Bed overtakes sofa as the most used piece of furniture in British homes, reports


A survey of 2,000 people by MADE.COM has revealed that due to decreased living space, the bedroom is now the heart of the home; and the brand has marked the finding by allowing two customers to spend a night in the retailer’s shop window to highlight the ever-shrinking size of people’s living space.

According to he average one-bedroom home in the UK is 4sq m less than the recommended minimum, which equates to the size of a large sofa, a desk and chair. This is changing the way we are living, especially in cities where space is at even more of a premium.

The housing and space pressures along with the advent of new technology is collapsing traditional ways of occupying a home, with particular rooms dedicated to particular functions and we are increasingly living our lives from our beds.

Bed and breakfast and business

Research now shows that the bed has overtaken the sofa as the most used piece of furniture in British homes. A quarter of us (25%) eat at least one meal a week in bed with that number rising to 55% of 18-24s. A quarter of us (25%) also regularly work from bed. Interestingly it’s only a fifth of men (20%) who regularly work from bed, compared to nearly a third of women (30%).

While business in bed is picking up, the thing we spend most time doing in bed is watching TV (68% of us doing so regularly), with sex coming in second, excluding sleeping of course.

To bring this trend to life, MADE has transformed the window of the London showroom into a typical living space for a one bed flat and has two customers staying overnight in a bedroom in the window in the brand’s first live window display.

Jo McCafferty, award-winning architect and director at Levitt Bernstein, said: ‘Space is at such a premium, especially in cities like London, and so sharing homes is becoming increasingly prevalent. This means that every millimetre in the home needs to work hard and be flexible and functional. Through well designed, efficient and inventive homes with generous shared space, communities are better able to knit together too – creating happier places to live.”

The cupboard under the stairs

One in seven of us (14%) have converted other rooms into bedrooms, with 5% of those living like Harry Potter, having converted a cupboard under the stairs into a bedroom. The most common conversion is the living room into a bedroom (32%) but one in ten of us (10%) have converted either a bathroom or a kitchen into a bedroom. The trend of using other living space as bedrooms is reflected in the uplift in sales of sofa beds at MADE.COM with an 73% increase in the past year and is seeing great success with products like the Jefferson, which is designed to be supportive enough to sleep in every night.

One in six (16%) of us have even been forced to share our beds with friends or family to save money and one in five of us (20%) are forced to still have a single bed as an adult. The squeeze on space is having an impact on our social lives too with 34% of fully occupied households saying they didn’t have enough space to have friends over for dinner, and 48% didn’t have enough space to entertain visitors at all.

A place for everything… but nothing in its place

The space each person occupies is shrinking and people are learning to live in increasingly smaller spaces. More than one in four people (27%) say that they have less bedroom space now as an adult than they did as a child, rising to 50% of the 18-24s. A fifth of us (23%) still store possessions at our parents, with nearly a third of those (28%) between the ages of 18 and 44 still doing so. Anecdotally, people have even resorted to using their bedrooms as places to keep their washing machines, fridge-freezers and food pantries!

As people’s homes shrink, the need for space saving furniture grows. MADE.COM is already selling a number of products that require little or no footprint, such as the Esme Wall Desk, and this year’s theme for MADE.COM’s Emerging Talent Award, a competition to find the next big name in design, is all around space-saving, multi-tasking furniture ideas for modern-day living. Five entrants have now been shortlisted with their designs ranging from stackable storage reminiscent of Chinese Dim Sum trays to a writing desk that transforms into a dining table. The winning design will be announced on September 22nd and will be produced and sold on MADE.COM within 12 months.

Ning Li, CEO and founder, said: “Our research shows that people are increasingly living their lives from their beds due to a lack of alternative living space. Here at MADE.COM we are passionate about modern designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but help to solve customer problems. Space saving and multi-function have been and continue to be a major focus for MADE.COM.”

Top 10 activities respondents have done In bed

Had sex 77%
Watched TV 68%
Made phone calls 58%
Looked on your tablet 38%
Eaten a meal 35%
Christmas Shopping 28%
Worked 25%
Played Video Games 23%
Studied for a Qualification 21%
House-hunted 19%