Category Archives: Social

The DreamHouzz Pop Up Experience Taps into Key Social Trends


When Houzz UK opened the doors to its DreamHouzz pop-up retail experience in September, it was clear that the online platform for home renovation and design had tapped into some key social trends.

After surveying its community to assess what a ‘dream home’ really means to homeowners and renters, it gathered responses from 2,560 users, and then worked with nine interior design studios to create eight roomsets in a warehouse in Bermondsey.

When @houzzuk opened the doors to its DreamHouzz pop-up retail experience in September, it was clear that the online platform for home renovation and design had tapped into some key social trends. Click To Tweet

We take a look at the four roomsets that we think best show how our households are changing

The Renters Sanctuary

Dreamhouzz Renter’s Sanctuary

According to Office of National Statistics, there are 7.7million one-person households in the UK, with more female single households in older generations.  This roomset was designed by Sacha Berger of Honey Bee Interiors with a single forty-something woman in mind.

Berger says she had a clear vision of her ‘client’ – “She’s a journalist and loves nights in and enjoying her space,” she explained – and chose a muted palette to create a relaxed space to socialise in, to reflect how a professional woman might prefer to spend her spare time.

As it’s a room in a rented property, Berger selected freestanding pieces that can easily be packed up and moved from place to place. Trend-Monitor’s research confirms that today’s consumers have more transient lifestyles, and are choosing to rent rather than buy in order to maintain financial and social freedom.

The Millennial Flatshare

Dreamhouzz Millennial Flatshare

According to research by M&S Bank, a fifth of millennials do not believe they will ever be in a position to own their own home, and 60% of those aged 18 to 35 said they would consider taking out a mortgage as a group in order to get onto the property ladder.    The Millennial Flatshare space reflects this trend.  Created by Simone Gordon and Sophie van Winden of Owl Design, the space is designed for two friends in their thirties with a busy schedule.

The designers chose a colour scheme of burnt oranges, soft greens and pale pinks, along with long-lasting items of furniture made using traditional craft techniques. Recent research by AXA Insurance revealed that sustainability is increasingly a concern to people when it comes to creating living environments.

The Modern Family Pad 

Dreamhouzz Modern Family Pad

Research by the Royal Institute of British Architects has revealed that in the UK we are now living in the smallest houses in Western Europe. This small space accommodating a couple in their forties with a five-year-old child and family pet needed to be multi-functional and have as much storage as possible.

To add to the challenge, the ‘clients’ are said to enjoy cycling and yoga in their spare time. “We had to think of creative ways to optimise it without it feeling cluttered,” explained the designers from At Home with Hostmaker. “We’ve used the wall for bike storage and other gym equipment, and we’ve added in a space-saving shoe rack and shelving.” A designated play area gives the room extra flexibility.

The Dog Lovers’ Creative Quarters

Dreamhouzz Dog Lovers Creative Quarters

Trend-Monitor has established that as UK birth rates are falling, pet ownership is going up – consequently we now spend more on our pets than we do on our children.  This space reflects this trend; designed by Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead of 2LG Studio for a couple who love travel and fashion, and let their mini dachshund sleep on their bed. “The owners spend a lot of time in front of computer screens or on the phone, so it’s important their bedroom is a sanctuary,” said the designers. “Our favourite thing in the space is the wallpaper – a witty nod to the owners’ beloved animal companion,” they added. 


The Size of an Average Kitchen in the UK


At Trend-Monitor we are often asked the size of an average kitchen in the UK.  We had an idea, but no concrete evidence, which is why we were really pleased to find this interesting piece of research by LABC Warranties which documents the changing average kitchen sizes across the decades.


The data experts at LABC Warranty wanted to settle an argument once and for all – are Britain’s houses really getting smaller?  To do this they turned to property sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla and analysed data on 10,000 houses built in each decade going all the way back to the 1930s.

And according their analysis – Britain’s houses really are getting smaller.

Why did they start in the 1930s?  Well, unfortunately there just isn’t enough data for houses built in the decades before 1930. Whether they have been knocked down to make way for new housing developments or turned into student accommodation, there simply weren’t 10,000 houses available to analyse.

So what did their analysis tell us about kitchen sizes?

Houses built in the 1930s had the smallest kitchens of any decade, with the average measuring just 12.27m2.

Average house built in the 1930s


In the 1940’s the average kitchen size grew by nearly 1.5m2   across the decade

Trend-Monitor-Average-Kitchen-Size 1940s
Average house built in the 1940s


In the 1950s, the average kitchen size grew by another 0.30m2

Average house build in the 1950s


In the 1960s, the average kitchen size grew again, this time by another 1.32m2

Average house built in the 1960s


Overall, Britain built the largest houses during the 1970s, however the average kitchen size within these houses started to shrink

Average house built in the 1970s


In the 1980s the average house size started to shrink and the kitchen size shrank even further

Average house built in the 1980s


In the 1990s Britain’s houses continued to get smaller and the kitchens lost another 0.25m2

Average house built in the 1990s


Again in the 2000s, Britain’s houses got even smaller, along with the average kitchen size

Average house built in the 2000s


Today, Britain’s new-build houses have never been so small. The LABC Warranty analysis of the first seven years of this decade shows continued regression.  Compared to the previous decade, homes built from 2010 onwards are over 4m2 smaller, and our kitchens are not much bigger than they were in the 1930’s – the decade of the smallest kitchen.

Current new built housing


Average Kitchen Sizes in Square Metres


All statistics that feature in this article have been collated using open data from property sites Rightmove and Zoopla. The study looked at 10,000 houses built in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and the current decade. Data was taken on individual rooms within a home. All statistics are calculated on average. 


Source:  Research by LABC Warranty

What happens behind the closed bathroom door?


Why do we spend so long in the shower?  How often is a double-flush required?  How deep is the bath filled?  Is it hot water or cold water first?  How often is the toilet really cleaned?  Does face washing require the plug to be in or out?

What really goes on in the privacy of our bathrooms? 

In April we will be finding out ….

We have asked 50 UK householders to take part in a unique 7-day study into what happens behind the closed bathroom door, in order to get a real understanding of bathroom habits and behaviours,

The study, which is a collaboration between Trend-Monitor and The Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA),  is in the format of an online interactive diary with two-way, real-time communication between the researchers and the participants.  This enables daily tasks to be set, further details requested, images uploaded, different workday and rest day behaviours to be captured, and much more.

Alongside the diary study, a quantitative survey will question 500 homeowners on their decision-making process when purchasing a new bathroom and evaluate their satisfaction levels after purchase.  Plus record their awareness of water regulations and legal compliance whilst making their purchases.

“This is the first time any organisation from our industry has questioned the consumer in so much detail about their bathrooms and how they use bathroom products,” said BMA CEO Yvonne Orgill.

“The results of the research will aid the BMA to talk with clarity and credibility when working with the government and other organisations on water issues.”

Jane Blakeborough, research director at Trend-Monitor comments “We have been wanting to run a study of this type for some time now and partnering with the BMA has meant that we have been able to work closely with bathroom manufacturers to understand what it is they really want to know about bathroom product usage in the home environment”

The results of both studies will be made available to BMA members and Trend-Monitor Insight Partners.

For more information, please contact, tel 0113 209 3288


Ikea launches furniture range for pets

Ikea pet furniture range

Have you ever felt like your cat or dog wasn’t just a pet, but a member of the family?  You are not alone.

IKEA felt there was a gap in the market for reasonably priced, but nice-looking pet products and developed a pet product range.  The new LURVIG collection, which means “hairy” in Swedish, was launched in five countries — Japan, France, Canada, U.S and Portugal at the start of October.

Ikea pet furniture range

Created by pet loving designer, Inma Burmudez,  with support from veterinarians,  according to Ikea “the range covers all the bases of our shared life with pets indoors and out, so you and your pet can enjoy your home together“.

Ikea furniture for cats

Ikea furniture for dogs

Source:  Ikea 

How much living space do we really need?

Mini Living Urban Cabin

As part of the London Design Week, a collaboration between the car brand Mini and architect Sam Jacob attempts to answer the question of how much living space we really need with the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin.

MINI created the Urban Cabin as part of its ongoing MINI Living project, which is exploring new forms of urban living.   Designed for a future when homes become a shared resource and with modern city living in mind, the Urban Cabin demonstrates how to maximise your living space on a small urban footprint, applying creativity and innovation to a limited space.   Although limitation can have a negative connotation when it forces us to do without the things we believe we need, the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin offsets this by showing that it is simply a matter of creatively exploring possibilities.

Mini Living Urban Cabin

At just 15 sqm, the Urban Cabin is a compact micro-house demonstrating clever alternatives to space-saving. Externally, the design is inspired by London’s rich history of geometric facades, emulating the surrounding architecture by reflecting them back with mirrored surfaces

Inside the imaginative space is a homage to British eccentricity and houses an innovative blend of areas for social gatherings alongside space to take stock and have moments of calm and privacy.

Mini Living Urban Cabin

Equipped with a shared kitchen and micro-library, the miniature space is intended to foster communal exchanges.  The kitchen for example has been created with London’s food markets in mind, aiming to bring their culture and diversity into the home, whilst the micro-library suggests the importance of preserving public spaces for people to read.

Mini Living Urban Cabin

White materials are predominantly used to create a light and airy feel, combined with modern touches.  And the whole space has been designed with versatility in mind, for example the table can spontaneously be moved outside to take advantage of warmer weather.

Mini Living Urban Cabin

Mini Living Urban Cabin

The Urban Cabin is the latest in a series of structures that MINI has built as part of MINI Living. The first was an installation at Milan design week in 2016, which also explored the idea of shared living spaces.

The Rise of Home Workers

A desire for a better work-life balance, coupled with converging technologies and the digitisation of products has led to 4 million people leaving the office behind to work primarily from home, with a further 1.8 million of us wanting work from home if we could.


Working from home trend
Infographic produced by Sage


Trend-Monitor’s own research into kitchen purchase behaviour and the motivations behind the purchase of kitchen products found that over 40% of UK kitchens have to double up as a home office space.

According to Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at global job site Indeed, said: “Flexibility is high up the wishlist for employees of all ages – from new parents who need to juggle work with childcare, to older workers.

“But younger workers in particular see it as essential. Digital natives often expect to be able to harness the flexibility that technology provides, to enable them to work whenever and wherever suits them.”

In 2014 The Office of National Statistics investigated the characteristics of home workers.  Their key findings are as follows:-

  • Of the 30.2 million people in work in January to March 2014, 4.2 million were home workers, giving a home worker rate of 13.9% of those in work.  This is the highest rate since comparable records began in 1998.
  • The number of home workers has grown by 1.3 million and the rate by 2.8 percentage points since 1998
  • Home workers tend to work in higher skilled roles than the rest of the population and consequently earn on average a higher hourly wage.
  • Almost two-thirds of home workers were self-employed in 2014.
  • Using the home for work is most prevalent within the agriculture and construction industries.
  • Working from home is more prevalent among individuals who are older.
  • The South West was the region of Great Britain with the highest home working rate at 17.1%.

More recent research by the TUC, published in May 2016 to mark National Work from Home day, found that the number of employees who say they usually work from home has increased by a fifth (19%) over the past decade, with nearly a quarter of a million (241,000) more people working from home than 10 years ago.

The biggest growth in regular home working has been among women employees, with 35% (157,000) more working from home in 2015 than in 2005.

However, men still account for the majority of homeworkers, with 912,000 regularly working from home in 2015, compared to 609,000 women.

Older employees are more likely to work from home, with 454,000 in their forties and 414,000 in their fifties home-working.


Source:  The Office of National Statistics, Sage, The TUC


Designing Homes for Multigenerational Living

Multigenerational living trend

Nearly 7% of UK households are multigenerational, the equivalent of 1.8 million households, and yet in the UK this concept is not well-understood and there has been little development of new home designs to suit the needs of families that would like to live in a multigenerational household.

Households are defined as multigenerational where there are three or more generations of the same family living together, or two generations of the same family living together, consisting of parents and one or more adult children (over the age of 25), or two generations of the same family living together consisting of one or more adult children (typically middle aged) and their elderly parent(s)

New research by The NHBC Foundation identifies a growing trend towards multigenerational living.  Their report, Multigenerational Living, An Opportunity for House Builders?,  analyses the scale and types of multigenerational households currently found in the UK and explores the experiences of British families living in this way.

Multigenerational living was also discussed with a range of house builders to understand their perspective on this market, in terms of their perception of both opportunity and risk.

The research provides evidence that challenges some myths about multigenerational living in the UK and suggests that it is not just ethnic minority families who choose to live in multigenerational households,  it is not just a response to care needs or housing affordability problems and it is not just about living in properties with annexes.

Key Findings

  • The number of multigenerational households in the UK has been increasing, driven by greater numbers of adult children (aged 25 or over) living in the parental home.
  • Four out of five multigenerational households in the UK are White British, although some ethnic groups (predominantly Asian families) are more likely than White British people to live in multigenerational households.
  • Multigenerational households tend not to be large and typically much smaller than often portrayed. Approximately one-quarter of households with grandparent(s) present contain three people, just over 20% contain four people and a similar proportion contain five people. Two-adult-generation households are generally smaller and are most likely to comprise just three people.  Average-sized homes with little or no modification may therefore provide satisfactory accommodation for many multigenerational households
  • Multigenerational households are most likely to live in three- or four-bedroom homes that they own, and the households, in general, are not living in poverty.
  • Multigenerational households predominantly live in ‘standard’ properties, and not all have annexes or extensions to accommodate household members separately

Requirements for Multigenerational Living

The research showed that, in terms of the design and use of space in the home, privacy is important but so is the ability to flexibly use any ‘additional’ space.  The best model included some shared spaces, open-plan dining and
an element of private space. For example, there needs to be space for interaction, such as family meals, but some privacy, such as separate rooms to entertain guests or watch television.

A limited number of bathrooms can cause tensions if everyone needs to be ready at the same time of day, so en-suites or multiple bathrooms were welcomed.

The flexibility to adapt properties over time to suit different family arrangements was welcomed. Such future-proofing might, for example, enable easy adaptation of a downstairs room (with access to a WC) into a bedroom.

Adaping New-Build House Designs for Multigenerational Households

A design review by The NHBC Foundation identified various existing common new-build house designs that are suitable for multigenerational households, or which could easily be adapted to be so.

  1. Suitable without change
    These are typically designs in which one or two bedrooms and a bathroom form a relatively separate suite of rooms on its own floor (typically the top floor of a three-storey house). These house types offer the possibility of immediate use of this suite of rooms, either by an elderly relative or by adult children, without any alteration or conversion of the existing plan.
  2. Adjustment of existing plan layout
    The second type of newbuild design identified by the review comprises houses in which the original plan offers a particularly large double bedroom, usually with an ensuite bathroom, often located above a double garage or a ground floor wing. In these cases the layout can often be changed to provide a self-contained space with a living room, double bedroom and ensuite bathroom, plus the option of a kitchenette.
  3. Opportunity to extend
    These are houses which offer the opportunity to provide a separate self-contained extension to the original house. Such homes might be marketed either with planning consent and designed to comply with Building Regulations, leaving the purchaser to engage a contactor to carry out the work, or as an ‘off plan’ option in which the house builder would complete the extension as part of the main work.
  4. Ground-floor alteration
    Where the existing ground-floor plan has a large bedroom or family room, this may be suitable for conversion into a self-contained living area with its own entrance.

NHBC Foundation Multigenerational Living

The full report from The NHBC Foundation can be downloaded here >>

Source:  The NHBC Foundation “Multigenerational Living, An Opportunity for UK house builders” Report


The Structure of Families and Households in the UK

uk family structure

The structure of our family or household is one of foundations on which we decide how we live in our homes and the type of products we will buy for our homes

Here we highlight 6 key facts about UK family and household structures, courtesy of the Office of National Statistics:-

#1. Married or civil partner couple families are the most common family type

Of the 18.9 million families in the UK, the most common type of family is married or civil partner couple families, of which there are 12.7 million.  And married or civil partner couples without dependent children are more common than those with dependent children, at 7.9 million and 4.8 million respectively

Families by family type ONS

The second largest family type is the cohabiting couple family at 3.3 million, which is the fastest growing family type and has doubled over the past 20 years.

Opposite sex married couple families account for 79.1% of all couple families. Opposite sex cohabiting couple families were the next largest type of couple family at 19.8%.  Same sex couple families (including civil partner, same sex married and same sex cohabiting couple families) accounted for 1% of all couple families.

#2. Lone parent families have grown significantly

Since 1996, lone parent families have grown by 18.6%, a statistically significant increase; in comparison married couple families have grown very little (0.3%).

Of the 2.9 million lone parent families in the UK in 2016, the majority (86%) were headed by a female lone parent.  This percentage has changed little over the past 20 years as women continue to be more likely to take the main caring responsibilities for any children when a relationship breaks down and therefore become lone parents.

#3. More young adults are living with their parents

In 1996 around 5.8 million 15 to 34 year olds in the UK lived with their parents, this increased to a peak of 6.7 million in 2014 and remained around 6.5 million in 2016.

Although the total population aged 15 to 34 in the UK has increased over the past 20 years, the percentage living with their parents has risen from 36% in 1996 to 39% in 2016.

Young adults living with their parents

A large percentage of 15 to 19 year olds would be expected to be living with their parents and the number of young adults living with their parents has shown to decrease with age.   Looking at 20 to 34 year olds, the number living with their parents has increased from 2.7 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2013 and has since remained at 3.3 million. The percentage living with their parents has risen from 21% in 1996 to 25% in 2016.Young males are more likely than young females to be living with their parents. Around 44% of males aged 15 to 34 are living with their parents and 31% of males aged 20 to 34 are living with their parents.   This is compared with 34% of females aged 15 to 34 and only 20% of females aged 20 to 34.

Larger numbers of young adults tending to stay at home for longer may be explained by them staying in education and training for longer, delaying leaving the parental home as they formalise relationships and have children at older ages and also as it has become more expensive to rent or buy a home.


#4. Average UK household size is 2.4 people

There are 27.1 million households in the UK and this number has increased by 7% since 2006, in line with the growth of the UK population during this period. As a result, the average household size has remained at 2.4 people over the decade.

Around 28% of households contained one person. Although this has not changed much over the last decade, compare this to 1971 when only 17% of households in Great Britain contained one person, it would suggest that the proportion of one-person households has increased considerably since the early 1970s.

Households were most likely to contain 2 people (35%) while 16% of households contained 3 people and 21% of households contained 4 or more people.

#5. Multi-Family Households are the fastest growing family type

Households containing 2 or more families have increased by 66% from 194,000 households in 2006 to 323,000 households in 2016.

Multi-family households cover many different situations; the families may be completely unrelated, or they may be multigenerational and related in some way, for example, a married couple with their son and his girlfriend, older couples moving in with their adult child and their family, young adults who are partnered or lone parents, remaining or returning to their parent’s household.

The increase in multi-family households is considered to be statistically significant, yet despite this rise, which was also seen using the 2011 Census results, multi-family households still only represented a very small proportion (1.2%) of all households in 2016.

#6. More women than men live alone

Of the 7.7 million one-person households in the UK, overall 54.2% of them contain one woman and 45.8% of them contain one man.

However, when considering the ages of 16 to 64, the majority (57.8%) living alone are male. This pattern is reversed for those ages 65 to 74 and 75 and over, where 62% and 71.8% respectively are female.

The disparity in the younger age group could be explained by the higher proportions of men than women who never marry, men marry at older ages than women and marry women younger than themselves, and partnership dissolution leading to men living alone while women are more likely to live with any children from the relationship.

In the older age groups, the higher percentage of women living along is partly because there are more women than men in the total population aged 65 and over due to women’s higher life expectancy.  By the age of 65 most women have been married and husbands are typically older than their wives. These 2 factors accentuate the gap in life expectancy between husbands and wives and mean that more women than men become widowed, which may lead to living alone.

However, it should be noted that the number of widowed women is falling due to life expectancy increasing faster for men compared with women.


What you should know:-

  • family is a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children, or a lone parent, with at least one child, who live at the same address. Children may be dependent or non-dependent.
  • household is one person living alone, or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room, sitting room or dining area. A household can consist of more than one family, or no families in the case of a group of unrelated people.
  • Dependent children are those aged under 16 living with at least one parent, or aged 16 to 18 in full-time education, excluding all children who have a spouse, partner or child living in the household
  • The term “Parent” could include grandparents, step-parents or foster parents
  • Once a person either lives with a partner or has a child, they are considered to have formed their own family and are no longer counted as being part of their parents’ family even if they still live in the same household.


Building Places That Work for Everyone

Building places that work for everyong

This report by the UK Green Building Council gives an insights into key Government priorities for the built environment and how the construction industry can address the challenges these priorities raise.

Under Theresa May’s leadership, the current Conservative Government has set out its vision of a country, an economy and a society that works for everyone. Achieving this vision requires the Government to address some of the fundamental challenges facing British people today.

  • The urgent need to build new homes and thriving communities
  • To reduce energy bills for those that are just about managing
  • Improved health and wellbeing to reduce the burden on the NHS
  • For jobs to be created, skills to be developed, and productivity to be boosted in a post-Brexit Britain

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) and its multitude of diverse and progressive member businesses believe that the built environment is fundamental to addressing these challenges, indicating that building places that work for everyone can and will support the Government’s policy priorities.

Download the report here



Woman twice as likely to take charge of building projects

Women in construction

When it comes to making vital decisions regarding building work, women are twice as likely to have the final say on the style and scope of the project.

New research by the Federation of Master Builders  also asked female home owners if they have ever carried out a range of basic DIY tasks around the home and the results were as follows:

• Almost 80 percent have painted a room;
• 65 percent have put together flat-pack furniture;
• 58 percent have unblocked a sink;
• Over 50 percent have changed a fuse;
• 44 percent have unblocked a toilet;
• Over a quarter have cleared the guttering.

Jenny Carter, mum of one from North West London, said:

“I’m happy to hire a builder for the big jobs but it would cost me a fortune if I had to pay a tradesperson every time I needed to change a fuse. If I’m a bit unsure, I tend to search online for “how-to” videos to help guide me through the process – these videos give people like me a bit more confidence to tackle the smaller jobs. Every family is different but in our house, when it comes to these sorts of tasks, I’m easily as handy as my other half.”
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said:

This research shows that any lingering gender stereotypes regarding domestic life are totally outdated. Not only do women lead on decisions regarding the style and scope of building projects, they also get stuck in themselves when hiring a builder isn’t necessary. In 21st century Britain, you’re just as likely to find a woman up a ladder clearing out the guttering or battling with flat-pack furniture, as you might be likely to find her performing some of the more traditional domestic chores.”

Berry also added  “On a more serious note, the construction industry is facing a massive skills shortage and we’re crying out for more female builders. At present, only 2% of construction workers onsite are female and until we start to appeal to 50% of the population, we won’t be able to plug the skills gap. It is my hope that these hands-on women, many of whom will be mums, are inspiring their daughters to think differently about what is an acceptable career path for girls. There is no reason why young women can’t become the next generation of brickies and sparks and it’s our job to remind them of that.”


Source: Federation of Master Builders