The Happiness Research Institute, Kingfisher and B&Q unveil a major new study into the impact of our homes on overall happiness and wellbeing
· It shows the home is significantly more important to happiness than our income or job
· Size, location and home ownership have far less impact on happiness than we think
Our homes make one of the biggest contributions to our overall happiness and wellbeing, according to new research from Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q, and the Happiness Research Institute, the independent think tank focusing on well-being, happiness and quality of life.
The GoodHome Report has found that 73% of people who are happy with their home are also happy in life. In fact, our homes account for 15% of our total happiness, making them as important as our general health and fitness (14%), and significantly more important than what we earn (6%) or the job we do (3%). Yet worryingly as many as 1 in 4 (25%) of us in the UK say we are not happy with our home.
The researchers gathered views from 13,000 people across Europe1, as well as international experts in psychology and social science, city planning and architecture, to understand the link between homes and happiness. They found that common wisdom about what makes us happy in the home is often wrong. Despite what we might think, happiness is not about tenure, how many people you share with or whether we live in the city or the countryside.
Five emotional needs decide how happy we are with our home
The study found that no matter where we live, our homes drive five core emotional needs – pride, identity, comfort, safety and control – and when our homes fall short it has a negative effect on our wellbeing. Pride – which is connected to the time and energy we’ve invested to make a place feel like home – has the biggest impact and accounts for 44% of our home happiness, yet more than a third of us say we feel this is out of our reach.
We want a feeling of space, but bigger isn’t necessarily better
We all want a home that feels spacious, and some outdoor space if we can get it. But that does not mean we will be any happier in a larger home. The study shows that a feeling of spaciousness is three times more important than the actual size of our home, the number of rooms or how many people we live with. 20% of us say we don’t feel our home is spacious, regardless of the actual size of it.
We want to feel in control, but don’t have to own a home to achieve it
While many of us aspire to climb the housing ladder, the report shows that whether we own or rent has little impact on our happiness. It found that a sense of control is key to feeling happy at home, but this is often about having the power to make changes. Having a home that can be adapted to different stages in our lives is seven times more important than whether we rent or own.
The report comes as Kingfisher unveils GoodHome, a new international home improvement brand designed to make home improvement accessible for everyone. It offers new products and solutions that are design-led, high quality and well-priced. All with the intention of helping people have a home they can feel good about. In the UK, GoodHome is available exclusively at B&Q.
The full report is available in our Articles section, here.
Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and best-selling author of The Little Book of Hygge said: “Our research shows that often we look for happiness in the wrong places. Sometimes what we think makes us happy and what really makes us happy are not the same. The report builds on the belief that our homes shape our lives. They are where we find comfort and safety. Where we let our guard down and connect with our loved ones. In a world demanding more and more of our attention, our homes are where we can retreat and seek refuge.”
Graham Bell, CEO of B&Q UK & Ireland, said: “At B&Q, we’re shaking things up and doing home improvement differently. We want to remove the barriers that get in the way and, if we do that, we can help make people’s homes that little bit happier.”
Véronique Laury, CEO of Kingfisher, said: “I’m convinced that our homes are one of the keys to happiness. That’s why I’ve spent my life working in the home improvement industry and 16 years in this business. It’s why at Kingfisher, our purpose is to make home improvement accessible for everyone. Because we believe everybody should be able to have a home they can feel good about.”
75% of people in the UK say they are happy in their homes. The UK is in fourth place out of 10 European countries based on average home happiness levels, behind the Netherlands (83%), Germany (77%) and Denmark (76%). The study also found that our home happiness increases with age, especially after the age of 50.
HOME HAPPINESS LEVELS ACROSS EUROPE
Country Home Happiness Score*
1. Netherlands 7.69
2. Germany 7.60
3. Denmark 7.47
4. UK 7.40
5. Spain 7.22
6. France 7.17
7. Romania 7.11
8. Italy 7.02
9. Poland 6.92
10. Russia 6.57
* A score out of 10 representing average levels of home happiness among those surveyed.
FIVE TIPS TO A HAPPIER HOME Re-arrange your space – Rearranging and improving our homes to create a greater sense of space could therefore be an easy way for many of us to boost our happiness levels. Make time for change – Investing time and energy into updating our homes and adapting them to our changing needs is an investment in our happiness, even if we don’t always enjoy the process! Invite people in – Our homes are happier when we invite people to share them with us. This increases our pride in our homes, as well as the emotional connection we feel with where we live. Get green-fingered – Access to green space makes a big difference to our happiness levels. Even if we don’t have a garden, bringing some greenery into our homes will improve our overall wellbeing. Put your own stamp on it – Whether we rent or own, finding ways to add your personality – from painting a wall to hanging a picture of our loved ones – will make our homes a little happier.
Source : Insight DIY Team and Kingfisher