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News room

11-07-2013 10:00
• 70% of Britons don’t know the size of their own homes
• “Square peg, round hole” syndrome as 14% buy the wrong sized furniture
• A third admit to getting muddled about measuring up

Less than one in three Britons know the size of their homes, according to new research out today.

A staggering 70% claim they don’t actually know either the square footage or square meterage of their homes, according to the home furnishings giant IKEA. Over half blame poor spatial awareness as the root of the problem.

Women suffer greatest when trying to envisage a certain amount of space. Over half (56%) of the women surveyed admitted to poor spatial skills compared to just over a third (35%) of men.

As a result, 14% of all homeowners admit they have bought a piece of furniture and taken it home, only to discover that it’s either too small or big for the designated space which IKEA has coined “square peg, round hole” syndrome.

This issue is compounded by the fact Britons muddle their measures.

A third of those surveyed say they are confused between imperial and metric measures – dating back to their school days – which results in getting their inches and centimetres mixed up. Over two in five don’t know there are 2.54 centimetres to an inch, or six inches actually equates to 15.24 centimetres.

What’s more, over one third (36%) don’t know that there are 3.28 feet in a metre.

IKEA commissioned its study into “small space living” to understand how Britons use space at home today. The UK has the smallest houses in Western Europe, with the average British home now having shrunk to as little as 85 square metres. Luxemburg, one of the smallest countries in Europe has the largest homes at 125 square metres, followed by Denmark measuring up at 108 square metres*

Howard Carter, Sales Business Leader, IKEA UK and Ireland said:
“Homes across the UK have definitely shrunk in recent years, partly due to soaring land prices but also to smaller family sizes. As a result we’ve had to be much cleverer in how we furnish and kit out our homes so we make the most of every inch.

That said, our research has shown we’re not fully grasping just how much space we do have available. Not only are we in the dark about the size of our properties, we also get muddled when it comes to measuring up.

“At IKEA we recognize that space is tight and so have launched a new range of products to combat the shortage of square feet – or is that metres. We are working with our customers to help them make every small space feel big through clever design and products that have more than one function”

The IKEA range of space-efficient solutions includes the EXPEDIT shelving unit which doubles as a room divider and can be accessed from both sides, the IKEA PS wall clock with storage and the FUSION table where the chairs fit around the edge of the table to fill up the least amount of space.

To see the research findings visit the IKEA website


IKEA commissioned One Poll to speak to 2,000 UK adults between 24-26 June 2013.

*Source: Unaffordable Housing, Fables and Myth, Alan W Evans and Oliver Marc Hartwich, Policy Exchange 2005.

Media Enquiries

IKEA Press Office
+44 (0)845 225 7126

Hope & Glory PR
Jo Carr or James Gordon-MacIntosh
020 7566 9747|07776 137141 / /

Notes to editor
• IKEA is the world’s leading home furnishing retailer with a grand total of 298 IKEA stores in 26 countries/territories that are visited by 690 million people every year.
• IKEA UK has 18 stores and IKEA Ireland has 1 store. IKEA had 41.3 million visitors in the UK stores, an average of 2.29 million per store, in the year to 31 August 2012. The first IKEA store in the UK was opened in Warrington in 1987.
• The IKEA Group has 139,000 co-workers in 41 different countries over four continents. There are 7,200 employees currently working at IKEA UK and Ireland organisation. Sales for the IKEA Group for the financial year 2012 increased by 9.5 per cent to a total of 27 billion Euros compared to 2011. More information can be read in ‘Welcome Inside’, available here.
•The 2013 IKEA Catalogue was printed in The IKEA Catalogue was printed in 212 million copies, 29 languages and 62 editions. There were 1 billion visits to the IKEA website during FY12, up 21.8% vs 2011.
• IKEA has a range of 9,500 different home furnishing products. The company was established in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad at the age of 17, in Småland in Sweden.

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