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Keeping up appearances
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Keeping up appearances

We love to outdo our neighbours with the latest in-home technology and home improvements but how much is it costing us?

Keeping up with the Joneses is major pastime for many of us these days. Recent research conducted by insurer More Than, found one in five people admitted updating their home just to keep up with the neighbours.

And this desire to look as good as the neighbours is costing us dearly: we’re cluttering our houses with so many of the latest gadgets and gizmos that the contents of the typical British home are now worth more than £42,000.

Which rooms are the most valuable?

In total we are spending £18.4 billion a year on items for the home. The living room is the most "valuable" room in the house, with an average of £5,000 in gadgets and furniture, ranging from state-of-the-art home entertainment centres to sofas.

The kitchen, containing about £4,000 of items, comes in a close second. Here we’ll find the latest cookers and equipment such as espresso machines, bread makers and ice cream makers.

The average garden shed is bursting with £2,000 of “useful” stuff. Typical items include a selection of power tools and a barbeque.

Fast-moving goods

Although owners keep cookers and fridges for 11 to 12 years, items such as computers, phones and fax machines are replaced every four years, whereas toys last no more than two. Manufacturers’ marketing efforts to persuade us to buy the very latest version of their must-have products appear to working.

The most prized items among survey respondents included plasma TV screens, DVD players, American-style fridgefreezers, garden equipment, and kitchen gadgets. Large amounts are also being spent on conservatories, home extensions and new cars.

"Neighbour envy" may also be one of the reasons that British borrowers are so deeply in debt; many gadgets for the home will be paid for with credit and store cards.

Steve Kingshott, head of household insurance at MoreThan, said: "Homeowners are more easily able to finance purchases of high-value goods. We often find a TV and stereo in each bedroom, even the kitchen. In homes that appear to have everything, people are tempted to replace items with later models".

Are you sure you’ve insured your home’s contents for a high enough amount? If not it may be time to review your policy – and see if you can find a better deal too.


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Please note that articles on this site do not constitute regulated financial advice, which recommends a course of action based upon the specifics of your personal circumstances. The articles are intended to provide general personal financial information. We urge you to consult an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making any important decisions about your finances. Call 0800 085 3250 for details of IFAs in your local area. Any statement regarding financial services products and tax liability is based on legislation and tax practices as at 1 January 2004, which is, of course, subject to change.The value of any tax benefits or reliefs depends upon the individual circumstances of the investor.When investment performance is mentioned you should remember that past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Where products have an underlying investment content, in many cases the value of the investment can fall as well as rise. For with-profit based investments, there is no guarantee as to the level of bonuses that will be declared, if any. Where mortgages or secured loans are explained do remember that your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it. All mortgages are subject to underwriting, status and are not available to people under the age of 18.

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Schedule of Articles

property investing
property refurbishment
buying overseas property
moving house
home letting
buy to let
home improvements

top 10 celebrity areas
6 up & comming areas
5 signs that an area is up & comming
city types yearn for the country in town
your place in the sun
equity release
planning permissions & extensions
estate agents
rent or buy
buy to let
mortgage overpayment
mortgage endowments
mortgage protection
stamp duty
self build your home
electrical surveys
the cost of moving in
the perfect neighbourhood
council tax
house price league
good neighbours
stamp duty land tax
top 20 towns 2003
cut the cost of moving
interest rates
buying in scotland
dream homes
first time buyers
the worth of uk homes
bad estate agents
keeping up appearances
home improvements


Please note that articles on this site & any other 'planning-approval' related web site does not constitute professional advice. All articles are intended to provide a general view of many subjects. We suggest you to consult a solicitor before making any important decisions.  The author is not an expert in any given field.

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