapping shower and faucet hardware with more modern finishes and styles.

New Flooring

Regardless of what room you want to update, you can instantly revamp a space by investing in your flooring. Though, you might not have to go all out and completely tear up what you currently have. If your existing floors are salvageable, quality flooring can often be fixed with a good sanding, a new finish, or even a fresh coat of paint.

Or, if you really want to give new life to your space, you could add statement-making patterned floor tiles, go for a beachy feel by whitewashing your hardwood floors, you could install waterproof vinyl plank flooring.