We're becoming a nation of show home-owners


House-proud Brits are splashing out an average of £1,171 and spending 11 days every year sprucing up their homes after watching too many TV home makeover programmes, from Grand Designs to MTV Cribs.

A study, by esure home insurance, found that Brits spend almost five hours every week improving their homes, amounting to more than a year and a half over the average lifetime. But then many become so obsessed with keeping their homes spick and span that they no longer have parties or invite anyone over! Others cover their expensive carpets or sofas with sheets when entertaining.

People spend £529 on soft furnishings such as curtains and carpets to keep up with the latest trends, and a further £404 in their lifetime on items that they will never use for fear of ruining them - such as expensive designer crockery, silverware and bed linen.

Almost a third said that the rise of television property programmes such as Grand Designs, The Home Show, Kirstie's Homemade Home, Location, Location, Location and even MTV Cribs had spurred them on.

Some 37% of homeowners said watching property TV programmes made them aspire to live in a better home while nearly one in seven admitted that voyeuristic peeks inside celebrity homes made them covet more expensive, luxurious items such as designer fabrics, elaborate furnishings and even Jacuzzis.

Despite their desire to show off their homes, ironically 5% of Brits claim that they are so obsessed with keeping their residence spick-and-span that they no longer invite friends or relatives over - for fear that they might cause a spillage. And almost one in ten admit that they cannot enjoy themselves properly when entertaining guests because they are so worried about potential damage and spillages.

Meanwhile 7% confess to covering carpets and upholstery with protective sheets when entertaining to keep their home as pristine as possible. One in 20 say that they have banned red wine in their home and 15% say that they have never held a party in their home, despite enjoying attending the house parties of others.

A fifth of Brits polled said that they have overly house-proud friends and almost a quarter admit they are too scared and anxious to touch or use something. 6% even admitted to turning down invites to friends' perfect 'show homes' for fear of causing damage or spilling on light-coloured carpets. Nearly one in ten admit that they have broken an item or spilt something at a friends' home at least once, but have not confessed to doing so.

Nikki Sellers, Head of home insurance at esure, says: "The rise in popularity of television shows featuring showcase desirable homes has given rise to a new breed of homeowner driven to create a beautiful abode but almost too scared to enjoy it.

"While pleasing on the eye, a house that resembles a show home is not the most practical place to live. Accidents do happen so it's important for homeowners to ensure that they have adequate home and contents insurance so that you are fully protected if anything unfortunate does happen."

People living in London spend the most on their homes - £1,240 in an average year, whereas those living in the East of England spend over £250 less per year at £985.

When it comes to being influenced by TV property programmes, those living in London are the most affected, with 43% admitting that shows such as Grand Designs and The Home Show have made them aspire to live in a better home. In Wales, less than a quarter say they are influenced by these TV shows.
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