Zurück zur Übersicht
Life area "good home" in first place
For 68 percent of the Germans, a good home is more important than leisure, cars, holidays, the Internet and clothing. The living room is their feelgood space (61%), while the bedroom is reserved for intimacy (68%), reading (65%) and conversations (49%). When it comes to furnishing, almost everyone follows his or her own taste, and when purchasing furniture, functionality (62%) and longevity (57%) count more than the price and the design.
Commissioned by interlübke, TNS Emnid interviewed 1,000 individuals aged 14 and over in a representative opinion survey – with surprising results: the living behaviour of the Germans is not determined by trends, but by personal preferences which are orientated to living status and architectural conditions. Three quarters of the interviewees live in flats or houses with 3 to 6 rooms (including kitchen and living room), and the average area is 96 square metres. Televisions are to be found in almost all living rooms, as well as a third of all bedrooms, with computers in only one third of studies and living rooms. The clear preference for the living room or dining/living room as a feelgood space (74%) has remained practically unchanged since 19891. Indispensable items in this room are the sitting room suite (95%), the television (88%), decoration (88% pictures, 86% plants, 77% curtains) and the hi-fi system (75%)2.
Location, room layout, the neighbours and the architectural features of their domestic environment are especially important to the Germans. "Basically, the level of living satisfaction is high," comments TNS Emnid Managing Director Klaus-Peter Schöppner, "eight out of ten respondents live in almost perfect homes in which at most individual pieces of furniture are missing." Then there is the trend comparison: in 1989 this applied to just over half of the West Germans surveyed. Preferences with regard to colour schemes have also changed. In 2012, natural and gentle colours (minus 11% compared to 1989) dominate, followed by white and light at 33% (plus 17% compared to 1989).3
What is decisive when buying furniture?
People buying new furniture orientate themselves to its functionality and longevity, and less to design or brand awareness. "The fact that, at 83 percent, family members or partners are the most important shopping advisors underlines the social and emotional status of home life," explains Leo Lübke, Managing Partner of interlübke. Individual sales advice in the store (66%), as well as friends and acquaintances (62%), provide orientation when choosing furniture. Roughly half of the Germans look in shop windows or research on the Internet (49/51%). Most prefer to buy in specialist furniture shops or furniture department stores (80/76%), with only 15 percent of the interviewees participating in online shopping. When putting furniture together most report having had positive experiences, but one out of three has also had cause for annoyance.
Traditional use of space beats multifunctional zones
Beyond propagated trends: the Germans are not very fond of experimenting when it comes to merging their living areas. The only exception is the living room, which 40 percent combine with a dining area and 9 percent with a work space. And what's more – the cooking area has not moved into the living room, as nearly three quarters of the resident population continues to use a pure kitchen, with only one fifth combining it with the dining room. "Perhaps some people would like to be trendsetters if the size and structural layout of their homes permitted it," explains Klaus-Peter Schöppner, "but our furnishing behaviour has remained relatively constant since 1989."
The bedroom remains a refuge
The Germans' most intimate space rarely serves as a media lounge or sports oasis: 28 percent switch on their radio or TV here, but only 17 percent use the computer or game console in the bedroom. Fitness and wellness-orientated use also amounts to only 16 percent. As activities, intimacy and reading draw almost level (68/65%), with just under half of the respondents holding conversations with their partners and children in the bedroom. 43 percent also withdraw to their bed chamber during the day to rest and relax.
Is there need for emancipation in domestic chores?
The Germans like things neat and tidy – nearly three quarters of the interviewees do the cleaning once to three times a week. 41 percent of the male and female cleaners share the housework, while the women predominate when it comes to cooking. Smaller repairs are more often carried out by the stronger sex at 68 percent. Duties such as shopping and financial planning, on the other hand, are mostly performed on a partnership basis by both sexes (58%/62%). "The traditional allocation of roles continues to exist with regard to domestic tasks," says Klaus-Peter Schöppner in summary. "This observation can definitely be applied to the way the Germans live on an everyday basis."
1 Alphons Silbermann, Latest information on the residential behaviour of West Germans, survey 1989, (living room/living-dining room 71%)
2 Alphons Silbermann, Latest information on the residential behaviour of West Germans, survey 1989, curtains (83%), television (81%), flowers (79%), pictures (63%)
3 Alphons Silbermann, Latest information on the residential behaviour of West Germans, survey 1989
Study profile: Germany in Private – How the Germans Live