Thought only women obsess about how their home looks? Prepare to be shocked. New research by wallpaper people Graham & Brown reveals that 47 per cent of British men think they have a better eye for style than their partner. And a huge 85 per cent are actively involved in the interior design of their home.
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Surprised? Then you might want to sit down for this next bit. 47 per cent of the men surveyed said they REGULARLY shop for scented candles. Yes, you read that right. And 54 per cent purchase cushions. Yes CUSHIONS. Clearly they haven't been to Digital Editor Amy's house, where her husband Karl regards cushions as his nemesis, constantly throwing them off sofas and beds and trying to sneak them out in charity bags.
There are quite a few green-fingered gentlemen out there, too. Just under half (47 per cent) admitted to buying pot plants to add vibrancy to their homes, and fresh flowers are another favourite purchase. Artwork and throws are other favourite buys, and the average chap says he'll buy things for his home at least three times a month.
Less amazingly, a man's keen interest in interiors can cause problems. And if you've ever played one of our favourite games – spot the couple trying not to have a full-blown row in Ikea – you'll know what we mean. Yes, 30 per cent of the 1,500 surveyed said they'd had an argument with their other half in a furniture or DIY shop because they disagreed on something.
Other bones of contention include how to make the bed, with one in five couples arguing about the right way to do it, and hanging a picture, which frustrated 14 per cent of those asked. Even deciding which towels guests can use causes disagreements – perhaps they need 11 categories like Monica Gellar in Friends. And as everyone knows, the right answer is Fancy Guest.
Get it right: How to hang pictures
One final shocking revelation is that 53 per cent of the men asked said they spent more on homeware than they do on clothes, tech or going out. But it begins to make sense when 85 per cent of the single men taking part in the survey believe that a stylish home will make them more attractive to potential partners. Do you agree?
Alan Kemp, Graham & Brown's head of marketing, is as taken aback as we are. 'It’s been our experience that women are more involved with the interior styling of family homes than men are,' he says. 'But this research reveals that this isn't always the case, and in fact British men are more involved in choosing items like wallpaper, soft furnishings and homeware than ever before.'
They'll spend more, too, totting up £1,304 on purchases of paint, wallpaper and homeware a year. That compares to a woman's spend of £1,141.
We can't really say that who spends what is proof that men are more interested in interiors than women. But we can say that attitudes have changed. The poll's final revelations are than 87 per cent of men think they are more interested in interiors and making their house a home than their fathers were. And 35 per cent told Graham & Brown that the only way their dads would get involved in decorating was to hang the wallpaper or assemble the furniture their partners had chosen.
So what happens in your home? Do the boys or girls rule the decorating and design roost? Let us know in the comments box.
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Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
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