Is Your House a Home? If You’ve Got Plants, Family Photos, Scented Candles and a Cat, it May Well Be

A nationwide study by household towel brand Plenty has revealed the top 25 things that transform a house into a home. Coming top of the list with 53 percent is the smell of a Sunday roast cooking in the kitchen, whilst having fresh sheets on the bed and a well-stocked fridge followed closely behind.

Also scoring highly were having family photos on walls and shelves, the sound of birds chirping in the garden and the satisfying sizzle of bacon frying in a pan added to that desired homely feeling. Further elements that help create a cosy vibe include a pet who likes to cuddle, having your own spot on the sofa and fresh cut flowers.

The whir of a kettle boiling, the fragrance of scented candles and having the radio on in the kitchen while they potter around are additional tendencies Brits like to have present to make it more homely.  

Other ways to make a home feel warm and inviting include laundry blowing on the washing line, a comfy throw on the sofa, music playing at the weekend and soaking in a hot bubble bath.

House plants, the smell of cake baking in the oven, shelves overflowing with books, having a cat curled up with you, and even the distant sound of a lawnmower also make Brits feel homely.

The research, of 1,500 Brits, also found that 70 percent agree that for a house to feel like a home it should feel relaxed and lived in – not super clean and tidy.

Leanne McLeod, Brand Manager at Plenty, which conducted the research said, “As consumers face increased energy prices, inflation woes and a predicted recession on the horizon, it’s expected disposable income for many will take a hit and Brits will be spending more time in the space of their own homes. We wanted to explore what really makes a house a home, and our research revealed that Brits really do prefer a relaxed and messy space. With mess comes irreplaceable memories which fill a house with love, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Every inch of mess has its own story to tell – love is messy!”

Forget all those minimal and pristine houses you see on social media; HALF of us reveal we are sick and tired of seeing images of pristine, “insta-perfect” houses with no mess.

42 percent admit that while their home may not always look clean and tidy, they wouldn’t have it any other way. 

The research also reveals that seven in ten of those polled prefer a home which is relaxed and messy over a place which is super clean and tidy, 35 percent believe a bit of mess makes a house feel like a home. 

In fact, 39 percent find houses which are minimal, spotless and tidy feel cold and lack a sense of comfort – with a third saying they feel completely on edge if someone’s home is too clean, sparse and plain.

Expert TV psychologist Emma Kenny adds, “Plenty’s research tells a clear story as regards to the importance so many of us place on making a house feel truly like a home. So often, we are led to believe that we should all try to aspire to impossible perfectionistic standards that we see on Instagram and other social-media networks. These standards have the potential to steal our joy and contribute towards a negative perception when it comes to our own homes. Breaking free from these unhealthy and unrealistic comparisons is key to leading a more content home life.

“It is reassuring that 73% of people who took part in this research believe that the home really is where the heart is, and that 70% believe that a house should feel ‘relaxed and lived in’. This means that as opposed to aspiring to live in a cold, clinical and minimal setting that is ordered and organised, the majority of us want to return home every day to a place that feels inviting, comforting and reassuring; a place where one can truly unwind. Now more than ever, it is important to feel at peace where you live.”


1. The smell of a Sunday roast cooking 53%

2. Fresh sheets on the bed 51%

3. A well-stocked fridge after a big food shop 45%

4. Family photos 44%

5. The sound of birds chirping in the garden 43%

6. The sound of bacon sizzling in a pan 35%

7. Having a pet who likes to cuddle 35%

8. Having your own spot on the sofa 34%

9. Fresh flowers 32%

10. Hearing the sound of a kettle boil 32%

11. Scented candles 30%

12. Having the radio on in the kitchen 29%

13. Seeing laundry out on the washing line 29%

14. A comfy throw on the sofa 29%

15. Music playing at the weekend 28%

16. Having a hot relaxing bubble bath 26%

17. House plants 25%

18. The smell of cake baking in the oven 25%

19. Shelves overflowing with books 24%

20. The sound of a lawn mower in the distance 19%

21. A cat or cats 19%

22. My dog’s blanket 19%

23. Having people over for a BBQ 19%

24. Lighting a fire during the colder months 18%

25. A stack of magazines on the coffee table 18%

Brenda Kimble

Brenda Kimble is an entrepreneur and mother of 2 daughters and a son, plus their beagle named Duke! She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family.