Flat-pack phobia of over 35s

Younger people are more likely to enjoy putting their own furniture together

Flat-pack furniture became popular in the 1980s because of its low cost and ease of transport. But it became synonymous with opaque instructions, missing bits and frayed nerves.

Yet despite the experience of a previous generation, new research from the AA's Home Emergency Response service, as part of its State of the Nation's Homes reports, shows that under 35s are still keen to put their own furniture together.*

Many people have a horror story to go with the flat-pack furniture that they've tried to build.

Tom Stringer, head of Home Emergency Response

The younger generation is often thought to be less handy around the home than their elders. However, six out of ten (60%) under 35s say they get satisfaction from seeing their finished creation, dropping to 41% of over 65s.

In fact, almost four out of ten (38%) over 35s quickly become frustrated when assembling furniture, compared to just 29% of under 35s. A further seven out of ten (71%) respondents say that putting together flat-pack furniture takes longer than the recommended time.

Despite the assembly struggle, a handy 99% of men insisted on doing the job themselves, and 84% of women. The most popular items are beds and bookcases – 68% and 67% respectively.

Tom Stringer, Head of the AA's Home Emergency Response Service said: "Many people have a horror story to go with the flat-pack furniture that they've tried to build. You generally get what you pay for. It might have a shorter lifespan and a reputation for being difficult to put together, but with a bit of care and patience you could end up with something that looks the way you want it to."

"A bad experience can put somebody off putting their own furniture together. I wouldn't be surprised if some of our older respondents have just decided to put up with their wobbly handiwork."

19 February 2013

* Populus interviewed 1,244 AA members aged 18+ from its online AA Home Panel during 8–28 January 2013. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.