Home or residential renovation is an almost $300 billion industry in the United States, and a $48 billion industry in Canada. The average cost per project is $3,000 in the United States and $11,000–15,000 in Canada.

Professional home improvement is ancient and goes back to the beginning of recorded civilization. One example is Sergius Orata, who in the 1st century B.C. is said by the writer Vitruvius (in his famous book De architectura) to have invented the hypocaust. The hypocaust is an underfloor heating system that was used throughout the Roman empire in villas of the wealthy. He is said to have become wealthy himself by buying villas at a low price, adding spas and his newly invented hypocaust, and reselling them at higher prices.