November 22, 2011 10:00 ET

A Woman's Home is Her Castle and It's More Important Than Her Family

- Nearly Half of British 50+ Women Care More About Their Home's Appearance Than Their Own

- 44% Would Rather Spend Time at Home Than With Their Family

- But 70% Have No Idea What Interiors Best Suits Their Lifestage

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 22, 2011) - FROM scatter cushions to ready-made curtains, it seems that British 50+ women are obsessed by how their home looks as latest research finds nearly half admit to caring more about their decor than their own appearance.

The survey, conducted by online retailer, found that women love their homes so much that 44 per cent prefer to spend time relaxing in their own four walls than with their family. The average 50+ lady now forks out nearly £600-a-year on soft furnishing items to make her property stand out, nearly double what she splurges on making herself look good, at almost £300.

With this amount of dedication, homes belonging to 50+ women should be at the height of soft furnishings fashion, but, according to the survey, 70 per cent don't have a clue about the latest interior design trends and one in five (22 per cent) describe their style as 'dated'. Nearly one in five (23 per cent) admit to still buying items for a family home that they don't need in their current lifestage.

A further 38 per cent admit to keeping their child's bedroom exactly the same after they have moved out as they had no clue what to do with it.

Julia Kendell, interior designer and TV presenter, explains: "It's encouraging to see that so many women are inspired to update their homes, but when it comes to knowing where to start, it seems they are floundering. More mature women feel settled in their homes but a number of empty nesters find their decor just isn't them anymore, perhaps reflecting family life rather than who they are now."

Approximately three quarters (72 per cent) of fifty somethings spend 10 hours a month shopping for their home and one in five (18 per cent) admit hitting homewares shops for 20 hours a month – averaging 45 minutes per day.

Nearly one in five (16 per cent) say they are fanatical about furnishings purely to keep up with house-proud pals and 15 per cent say emulating interiors design TV shows motivate them to update their decor. However, for the majority (22 per cent), not having anything else to concentrate on and boredom prompted them to spend time, money and effort on their bricks and mortar.

Adult psychologist Susan Quilliam comments: "The survey clearly shows the way women's interests change as they pass through various life stages. In our twenties, we love clothes, friends and travel. In our 30s we may start nest building and get into interior decor, but that soon gets overtaken by focus on our children which lasts through our 40s.

"Then, when kids fly the nest, we 50+ women start to reclaim our own domestic space – and fascinatingly, with age, there are biochemical changes which mean we want to reclaim our own emotional space too. That may explain why the survey suggests we hang back from spending too much time with others.

"After decades of demand from family, whether we're single or still partnered, we want our own living area, we want to put our own stamp on that area and we have the time, money and resources to do it. That's why we get a sudden renewal of interest in homemaking – and why we want to retreat to that home more than ever before in our lives. It's not that we don't care for our family – it's that now they're gone we can concentrate on creating the beautiful surroundings that we deserve!"

The findings also revealed that a third (33 per cent) say they are inspired by homes magazines and TV shows with 24 per cent enthused by classic styling. Here Julia gives her top tips for interior design: "A great place to start when updating your home is with a classic, soft contemporary theme, de-clutter to give yourself space to breathe, and choose a colour palette that inspires you. If you want to feel energized use bright and warm tones, for a restful atmosphere choose muted, cooler hues and for rejuvenation create a scheme using this year's yellow shades mixed with fresh neutrals.

"To kick-start inspiration for a room-scheme create a mood board of all the things you love; your passions and interests, magazine clippings and tactile elements to create the start of a design that reflects your personality. Take inspiration from magazines and brochures to have confidence in combining colours you haven't decorated with before. Your newly organized home should provide you with the space and stimulation to tackle new hobbies and long held ambitions."

In response to the findings has launched a This Is Me Homes campaign – a competition to win a home makeover worth £1000. Log on to for more information.

Notes to Editors:


  • The research for was carried out online by OnePoll in July 2011 amongst a panel resulting in 1,979 women.
  • All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK. OnePoll is a member of the ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines, is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).
  • isme is the new home shopping brand from Shop Direct Group, the UK's largest online and home shopping stable, and owner of brands including and
  • Available online and in catalogue format, offers fashion, homewares, electricals, beauty and children's toys and clothes.
  • For more information, log on to Further details regarding Shop Direct can be found at

Contact Information

  • For further information, images or quotes, call Lizzie Smith
    or Rosalyn Kelly from the isme PR team at BJL
    0161 831 7141