Home improvement is increasingly being seen as a way to add value to homes, with two thirds of European households – 68% – making upgrades to their properties compared with 17% two years ago, according to a report released by Kingfisher.
The Kingfisher European Home Report 2014 – which surveyed 17,000 householders across nine European countries – revealed that 17% are planning a new kitchen or renovation in the next 12 months.
The survey, from the retailer that owns B&Q, also showed a rise in aspirational living, with 39% wanting to upgrade their homes to impress friends. Brits were revealed as the nation that wants en suite bathrooms more than any other European country.
The research follows a survey by American design company Hoozz, who found that kitchen and bathroom makeovers were top of home improvement plans, along with complete home renovations.
With UK homes the smallest in Europe, houses being built on smaller plots and rising trends such as working from home and children living longer with their parents, people are increasingly viewing their homes as a flexible, adaptable space that needs to change to accommodate shifting priorities.
Almost one in five surveyed dreams of owning a designer kitchen, while one in four already has a kitchen island, open shelves and a breakfast bar, suggesting kitchens are ‘sociable, with space to eat in’, according to Hoozz.
More than three quarters (77%) of Europeans surveyed said their current home needs adapting to changing family needs, 22% said they need to create more space, while 46% of people have, or would like, a home office.
Roll-top baths are a popular choice in the modern bathroom – owned by 9% of those surveyed, while 16% have added mosaic tiles and a further 6% have a TV installed. Manchester was revealed as the city where homeowners are most likely to own a Jacuzzi bath.
Financial fears driving energy agenda
The Kingfisher European Home Report also found that rising energy prices are by far the number one fear of European homeowners, with 65% of people saying that rising energy prices are their number one worry about the home. This is more than double the number of people who are worried about keeping up with the mortgage/rent (23%).
Not only are homeowners looking to adapt their space for better lives, they are also looking increasingly to use home improvement to increase the value of their home as the number of homeowners using home improvement to increase the value of their home has quadrupled from 17% in 2012 to 68% in 2014.
Sir Ian Cheshire, group chief executive of Kingfisher, said: “As lifestyles change and living costs rise, people want more and more from their home. The modern home increasingly needs to be a flexible, adaptable space that is able to evolve as our lives change. These days our homes need to be an office, an entertainment hub and a multi-generational living space.”
“Despite worries about rising energy costs, the big increase in those looking to use their home as a wealth creator through doing home improvement shows people are more confident about their homes than they were just a couple of years ago.”