Two thirds of Brits (66%) say they will be repurposing their child’s bedroom as soon as they leave for university, according to a new study from AA Financial Services – nearly a third admit they can finally realise their dreams of turning the empty space into a guest bedroom (29%). Savings and disposable cash are two biggest ways they will be financing the improvements (48% and 42%).
With the next round of 18-year-olds bracing themselves for A-level results day this week, the findings suggest their parents may already have their minds on other matters. The nationally representative survey asked 2,091 British adults to imagine if they had a child who was planning to leave home later this summer to start university, what plans, if any, they had to convert the space into something new. More than a third (34%) said they would do absolutely nothing and would leave the room untouched for when their kids came home from university, keeping it as a shrine for their child. The other 66% of respondents have other plans they intend to put into action.
A time for friends
Brits in the South West were the most likely (40%) to dream of turning the space into a guest room, suggesting that parents in the region will be seizing the opportunity to invite old friends over as soon as their children fly the nest. In contrast, only 25% of Brits in the West Midlands said they would transform the room this way – they were more likely to let their kids keep their room for when they come home to visit from university.
Turning the room into a study space was a top consideration for many (17%) – especially those in East Midlands who were thinking about how they would make the most out of the free space (25%). Apparel lovers
As the prospect of university looms, respondents in Wales were twice as likely than the national average (12% vs. 6%) to repurpose the space to fit a walk in wardrobe. Fitness first
At a time when there is a priority on health and fitness, with the average Brit spending more than £65,000 in their lifetime to stay in good basic shape, it seems people in the South East are leading the way, with around one in ten admitting they would convert the room into a gym and workout from home (9%).
Families of 5
Remodelling these empty rooms for gyms, studies and walk in wardrobes all seem like appealing ideas to utilise this new space. However, the AA Financial Services research shows that families with three children or more are the most likely to rent out the room in order to pocket some extra cash to go towards the household (11%).
|Ways of re-purposing the empty room||National Average||Region with the largest percentage|
|Turn it into a walk-in wardrobe||6%||Wales 12%|
|Turn it into a gym||5%||South East 9%|
|Turn it into a study||17%||East Midlands 25%|
|Turn it into a hobbies/ games room||13%||East Midlands 22%|
|Use it as a junk/ store room||10%||South West 13% Scotland 13%|
|Rent it out to make some extra money||5%||London 7% Wales 7%|
|Offer the room to my parent(s) to stay in (i.e. so they can move in)||1%||London 4%|
|Turn it into a pet room||2%||South West 5%|
|Turn it in a guest bedroom (e.g. for friends or family staying over)||29%||South West 40%|
|Loose the room altogether (e.g. knock through the walls and combine it with another room)||2%||London 3% West Midlands 3%|
|Have it as a separate bedroom for me||5%||Wales 8%|
|None of these||11%||South East 15%|
|Don’t know||8%||London 12%|
|Not applicable – I would not do anything to the room||34%||North West 37%|
How they are financing their home improvements
|Using my savings||48%|
|Using cash or disposable income||42%|
|Putting it on my credit card||11%|
|Taking out a personal loan||5%|
|Borrowing money from friends or family||3%|
Warren D’Souza, head of insight at AA Personal Finance comments: “Many families will soon be waving goodbye to their kids as they go off to university later this summer. Whilst this is a difficult transition for many, our findings suggest that many people have alternative, and potentially exciting, ideas on how they will repurpose the empty rooms left behind. For many parents, the sad departure of their child is a signal for the start of a new DIY undertaking or similar project to focus on.
“We have personal loans and products that make this transitional period slightly easier and gives homeowners one less thing to worry about during this busy time. See what we can offer you.”