More space and a tree house top household wish lists for home improvements, a study has revealed.

Having a bigger kitchen was top of parents’ wish list of things they could do to improve their home, while ‘having a good sort out of the whole place’ was second on the agenda. The addition of a conservatory and a bigger garden were also rated highly.

More than two thirds of the families studied felt that they were in definite need of more space at home.

The research, which was commissioned by Origin, found that children have other ideas when it comes to the home improvements. A tree house is most wished-for, followed by a swimming pool in the garden and a bigger playroom.

A dishwasher saves a lot of grief, while photos of the family around the house, a spacious kitchen and everyone having enough wardrobe space were also ticked off as helpful in a happy home environment.

Andrew Halsall, Managing Director at Origin, explains: “Space plays such a big part in creating a happy home environment. A lack of space has been shown to impact on the basic lifestyle needs that many people take for granted, such as having enough space to eat together as a family or even entertain friends.”

“Lack of adequate space for a household has also been shown to have significant impact on health, educational attainment and family relationships. While increasing the size of a property is not always possible, changes such as opening up the home to the garden or letting in more light can create a feeling of additional space, without having to extend or move.”

Origin’s study into the home lives of 2,000 British families explored the aspects that lead to a happy family life and found making the effort to eat together, a trip away every few months and having both sets of grandparents close by as big factors. In fact four meals together a week, more than one tablet and a Netflix account were said to be key for domestic bliss it emerged yesterday.

Monthly trips to the cinema, a good coffee machine for mum and dad and at least three televisions were also deemed necessities for a harmonious family life.

The research found having fast Wi-Fi, a ‘treat cupboard’ and putting the kids’ artwork on the walls or fridge were also cited as factors that lead to a happy home.

A good stack of board games, a comfortable sofa everyone can pile on and everyone making an effort to pick their clothes up off the floor also goes a long way.

Andrew Halsall said: “The list of things that people attribute to happiness at home is an interesting mix of traditional processes, efforts to create a warm environment blended with the presence of technology and modern comforts. It’s nice to see that eating together is still seen as the biggest sign of family bonding and a significant part of what people say makes a happy home.”

“Modern life can be so hectic that families can struggle to get time together or ensure they appreciate their home life fully. People and their lifestyles change over time and homes need to be able to change with them.”

“Whether it’s through physical changes like extending or developing the property, or through making a conscious effort to do things together more, building that home environment clearly leads to happiness. After all, an Englishman’s home is his castle.”

Despite the importance of eating together proving the most popular source for a happy family, a third of families said they rarely find time to do this.

While a quarter of families feel they haven’t got a good work/life balance –stats showed the average family gets less than 12 hours a week all together.

The study also revealed that keeping the place tidy, cooking with the children and having in-jokes makes all the difference in fuelling a great home environment.

While a lock on the bathroom door, movie nights and well-lit rooms were also important factors to a house being free of doom and gloom.

Narrowly missing out on the top 50 elements for family happiness was the ability to share the remote control, having blinds to keep out nosey neighbours and a set of bi-fold doors opening out to the garden also help.


  1. All eating together
  2. Laughing a lot
  3. Keeping the home tidy
  4. Feeling safe and secure
  5. Hugs
  6. Enough sofas for everyone to sit on
  7. Making time for each other
  8. Regular family trips out
  9. Knowing when to say sorry
  10. A family pet
  11. Nice neighbours
  12. Not rowing in front of the kids
  13. A big garden
  14. Cooking with the children
  15. Helping the kids with their homework
  16. Not having secrets
  17. Movie nights
  18. Playing board games together
  19. Putting the kids’ paintings on the walls
  20. Sharing chores
  21. Everyone picking their clothes up off of the floor
  22. Having lots of photos together around the house
  23. Knowing when someone wants to be left alone
  24. Having a treat cupboard
  25. Having a play room for the kids
  26. Having a big TV in the lounge
  27. Having fast Wi-Fi
  28. Having ‘in’ jokes
  29. A large kitchen
  30. Having regular heart-to-hearts
  31. Privacy from the outside world
  32. Having a takeaway night every few weeks or so
  33. Having a dishwasher
  34. Plenty of music
  35. A weekly walk
  36. Nice views
  37. A lock on the bathroom door
  38. Having Sky TV
  39. Well-lit rooms
  40. Having designated days where we spend time together
  41. Double glazing to reduce noise
  42. Everyone having their own tablet or smartphone
  43. Everyone having their own set of keys
  44. Having grandparents nearby to look after the kids
  45. A spacious kitchen
  46. A Netflix account
  47. Having a tumble drier
  48. Big windows
  49. Having several bathrooms
  50. Separate cupboard space in the bedroom