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Women live more softly
When voting on the importance of a "good home", Germany's women are ahead of the men with 73 percent compared to 64 percent. Both sexes place the highest feelgood factor in the living room. Once there, it's a different story: women want curtains, men prefer a hi-fi system.Areas of life like leisure, holidays and cars carry a similar weight for both sexes. However, when it comes to living, the interlübke survey conducted by TNS Emnid reveals characteristic differences.1 Living well is more important to women, who arrange their surroundings more emotionally and bring colour into their lives at home. Their preference for natural tones is shared by the men, but views diverge when it comes to the white and light (37% men/29% women) and colourful (19% women/10% men) design of rooms2.
Living room top, kitchen flop
The idea that women feel the most comfortable in children's rooms, kitchens or bathrooms is a cliché of a time long past. "Both sexes feel at their most comfortable in the living room – far ahead of all other rooms," says Klaus-Peter Schöppner, Managing Director of TNS Emnid. Overall, they prefer just to live, then to eat there. The combined living/dining room comes second, favoured by 11 percent of the male and 14 percent of the female interviewees. Contrary to traditional role allocation, fathers actually name the children's room more frequently (3%) than mothers (1%). And finally, only 12 percent of the women and 6 percent of the men enjoy their feelgood factor in the kitchen.
Women love curtains, men want a hi-fi
Pictures are a must as the most popular requisite in the living room for 85 percent of the men and 91 percent of the women. The female respondents lead in their preference for textile accessories: 81% percent prefer curtains, with the figure for men nine percent lower. Carpets are also favoured differently – by 68 percent of German females and 54 percent of males. Men lead when it comes to musical and modular furniture: 78 percent place value on hi-fi systems (women 71%), while shelves are indispensable for 55 percent (women: 46%). "Women have a high sensitivity for homely interiors and accessories with a pleasant feel to them," explains Leo Lübke, Managing Partner of interlübke, "they are more likely to experiment and choose colourful articles."
Men like to be among themselves when buying furniture
When German are planning a new purchase, family members and partners are the most important advisors in a comparison of the sexes (for 85 percent of women/81 percent of men). The second most important role is played by catalogues from furniture stores, albeit with different weightings: 76 percent of the female and 68 percent of the male interviewees consult catalogues. The next port of call for men is their friends and acquaintances, while women prefer to seek personal advice in the furniture store. At 59 percent the Internet is truly becoming a male domain as a source of information (women 43%). And it comes as no surprise that the female population takes more inspiration from window shopping (54%) than the stronger sex (44%).
Intimate relationship with the bedroom
When it comes to using the bedroom, men put intimacy in first place, with women naming reading. At 65 percent, the second most common activity for women – apart from sleeping – is intimacy, with men naming reading at 57 percent. When it comes to conversations with partners or children, the figures reconverge (47% men/50% women). Withdrawing to the bedroom for daytime relaxation is popular with both sexes (43%). With regard to media consumption the priorities are comparable: 27 percent of the men and 29 percent of the women regularly listen to the radio in the bedroom, with exactly reversed figures watching television.
Is cleanliness at home a question of appearances?
Many domestic duties in households are shared with partners3: for the most part, both take care of the finances, more than half go shopping together, and more than a third share the cooking. Smaller repairs are still carried out jointly by one fifth. In this respect, external and self-assessment are relatively synchronised. There is strong divergence between the male and female views of the obligatory topic of cleaning: about half of the men see this task as being fairly distributed – i.e. between both partners – while 42 percent state that it is the woman who keeps the home clean and tidy. The women would probably wish for such a majority situation. In fact, less than a third consider cleaning to be a duty which is shared by both partners. Two thirds are even of the opinion that responsibility for cleanliness within their four walls rests solely on their shoulders.
1 Germany in Private – How the Germans Live, opinion survey 2012 commissioned by interlübke, conducted by TNS Emnid, study period 20 February to 1 March 2012
Study profile: Germany in Private – How the Germans Live