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2.9 million rooms ‘vanish’

More and more Britons are knocking down internal walls to satisfy their craving for open plan living, says a new report from Halifax. It found that 2.9 million rooms have disappeared over the past five years and a further 2.1 million homes are set to go under the hammer this year as well.

The main casualty of this new trend is the dining room, according to the research: ‘Once a place strictly reserved for formal occasions, it seems that the formal dining room has become a largely unused space for many Britons. It’s certainly the most popular room to ‘knock through’ with more than half a million (590,000) dining room walls earmarked for demolition in the next twelve months,’ it states.

If this trend continues, Halifax estimates that the traditional dining room could be extinct by as early as 2020.
But it’s not just the dining room which is at risk: 190,000 living room walls will be lost to create larger communal areas this year, and around 170,000 utility rooms will become incorporated into kitchen areas. In addition, as many as 125,000 studies will be combined with adjoining rooms to create more spacious bedrooms, lounges and bathrooms.

Unfortunately in their eagerness to commence, it seems that one-in-four of those planning to knock down a wall in the next twelve months intend to carry out the work themselves rather than employ a professional tradesperson.

Halifax is keen to remind homeowners that a professional tradesperson is more likely to do a good job of knocking walls through, and also urges homeowners to notify their insurer prior to undertaking any building work, especially after research found that that only half (49%) of homeowners who removed an internal wall in the past five years notified their provider.

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David Rochester, Head of Underwriting at Halifax Home Insurance, said: ‘Britons have clearly fallen for open plan living and are looking at ways in which they can make better use of the space inside their homes. In many ways it’s sad to see the decline of the formal dining room, but it appears that they may have become superfluous to modern living where people are perhaps less likely to eat together.’

Top five rooms which people want to knock through

1. Dining room
2. Living room
3. Utility room
4. Study
5. Bedroom

Take part in our survey: Do you have a dining room?