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Keeping up with the Joneses

Homeowners spend almost £1000 on ‘fashionable’ items that never get used

avatar of Emily Booth

by Emily Booth

A new survey has revealed the average amount Britons have spent on items displayed in their house to look intellectual and cultured, with respondents stating they have spent £200 on books , £150 on records and £100 on fragrances or skincare products to show off to visitors. 

Research from Hillarys, leading interiors expert in blinds, curtains, shutters and carpets, illustrates the top ‘useless’ items homeowners buy in a bid to impress guests.

The figures come from a survey of 2,083 British homeowners, who were asked about home goods they have bought to put on display in order to seem smarter, richer or more cultured.

Tara Hall, spokesperson for Hillarys, said "Our homes say a lot about who we are as people, so there can be some pressure to try and impress guests with a certain look or particular items that we think say something about us. However, the costs soon add up, as our figures show."

The top 10 most popular items bought were as follows:

  1. Bottles of alcohol they don’t drink - 88%
  2. Books they have never read -  83%
  3. Blankets/throws that aren’t used – 72%
  4. Candles that are never lit – 64%
  5. Designer makeup, fragrances or skincare for decoration  – 59%
  6. Vinyl records that they never listen to – 55%
  7. Religious symbols (i.e. Buddha candle holders) even though they aren’t religious – 47%
  8. Fancy towels that are hung in the bathroom but aren’t used  – 44%
  9. Posters of films they’ve never seen – 31%
  10. ‘Display food’, such as Kilner jars of pasta or fruit bowls – 27%


Overall, it was found that homeowners spend up to £928 on these items.