Having space to entertain guests is key for first-time buyers, research shows

FIRST time buyers in Britain are so keen to get visitors round, 55% will move into a house without a bed or sofa, as long as there is room to entertain.

Six in 10 also say when buying things for a new property, their initial purchasing decisions will be led by how many guests they want round.

John Lewis carried out the study in conjunction with its new ANYDAY rangeCredit: John Lewis

And the study of 1,000 adults who bought their first home in the last 18 months – or are looking to buy in the next 18 months – found 47% admit the guest room is likely to be finished before their own bedroom.

When restrictions are lifted, new homeowners hope to host seven people per month on average, once they’ve got their living spaces sorted.

For 16% however, they’re expecting as many as 15 different guests through their doors in a four week period.

And 60% are prioritising filling their homes with products to impress – even if they’re only hosting one or two guests a month.

John Lewis sales data – from 1st February 2021

  • Sofa +154%
  • Sofa Beds +106%
  • Storage Beds +70%
  • Floor Lamps +63%
  • Dining Tables: +57%
  • Beds +54%
  • Table lamps +49%
  • Rugs +42%
  • Dining Chairs: +41%
  • Door mats +33%
  • Pillows +32%
  • Door mats +33%
  • Towels +28%
  • Bedding +28%
  • Cookware +28%
  • Coffee Tables: +20%

A spokesperson for John Lewis, which carried out the study in conjunction with the launch of the new ANYDAY range, said: “It is really difficult to get on the housing ladder, so when you do, you want to enjoy it with others and celebrate.

“Having people round has been very difficult for obvious reasons over the last year and a bit, so as we tentatively emerge from the pandemic, there’s a huge appetite to make up for lost time.

“Our sales data across all customers from recent weeks has shown a staggering increase in items that make hosting easier and suggests the joy of hosting has returned – including sofa beds and dining tables.”

Internal figures revealed by John Lewis show a 154% increase in sofa sales in 2021, with sofa beds the second-most-popular purchase, showing a 106% uptick.

Top 40 homebuying priorities for first-time buyers

  1. Bed
  2. Sofa
  3. Bedding (bedroom)
  4. Bedding (guests/ entertaining)
  5. Wardrobe
  6. TV
  7. Guest bed
  8. Kettle
  9. Curtains
  10. Kitchen table
  11. Bedside table
  12. Cutlery set
  13. Chest of drawers
  14. Towels
  15. Sofa bed
  16. Coffee Mugs
  17. Kitchen seating
  18. Curtains
  19. Table lamp
  20. TV Unit
  21. Matching dinnerware
  22. Coffee table
  23. Storage (kitchen/ dining room)
  24. Throw
  25. Matching glassware
  26. Candles
  27. Vases for flowers
  28. Cushions
  29. Coffee machine
  30. Rug
  31. Lamp
  32. Slow cooker
  33. Throws and blankets
  34. Storage (living room)
  35. Good sound system
  36. Candles
  37. Bookcase
  38. Bar stools
  39. Frames for the gallery wall
  40. Vases

Dining tables have also sold 57% more this year than at the same point in 2020, while even door mats are up 33% – to allow guests to wipe their feet before coming in.

According to the OnePoll research carried out by John Lewis, more than one in five (21%) first time buyers plan to host a lavish housewarming party before they’ve decorated their new home.

And setting up the Wi-Fi is deemed more important than ordering a bed, having the TV installed and arranging home insurance.

One in five said they would take nine days or longer to sort out home insurance.

First time buyers expect to part with precisely £999 on average for each room they want to newly furnish.

But more than a third (36%) are put off from buying big-ticket homewares like beds, sofas and wardrobes because they worry about affording them straight away.

Over two-thirds of those surveyed (68%) said they would seek interiors advice for designing their home.

Over the past 12 months home design stylists at John Lewis have taken 10,000 virtual appointments, with the living room coming out on top as the most popular room in the home that customers needed help with.

The first week the shops reopened there was a 49% increase in bookings compared to the week before; with appointments specifically designed for first time buyers needing a little inspiration.

John Lewis’ spokesperson added: “We’ve introduced the ANYDAY range to bring together affordability, quality and style, which means new homeowners don’t need to compromise on what they are buying – and can still sit on a sofa, with guests, when allowed.”

Following the pandemic, John Lewis experienced a big dip in sales and the store revealed which locations wouldn’t reopen after lockdown eased.

First-time buyers tried to get their hands on 12 shiny new houses that had at least a third off in a new programme capping the price of new homes under £420,000 in London.

If you’re looking for inspiration for how to save for your first home, you should check out our My First Home series.

Pippa O’Connor sends fans wild as she transforms old garage into ‘dream’ guest bedroom in Dublin home


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