Happiness through Design


The RIBA carried out a survey of 1,500 homeowners across the UK and have just published the findings which make interesting reading. The survey asked homeowners aged 24 to 64 about the impact of the pandemic on how people live and work at home. With working from home becoming more regular for many, the results show that the need for good design was more important than ever, and that a large percentage of the respondents had thought about transforming their homes for new ways of living and working.

A staggering 70% said that the design of their current home had affected their mental wellbeing - causing stress, anxiety, depression amongst up to 11% of the respondents, with others finding it harder to relax and noticing a drop in their productivity.


Environmental Psychologist and Lecturer at University of Surrey, Eleanor Ratcliffe comments:


“For many of us our home is our favourite place and an important part of our identity. Over recent months our homes have had to become the workplace, school, and gym, and yet still be a place to relax and recover from all the everyday stresses and strains - impacting entire households. The RIBA’s research demonstrates that many people realise that their home in its current form does not cater for all these different uses and users. A home design that reflects who you are – your values, needs, and interests – can make people feel good about themselves. A home that meets one’s needs because it is appropriately designed can also make people feel more in control, and that is especially relevant when life feels uncertain.”


Almost a quarter felt that living in a better designed home would increase their happiness and ultimately their wellbeing. They felt that better design would help make them more productive and spending more time with close family members would bet more harmonious.

Nearly 80% of those surveyed would make one or more of the following changes after lockdown:

  • More environmentally friendly changes - including increasing daylight, energy efficiency and sound proofing between spaces (40%)

  • Reconfigure existing spaces (23%)

  • Extending their existing space (20%)

  • Creating office space to more easily work from home (17%)

  • Creating open plan spaces from separate rooms (14%)

  • Increasing personal space (12%)

  • Creating separate rooms from open plan living (9%)

  • Accommodating extended family including parents, grandparents and grown up children (7%)

RIBA President Alan Jones said:


“It’s clear that the impact of COVID-19 will affect how and where we choose to live for years to come. For many of us, our homes are our sanctuaries, and this new research commissioned by the RIBA clearly indicates that many people are keener than ever to adapt and improve their homes. I strongly encourage homeowners to seek professional expertise to make their dreams a reality. RIBA Chartered Architects and Chartered Practices offer the highest standards and assurance in the UK. They can support homeowners every step of the way, whether they are extending their home or building a new one from scratch.”


Paul Duffy, Director of BetterPad is RIBA registered and can offer invaluable advice on how to bring out the best potential for your space whether you want to reconfigure or extend. Get in contact with us today to see how we can help you create your Better Pad.