'1970s the decade that taste forgot in home decor'

The 1970s has been voted the worst decade for home decor in a survey.

The era of avocado bathrooms, lava lamps, woodchip wallpaper and shagpile rugs got the thumbs-down from 43% of people polled for Nationwide Credit Cards.

The 1980s, with its textured ceilings, frills and floral designs came out second worst in the study among 2,000 people, with one in six (16%) voting for it.

The 1990s, when shows like Changing Rooms inspired people to have a go at stencilling and rag-rolling, attracted the lowest percentage of votes, with just 3% of people voting it the worst decor decade. Meanwhile, the 1950s and the 2000s attracted 6% of votes each.

When it came to home improvements, the average amount people had spent on their most recent job was £114.

More than a third (37%) of people said they would give most basic home improvement jobs a go. One in nine (11%) men said they would attempt any home improvement job, big or small - compared with just 3% of women.

But one in six (15%) of people surveyed said botched handiwork in the past had affected their relationship - and one in 50 (2%) people said it had contributed to a break-up.

If money were no object, the most common fantasy home improvement on people's wish-lists is a large, open-plan kitchen-diner, with nearly a fifth (17%) saying it would be their dream project, followed by a loft conversion (16%) and separate garden room or studio (14%).

There were regional variations in people's dream home improvement. In Wales, the desire for a "man cave" or super-sized shed is particularly strong, the research found.

In Scotland, an open-plan kitchen-diner came out top, while in Northern Ireland a loft conversion is the most common upgrade people wish for. In London, a separate outside studio or garden room was the top choice.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Nationwide's head of policy for mortgages and savings, said: "According to recent Nationwide's figures, a 10% increase in floor area brings an average 5% increase in property value, the equivalent of £10,000 for the average property.

"However, people also feel it is important to regularly refresh the appearance of their homes to make it their own - or to reflect their changing needs."

The research also uncovered divides between the generations when it came to the most desirable home improvements.

Man caves were particularly popular among people aged 18 to 34, while loft conversions were desired by many 35 to 44-year-olds as their families expanded, and large airy open-plan kitchens were a particular favourite of people aged 45-plus.

Here are the worst decades for home design, as voted for in the survey for Nationwide Credit Cards, and some of the popular design choices in each era:

- 1950s - Wooden furniture, new kitchen appliances and simple colours - 6%

- 1960s - Big lights and bold, vivid patterns on walls and floors - 12%

- 1970s - Avocado bathrooms, tartan and orange upholstery, woodchip wallpaper - 43%

- 1980s - Textured ceilings, yellows and pinks, festoon blinds - 16%

- 1990s - Farmhouse kitchens, stencilling, minimalism - 3%

- 2000s - The industrial look, clean lines, shabby chic furniture - 6%

(None of the above - 14%)

And here are the most popular dream home improvement projects across the regions:

- East Anglia - Open-plan kitchen-diner

- East Midlands - En-suite bathroom/loft conversion

- London - Separate outside studio or garden room

- North East - Open-plan kitchen-diner

- North West - Open-plan kitchen-diner

- Northern Ireland - Loft conversion

- Scotland - Open-plan kitchen-diner

- South East - Open-plan kitchen-diner

- South West - Loft conversion/open-plan kitchen-diner

- Wales - Man Cave or supersized shed

- West Midlands - Open-plan kitchen-diner

- Yorkshire - Loft conversion/open-plan kitchen-diner

Home Decorating on a Budget
Home Decorating on a Budget