Debenhams has revealed that parents are stockpiling cash for investment in a range of household improvements after their children have gone to University in the autumn or left home, according to a poll carried out by the high street retailer.
Debenhams quizzed 1,000 parents with teens and asked them when they were likely to invest significant sums in redecorating or refurnishing their homes. The department store found that 74% of parents, battered by the costs of raising their kids, were planning to hold on to their cash and refurbish their homes after their kids have left home.
Just over half of those polled (53%) said they would spend up to £5,000 to put their houses right and 29% will spend up to £10,000. Debenhams is calling this the “nestoration” phase, as parents upgrade from economy living to a first-class lifestyle.
Analysis of the shopping patterns of newly-liberated parents by Debenhams reveals that oak and walnut furniture, luxury sofas, better quality office furniture, leather seats and luxurious bedding are likely purchases.
The most common types of damage caused by kids were remote control dents on the floor, ruined sofas, wall gouges, floor scratches, food and drink spillages, broken beds, broken door handles, fingerprints, drawing and graffiti on walls, kicked doors and ‘cave-papering’ their rooms (posters on all walls and ceiling).
One parent polled was so offended by the state of his 16-year-old teen’s bedroom and his reluctance to bring dirty plates and glasses down that he installed a dishwasher in the bedroom.
Another said that the sheer number of fingerprints on the walls had turned the house into a forensic scientist’s dream home.
The principal reasons for delaying investment in ‘nestoration’ were the following:
kids are untidy and have less respect for property than the parents did when they were younger, kids tend to see their rooms as their own property these days, kids spill food and drink and don’t look after things – they think everything is easily replaceable.
Steve Lightfoot, divisional trading director of home at Debenhams commented:
“We’re witnessing a sea change in the way that parents view their homes and home maintenance.
“It used to be that parents were consistently house proud, but I think they have become a bit more pragmatic these days and are putting off replacing things and redecorating until their kids have left home. The parent-child relationship has started to look a bit more like a landlord-tenant relationship.”
One survey respondent said: “The trouble with kids these days is that they’ve taken the idea of ‘MySpace’ a bit too literally and really don’t respect property. Nor do they really appreciate the cost of maintaining a home. It’s safer for us to put off refurbishing the house until our children have left and not worry too much about wear and tear.”
Alun Lewis, a builder and decorator from Luton, said: “I’ve definitely seen a pick-up in work from people whose kids have just left home. Some of the bedrooms that I’ve had to put right have been incredible, but a lick of paint and some new furniture is all it takes really. You’d never know.”