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We're all got something about our homes we'd like to do something about. Maybe it's as simple as fixing a dripping tap. Or as major as changing the layout of the kitchen. But it's reassuring to know that, according to a new survey, 88 per cent of us are either happy or very happy about where we live.
These findings come from research conducted by Sarah Beeny and her estate agent, Tepilo.com. Sarah has also devised a quiz so you can see how you compare to the nation in the home happiness stakes, which you can find at Tepilo. We've just taken the test and Digital Editor Amy comes out as a 'Home wrestler'. How about you?
The survey also asked what features and colours make us happy about our homes – including what one item made our homes a happier place. Can you guess what the answer was?
Yes, it's a comfy sofa, with more than 50 per cent of the vote. 56 per cent, to be precise. This was followed by an open fire or stove and framed photos of loved ones (both scored 26 per cent), fresh flowers (20 per cent) and a deep clean (18 per cent).
As for the physical factors that keep us happy, number one on the list was location (62 per cent), followed by size (46 per cent) and the garden (46 per cent). Having amazing neighbours was also high on the list (29 per cent), as was the amount of light flooding the property (32 per cent).
While we have plenty of reasons to be cheerful about our homes, a few things can throw a spanner in the works. The survey reveals that lack of storage makes us saddest (19 per cent said so). This is followed by a dated kitchens (16 per cent) and tired bathroom (14 per cent).
Across the UK, installing a new kitchen was deemed the thing most likely to make us happier about our homes. But in London, adding a new bedroom was top priority. In fact, bedrooms seem to play a key role in our happiness, with 60 per cent of people living in five-bedroom homes saying they were very happy, compared to just 26 per cent of those in two-bed properties.
Even the colours of the walls can make you feel more positive about your property. But the answer isn't to paint the walls a cheery yellow. In fact, cream, beige and white are the shades most likely to put a smile on our faces.
'Happiness is such a subjective place to find, but we all know that home really plays a big part of the equation,' says Sarah. 'As a nation, we tend to prioritise home ownership and this research reveals that owning a home is a real source of happiness for most, which is great to see.
'The figure we’d need to spend to make us even happier is fairly high at £21,376, but new bathrooms and kitchens can really transform a home, so these types of improvements are usually worth the investment required. And for those without big budgets available, it’s great to see that most people feel happiness can be upped with a big comfy sofa, a fire and pictures of family and friends, all things that are easily achievable, even on a budget.'
Amy Cutmore is Editor-in-Chief, Homes Audience, working across the Future Homes portfolio. She works 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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