Make yourself at home - modern home etiquette

Posted 17 August 2016 by Helen Christie

It’s widely believed that the British public is very polite, but new research shows this stereotype may not hold true in 2016...

As traditional rules about elbows on the table and bringing a dish for a meal are no longer expected to be followed, new conventions - such as having a plug socket available to charge a device and waiting an acceptable amount of time before asking for a wifi password - have popped up in modern home etiquette.

Anglian Home Improvements, the windows, doors and conservatories specialist, surveyed over 1,000 UK residents to uncover what we’re willing to do in another person’s house and what we find rude if guests do in our own.

When it comes to guest etiquette, results show that hosts find feet on the furniture a top issue (59%), cutting nails a close second (58%) and taking control of the TV remote (52%) takes the third position in the poll.

Asking for the wifi password topped the list of things we’re happy to do as a guest, with almost a third (31%) of survey respondents stating they would feel comfortable asking for the code as a guest in someone’s home.

This was followed by being comfortable asking to charge a phone, tablet or laptop (24%) coming in second place, and helping yourself to a drink (20%).

Over half of men (59%) said a guest cutting their nails in their home is one of the rudest activities, whereas women said that someone putting their feet on the furniture is the worst thing a guest could do in their home (62%).

Avoid putting your feet on the furnitureRemember to avoid putting your feet on the furniture in a North Western resident’s home, as nearly two thirds of respondents from the region (65%) found this to be the worst crime against etiquette.

Over half of London-based respondents (58%) find it rude when guests walk into their home without knocking. In addition, 1 in 7 Scottish respondents like to keep control of their TV remote, whereas 69% of Yorkshire residents find cutting nails the most unacceptable activity.

When asked what the strangest thing a guest has ever done in their home was, respondents came back with surprising and shocking responses, including:

  • Running a bath for themselves without asking
  • Guests falling asleep behind sofas
  • Breaking the toilet seat
  • Being sick in the garden and not admitting to it
  • Rifling through personal items, including mail

When asked “What would you find rude if a guest did the following in your house?” survey respondents said:

  • Guests putting their feet on the furniture (59%)
  • Guests cutting their nails (58%)
  • Guests taking control of the TV remote (52%)
  • Guests answering their home phone (51%)
  • Guests walking into their home without knocking (48%)

When asked “Which of the following would you feel comfortable doing in someone else's house?” respondents said:

  • Asking for the wifi password (31%)
  • Charging their phone/tablet/laptop (24%)
  • Helping themselves to a drink (20%)
  • Putting their elbows on the table (18%)
  • Taking a nap (14%)

Melanie McDonald, head of PR and brand marketing at Anglian Home Improvements, says: “Although we would never condone cutting your nails and taking naps as a guest in someone’s home, etiquette does need to change for the 21st century. With many people now owning modern battery-zapping mobiles and tablets, it does mean people are more likely to ask for wifi passwords and if they can charge an electrical device when visiting. Just make sure they use their manners - please and thank you are a must.”


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