The Evolution of the Family Home

Then and now

A survey by Anglian Home Improvements of 2,000 homeowners has looked at how the way we use our homes has changed over the last five decades.

Despite technological advances – including home appliances, telecommunications and the internet – warmth and comfort were felt to be the most important improvements.  The most loved revolution of the last fifty years was central heating, enjoyed by just 37% of homes in the 1970s and 98% of households today.  50% of people said the most positive benefit was the indoor toilet, 43% said hot running water and 41% said better insulated windows.

The biggest impact on family life was the reduction in time spent by women on housework, from an average 44 hours a week in 1965.  In 2015, men spent six hours a week doing housework and women 11.5 hours.  Indeed, three in ten respondents believed that the most positive social change over the last 50 years was the sharing of more tasks in the home by men and women.

Today’s property aspirations

56% of property owners today want a separate dining room, with others saying state of the art entertainment zones and wet rooms were desirable.  Bi-fold doors and conservatories were important to 58% who were looking to improve their indoor-outdoor living relationship.  Surprisingly, 39% felt that having an open plan kitchen/dining space was undesirable.

47% of those making improvements to their home do so in order to add value, with 28% considering it more cost-effective than moving house.  Only 30% made home improvements in order to save money.

24% felt that being able to work from home because of technology had made a significant impact on the way they use their homes.

The future

Householders’ future aspirations include underfloor heating (35%) and making homes more energy efficient (29%).  50% were looking for greater home efficiency using ‘smart’ technology and artificial intelligence, and 11% would like their smart phone to control everything in the home.

64% think that home automation (including robot cleaners, fridges designed to do the weekly shopping, walls that conserve energy and self-cleaning glass) will be the most significant change in the next fifty years.


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