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Over half (54 per cent) of all Brits has at least one unloved room in their house according to a study by B&Q, the UK’s largest home improvement retailer. This results, on average, in 16.58 square feet being wasted space per home and nearly 14 million rooms in the UK left ignored or neglected.

According to the study, the spare bedroom is the most neglected space in the home, with over a third (37 per cent) admitting it is in need of attention. Used as a dumping ground for excess mess by some, shut off from visitors by others – even simply entering that unloved room leaves nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of house-proud Brits feeling embarrassed. Other emotions that it elicits range from dissatisfaction (35 per cent) and unhappiness (24 per cent) through to annoyance (20 per cent).

Moreover, a third (33 per cent) divulged that their unloved room has stopped them from feeling as though their home was complete and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) confessed that the room in question actually prevented them from enjoying their home.

Kirstie Allsopp says: “My number one obsession is functioning rooms. You can’t have rooms that are just full of junk. You should be getting 100% use out of your home. It’s about clearing out and being inventive with storage. There’s no need to spend vast sums on rehabilitation. The key is to keep reassessing the way your home is used, as life changes, and to adjust accordingly.”

Psychologist, Dr. Linda Papadopoulos comments: “In order to feel contained and happy within a living space, you need to have a sense of ownership over the look and feel of the room, or a sense of what it does practically. If this isn’t the case then it’s less likely that one will be able to enjoy that space.”

The study concluded that more than eight in ten (81 per cent) agree that how their home looks affects their overall happiness. Unfortunately, one in five women (almost double the amount of men) is currently unhappy with the present state of their home (20 per cent versus 11 per cent).

Dr. Linda adds: “Our identity is bound up in how we not only portray ourselves but also, to some extent, the spaces we live in. As such, if a room doesn’t feel like it represents the things that we associate with our personality, we are less likely to feel happy with it.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly in these tough times, lack of money is cited by nearly half (48 per cent) as the prime reason for not confronting the room in question, with the average Brit believing it costs approximately £1,038 to transform a room. However, for a quarter (25 per cent) of those that actually tackled the task of giving their unloved room the attention it needed, embarrassment over others seeing the room was their main motivation.

This could concur with the fact that the space house-proud Brits are least likely to leave unloved are those in full view of friends and neighbours – the porch, followed by the conservatory and the front garden (just three per cent, five per cent and seven per cent respectively).

“We see our living space as an extension of our identity. As such, we want to manage how people perceive us, so it’s no surprise that there are certain parts of our home we feel more comfortable sharing than others,” concludes Dr. Linda.

The study was conducted by B&Q to support the launch of its Unloved Rooms campaign, which aims to inspire householders to discover the possibilities of transforming unloved rooms and to make their homes happier places.

David Hutchinson, B&Q Marketing Director commented: “B&Q prides itself on providing customers with the best help and advice. When we discovered that more than half of the homes in the UK have an unloved room and that the average customer believes that it will cost over £1,000 to transform those rooms, we wanted to act. We know that a tired spare room can be converted into an inspirational study room for just over £90 and an unloved bedroom can be transformed into a beautiful bedroom for just over £130. Therefore, we not only want to enthuse and inspire customers to give those rooms some TLC, we also aim to reassure them that, with B&Q, it doesn’t require as much money as they believe. With just some clever touches, they can transform those rooms and fall in love with their homes again.”

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