It is A- Level results day and delighted students who’ve got the grades needed to get into their chosen university will be celebrating tonight. But many could get a nasty shock when they come home after their first term. In place of their familiar bedroom with its cherished pictures and posters – the time capsule of their growing up – they could find a freshly decorated but anonymous guest suite or even a home gym.
Two thirds of Britons have confessed that they’ll be unsentimentally stripping their child’s room just as soon as they've packed them off to some dreaming spires or red brick institute of higher learning. According to a study by AA Financial Services, far from wallowing in misery at their empty nest, 66 per cent were keen to reclaim and repurpose the suddenly spare room.
A loyal third (34 per cent), said they would probably do nothing and just leave it as a shrine to their offspring, ready for when they and their sackfuls of dirty laundry returned in the holidays.
The most common use contemplated for the refreshed space was as a guest bedroom, with parents looking forward to welcoming old friends, possibly from their own university days, over to stay.
This was particularly popular in the South West, with 40 per cent saying they dreamt of having an extra bedroom to use. In contrast, only 25 per cent of people in the West Midlands said they’d stop thinking of it as their child’s room and strip it of their unique decorating choices.
Using it as a home office was a popular choice among 17 per cent of those who responded, while people in Wales (12 per cent) were twice as likely as the rest of the country to indulge themselves by turning it into a walk-in wardrobe.
Fitness and hobbies loomed large on people’s thoughts as to what they could do in the room, with 13 per cent saying they’d like to use it for games or crafts and five per cent looking forward to saving money on gym fees by turning it into their own work out space. Interestingly, five per cent said they'd keep it as a spare room to use themselves when they needed to sleep separately from their partner, and five per cent saw it as an opportunity to make money by renting it out!
Warren D’Souza, head of insight at AA Personal Finance, said: ‘While waving the kids off to university may be a difficult transition, our findings suggest that many people have alternative, and potentially exciting, ideas on how they will repurpose the empty rooms left behind.
‘For some parents, the sad departure of their child is a signal for the start of a new DIY undertaking or similar project to focus on.’