A new YouGov survey of tastes in interior design reveals some striking details about the nation's property tastes
Anyone who has had dealings with estate agents in the past few years will have come across the same phrases: “neutral shades”, “open plan living area”, “period features"... But where do national tastes really lie? What would the nation’s dream home really look like?
We tested some of the key choices in interior design by asking what people’s dream home would look like, and found some striking results.
First, on the question of layout, you might have presumed that the fashion for “open plan living” that seems to be the hallmark of every new Grand Design has become a popular standard. Not so. An overwhelming majority (74%) of people would prefer “a separate kitchen to living room” than “one big space, with the kitchen as part of the open plan area” (19%). The open plan option is somewhat more popular among the youngest generation of 18-24 year olds (30%) but even among this group it is not preferred.
In terms of overall style, it seems here too we are a mostly traditional people. Significantly more people would choose “a lovely old building, with period features” (48%) over “a lovely modern architect-designed building” (38%). On this issue, however, there is a striking gender divide. Women strongly prefer a traditional décor (55% to 32%), but if they had it their way men would actually prefer to live in the modern style (43% to 41%).
On the overall colour scheme, the national preference is clear, and explains the dominance of neutral colour schemes in rental properties across the country. 72% of people would decorate their dream home in “neutral shades”, while only 17% prefer to live surrounded by “vibrant colours”. Younger generations are more likely to have an appetite for vibrant colour, but even among 18-24 year olds it is the less popular option.
But it is on the issue of whether, in your dream bathroom, you would prefer “a big walk-in shower with no bath” or “a bath that you can shower in” that the country is most evenly divided. 47% of the country would choose the bath, 43% the shower. Perhaps surprisingly, younger people (who you might expect to be more impatient and keen for a quick shower in the morning) most strongly wish for a bath, while the oldest generation would choose a walk-in shower. It may be that mobility and the potential hazards of getting in and out of the bath eventually trump comfort.
At the time of writing, there were 19,235 properties for sale in England on the Zoopla website including the description “period features” and 43,148 including “open plan living”.