There was no place like home

Unsentimental parents turn children's bedrooms into games rooms or gyms

Young people leaving the family home may be surprised to learn that a 85% of parents can't wait to repurpose their children's bedrooms.

The unsentimental parents create new bathrooms, gyms or games rooms, a survey by the AA's Home Emergency Response service has found. The research, part of the AA's State of the Nation's Homes series of reports, shows that ‘empty-nest syndrome' is not as prevalent as believed.

My bedroom no more

Children who expect a cosy night's sleep in their old bed when they return to their childhood home will be disappointed – almost one in five (19%) parents has turned their bedroom into an extra bathroom.

Yet other parents are launching into full-scale modifications of their offspring's bedrooms, with 17% having turned one into a gym.

The creation of games rooms is also a rising trend. Over a quarter (26%) of parents who have had a child fly the nest within the past five years have turned a bedroom into a games room, compared to 17% of those whose child left home 6–10 years ago and only 1% of those whose offspring left
11–20 years ago.

Although most parents encourage children to keep their bedrooms clean, the most common use for an empty room is a dumping ground for clothes and other possessions, with more than one in three parents (37%) who have had a child leave home admitting to this.

While the research shows that almost a third (30%) of parents haven't saved money since their children moved out, 5% are more than £12,000 a year better off as they claim to have saved an eye-watering £1,000 or more per month on food, transport and clothes for their children.

However, around one in seven cash-strapped homeowners (15%) have rented out their children's old room to a lodger in a bid to improve their finances even further.

Adding a gym or games room to a home can be a fun project for parents, especially if they're retired. However, I'd advise that any electrical or plumbing work is carried out by a professional.

Tom Stringer, head of AA Home Emergency Response

Tom Stringer, head of the AA's Home Emergency Response service said: "When children move out, parents get the freedom to make modifications to their home which they may have wanted to make for a while but were unable to find the space for. Adding a gym or games room to a home can be a fun project for parents, especially if they're retired. However, I'd advise that any electrical or plumbing work is carried out by a professional."

The study also revealed that one in three parents (36%) who have had a child leave home have turned their room into a study, 31% have turned a child's bedroom into a guest bedroom, and 14% have created a dressing room.


Notes to editors

15 November 2012

The research was carried out by ICM among a representative sample of 207 adults in Great Britain between 26–27 September 2012.

AA Home Emergency Response cover provides a network of AA Home Assist engineers supported by approved tradesmen available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are no call-out charges, and policy excesses only apply to boiler cover, and for work carried out under the policy parts and labour are guaranteed. Cover is available to both existing AA members and non-members.

For more information about AA Home Emergency Response visit theaa.com/home-emergency or call 0800 107 1031.

Media enquiries   Jade Gilbert, AA Press Office, 01256 491696