Builders' Merchants News

Henry needs a home too!

Published:  16 May, 2012

UK: New research reveals extreme measures some Brits take to squeeze into their homes and highlights what people really want and need from their homes.

The vacuum cleaner stored at Mum’s house a 20 minute drive away; BOGOF supermarket food deals kept in the boot of the car; these are just two of the real-life examples of how some British households are constrained by the design of their homes. Some homeowners are not just in need of storage space for seasonal or nostalgic possessions such as an artificial Christmas tree or their old wedding dress, but their homes lack space to store very basic household items, which means ironing boards, recycling bins and even food are being stored in surprisingly inventive ways.

More storage space is one of eight key features that people need when choosing a home as revealed in a new Ipsos MORI research report published for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The RIBA Ipsos MORI report ‘The Way we live now: What people need and expect from their homes’ is a piece of research that provides the only national evidence base setting out how people are using their homes now, what they look for when choosing a home and what they think needs to happen to improve the home-buying experience.

The eight key features that people need and want from their homes today, as revealed by the RIBA/Ipsos MORI report, are:

  1. Long-term and short-term storage for functional items, and for personal possessions people have chosen to keep during their lives
  2. Dedicated space for domestic utility tasks, such as vacuum cleaners, washing, drying and ironing clothes as well as storing rubbish and recycling
  3. Large windows for natural light, large rooms and high ceilings – these are typically referred to as ‘period features’. A ‘sense of space’ is vital to people’s wellbeing, and expectations of a new home are often shaped by the homes we have lived in previously.
  4. Large main living area - for social functions such as eating and entertaining and relaxing. People typically prefer to have an element of open-plan layout to accommodate entertaining friends or family, regardless of age or lifestyle.
  5. Layouts which take into account technology used within the home - we want our homes to have enough sockets and storage for technology to enable us to arrange furniture and rooms in different layouts.
  6. Space for private time away from other members of the household – across all age groups, and especially where generations live together, private space makes an important contribution to our sense of wellbeing within our homes. Noise reduction within and between households is also essential.
  7. Private space outside or access to green public space in urban locations – this is important for wellbeing for all, and particularly crucial for families; parents like a safe place for children to play outside.
  8. Options for different home layouts. Despite some universal needs such as flexible space to entertain and socialise, there were different needs and expectations according to the life stage or the size and age of households and families, which meant that there was no single, standard layout that would cater for all people.