Retro chic – or design crime?

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

It just goes to show how one person’s chic retro throwback is another’s horrific design crime. A survey by a mortgage lender has found that design fads of previous decades still haunt the homes of the UK – but isn’t that supposed to be a good thing?

The survey, carried out by Post Office Mortgages, claims that décor once considered the height of good taste now strikes a sour note among many of today’s homebuyers.

But the trouble is, what goes around comes around – and it can be hard to know where to draw the line between charming period features and something that looks like the ‘before’ segment in a particularly embarrassing DIY salvage TV show.

The Property Fads and Fashions Report has revealed the built-in bar, a favourite of both Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter and the Duckworth family, ranks as the worst furniture fad of the last 30 years, according to a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents.

OK, we’ll let them have that one. But what about that lady with the green face?

Also flagged up as truly horrible were mock fireplaces, animal print rugs, and black ash furniture. Artex walls topped the poll for worst interior design fad of the last 30 years, with one in five (18 per cent) ranking it number one.

In a sign of the times, the under-34s are the most willing to see past dodgy DIY and interior design faux-pas in order to bag a bargain and get on the property ladder with only 51 per cent prepared to walk away from a property because of botched DIY jobs – compared to 69 per cent of over-55s.

And just 18 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds are put off by mock Tudor interiors compared to over a third (36 per cent) of over 55s.

We reckon they’ve spotted the next big thing here.

Mike Cook, the Post Office’s head of mortgages, said: “Making improvements to your home before you put it on the market can make all the difference between a forever lingering ‘for-sale’ sign and sealing the deal.

“Whilst some prospective buyers will always see past out-dated décor, sellers who still cherish features such as built-in bars and artex walls might want to consider making some modernisations to appeal to the rest!

“With home buyers trying to make their money go as far as possible in the current environment, they can free up money for any modernisations by keeping costs low elsewhere.”

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