Forget Elbows Off the Table… Modern House Rules Include Being Energy Efficient, No Phones at the Dinner Table & Switching Lights Off

The cost of living means family house rules now include always turning off lights, putting plastic, cardboard and glass in the recycling bin, and never wasting food.

The definitive set of rules for a happy, stress-free household was revealed via new research of British families by Smart Energy GB.

A resounding (97 percent) believe it is important to have rules in the home, with a further 98 percent agreeing that it is vital to define the boundaries of what is acceptable.

In fact, financial pressures such as rising energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis have resulted in 89 percent believing that more energy saving house rules have been introduced with nearly half implementing their own rules to be as energy efficient as possible.

Three quarters (77 percent) of the nation believe that house rules help their homes to run smoothly, while two thirds (66 percent) have introduced directives so that everyone knows what is acceptable.

Limiting arguments, encouraging people to take responsibility for the running of the home, helping to set expectations and encouraging people to think about costs are also reasons for introducing house rules.

One in four (26 percent) wanted to get the people in their household thinking about the environment and the impact their decisions make on the world.

when it comes to whether you own or rent your house, the priorities for house rules can vary.

The data showed that homeowners want lights to be turned off when leaving a room (69 percent), no food waste (58 percent), shoes off at the front door (53 percent), no screens at the dinner table (41 percent) and electrical items turned off at the plug (36 percent) to save cash.

Meanwhile, renters want the members of their household to always put plastics and cardboard in the recycling, not turn the thermostat up without asking, only boil the water they need it and only put the dishwasher on when it’s full.

Victoria Bacon, Smart Energy GB, said: “It’s clear from the research that house rules have an important place in a modern home, particularly with the cost-of-living crisis rumbling on and many people conscious of taking steps to keep bills down.

 “There are several changes you can make at no additional cost, like requesting a smart meter from your energy supplier, which are simple to do and effective at helping to put you in control of your energy use and keep your bills down. If you rent and the energy bill is in your name, you can ask your energy supplier to fit a smart meter, but it’s recommended that you tell your landlord before you get one. If your landlord pays the bills, ask them if they would be happy to arrange the upgrade.”

Two thirds of the 2,000 people across the UK surveyed say that their parents had house rules when they were young, with one in four imposing the same rules in their homes.

Nine in ten admit that it irritates them when someone breaks a house rule, resulting in an average of five arguments a week. Despite this, over a third have broken a friend or family member’s house rule when visiting their home.


  1. Always turn off the lights when leaving the home – 63%
  2. Always put plastic, cardboard and glass in the recycling – 59%
  3. Don’t waste food – 56%
  4. Shoes off at the front door – 51%
  5. Always be as energy efficient as possible – 48%
  6. Don’t leave wet towels on the floor – 41%
  7. No screens at the dinner table – 38%
  8. Don’t put empty cartons back in the fridge – 37%
  9. Wipe up your crumbs after making food – 37%
  10. Turn electrical items off at the plug – 36%
  11. Don’t leave plates and glasses in the bedroom – 34%
  12. Don’t switch TV channels when someone is watching a programme – 32%
  13. Always put things back where you found them – 32%
  14. Only boil the water you need – 30%
  15. Always put the toilet seat down – 30%
  16. Don’t turn the thermostat up without asking – 27%
  17. Close doors when you leave a room – 26%
  18. Always wash the bath/shower down after use – 25%
  19. Only put the dishwasher on when it’s full – 24%
  20. Don’t leave your phone on charge overnight – 18%
Brenda Berg

Brenda Berg is a professional writer with over 15 years experience in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship. Consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs. She is passionate about covering topics on career, self-development, writing, blogging and others.