Perfect homes on social media spark dissatisfaction among Yorkshire people about their own homes

Monday, 6th August 2018, 9:45 am
Updated Monday, 6th August 2018, 11:00 am

Images of ideal homes on social media are sparking anxiety among Yorkshire householders about their own properties, research has revealed.

Fifty-eight per cent of people using Instagram for interiors inspiration in Yorkshire feel dissatisfied with their homes after looking at images of other people’s houses, a study found.

Researchers who polled 1,500 UK adults using social media for decor ideas, found that just 27 percent of people in Yorkshire are satisfied with the appearance of their current home.

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And 91 percent of those who are displeased with their home admit to feeling this way once a month or more after scrolling through other properties on Instagram, with 25-34 year olds most affected.

The findings describe people having an unrealistic idea of what their home should look like, spending time worrying about small flaws, while feeling pressure to maintain a certain appearance in their home.

This mindset has been described by chartered psychologist, Dr David Lewis, as ‘Home Dysmorphic Disorder’ .

Dr Lewis said: “Our home is our shop window to the world. An outward and visible display of the way we want others to see and judge us. This is challenged when we are exposed, especially through social media such as Instagram, to the choices of others.

" The more comparisons we are able to make with the ways others present themselves to the world, the greater the dissatisfaction we may feel with our own surroundings. The more individuals worry about what friends, neighbours, and colleagues think of them, the greater their dissatisfaction. It is an increasingly common mindset that can be described as ‘Home Dysmorphic Disorder’.”

The problem is that changing one small item in a room can lead to an overwhelming desire to make major changes. This is sometimes known as the ‘Diderot Effect’ after the French writer. The ‘Diderot Effect’ typically starts with discontent about one, often minor, feature - such as an ornament, picture or item of furniture. It then quickly spreads, to trigger unhappiness with the whole room or even the entire house.”

The phenomenon affects both genders but women are most at risk of developing HDD.

Young homeowners are most likely to be dissatisfied with their homes after looking at images of other people’s houses on Instagram, with 18-24-year olds most affected.

Commissioned by leading door and window brand, Origin, the survey found that many people have taken steps to make their home look ‘Insta-worthy’. These include changing the interior, purchasing home accessories specifically because they will look good on Instagram and feeling pressure to be tidier than they used to be to maintain an Instagram look.

Ben Brocklesby, Director at Origin, said: “We know that Instagram is a fantastic tool for gaining inspiration for your house and that many people find the time they spend looking at other people’s homes on the platform a very positive experience. Indeed, 84 percent of the people we surveyed feel that social media is useful in giving inspiration and advice on styling their home.

"However, it is important to remember that the perfect homes we see on Instagram are not always a true reflection of the homes that people live their lives in.

“Our campaign is encouraging people to share un-styled images of their homes using #OriginInstaReality, to help counter feelings of HDD and celebrate family homes in all their real glory.”

Sixty-three per cent of those surveyed assessed their home as messier than other people’s or admitted to feeling self-conscious about people visiting their home as it doesn’t resemble an 'Instagram home'.

Over 1 in 10 even admitted to falling out with family members in a bid to keep their home looking ‘Insta-worthy’.

Many have even spent money in a bid to recreate an ‘Insta-Home’, with Yorkshire residents spending an average of £360 on their homes as a result of being inspired by the social media platform. It was also found that men are likely to splash more cash than women.

Homeowners aged 45-54 spend the most in their quest for an ‘Insta-worthy home’, splashing out an average of £530 after being inspired by Instagram.