If there was ever a time to hone your renovation skills, it was now. With nowhere for people to go, the country has been gripped by renovation fever, with householders from the Prime Minister down embarking on ambitious revamps.
For Belfast-born builder Mark Millar, lockdown brought a halt to DIY SOS, the home make-over programme that transformed him into a household name. But the surge in renovations brought new opportunities, and he has spent much of the pandemic year on the road, filming Dream Kitchens and Bathrooms with Mark Millar for Channel Five.
"I finished doing an episode of SOS on the day the lockdown was called and I didn't know what was going to happen because everything had stopped for us," he says.
"But that was when Channel Five came up with this great idea for a very exciting show, and I was honoured that they asked me to come along and do it.
"What was really exciting was that suddenly people were at home, nobody was going on holiday and everybody was sitting indoors - many people decided to spend a bit of money on their kitchen and bathrooms.
"Through the whole lockdown, the building industry was incredibly busy… It was just amazing - every Tom, Dick and Harry was doing their bathroom or kitchen.
"So the challenge we had was to make a television programme through lockdown, while sticking to all the rules of social distancing and making sure everybody was safe.
"It made it a lot harder and the timescale was a lot longer to make the show. People couldn't get the materials they needed straight off the shelves and everything was really challenging."
Mark, who runs his own Bristol-based building company, Millar Builds, admits it was a strange time to be out and about with a TV crew, often staying in deserted hotels with skeleton staff and fending for themselves at mealtimes because there was nowhere to buy dinner.
"I kept my sanity swimming in the cold water every day - I've really got into wild water swimming," he says.
The series features a huge variety of families around the country, he says.
"We had people who had quite buoyant bank accounts who were able to order luxury items for very beautiful kitchens and bathrooms, and others who decided to do it themselves, and didn't have quite as big a budget and were making it very difficult for themselves by setting themselves really tiny budgets," Mark says.
"We did things like upcycling and recycling, restoring bits of old furniture for new purposes. It was really interesting and we really made people think."
Mark, who grew up in Bangor, originally wanted to be a chef but trained as an apprentice joiner after his dad presented him with a set of chisels for his 13th birthday.
"I did my apprenticeship in Northern Ireland for Eddie Fox in a lovely old workshop in Bangor - there were two joiners and two apprentices. I was very lucky to fall into one of those apprenticeships," he says.
After completing his apprenticeship, Mark headed to London and then Bristol.
"They have the same sense of humour here as they have in Belfast, so I decided to settle there and brought my family up.
"I started a building company, Millar Builds, and ran it for years until one day a shiny person with Californian teeth knocked on my door and asked if I wanted to be on television," the dad-of-two says.
"I turned DIY SOS down four times, until one fateful day when a lovely producer talked me into it," he says.
"I started doing the TV and I realised it was so special to have the job with DIY SOS and be able to help so many people. I fell completely in love with it and ended up devoting my life to it."
One of the most emotional moments was when he finally got to do a build in Northern Ireland, two streets from where he grew up, and which aired in February.
"We'd been on the road for 21 years and never had an enquiry to work in Northern Ireland -and then we got two in the same week," he laughs.
"It was the most powerful emotional bit of television that I've ever been involved in because I saw the people of my country coming together and working as one.
"It left me feeling incredibly proud of the country where I come from. On site we had about 350 people but I think the applications were in the thousands - we've never had a turn-out like it, ever.
"I was very emotional - I left in 1984 and it was a very different place to live, and I came back to this glorious, joyous, hilarious country where people were so alive and full of fun and humour. I was so proud to be there."
Mark says making Dream Kitchens and Bathrooms with Mark Millar during lockdown proved interesting, because people weren't used to spending 24/7 together.
"It put a lot of pressure on families. But what I noticed was how excited people got about working together - families had the chance to become creative and think outside of the box," he says.
"It felt like going back to the 1930s when there was no social media to distract us and when people did things together."
Dream Kitchens and Bathrooms with Mark Millar airs 7pm on Tuesdays on Channel 5