Nearly nine million bedrooms have been “lost” as people have adapted their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a property website.
Four in 10 (41%) homeowners have changed their property to better suit their needs, Zoopla found.
Among those making changes, more than half (53%) have entirely repurposed at least one bedroom while some have lost multiple bedrooms.
Zoopla estimated from the research that around 8,856,000 bedrooms have been “lost” in the UK’s privately-owned homes during the pandemic.
Nearly half (46%) of those who have made changes to their home have created a home office. And more than half (58%) of these people plan to permanently keep it.
However, one in six (16%) homeowners who created a home office said they resent giving up space in their home for the benefit of their employer.
Two-thirds (67%) believe employers should pay all or some of the cost of setting up a home office.
Three in 10 (30%) said their employer had made some contribution towards the costs.
Alongside home offices, home gyms, bars, cinemas and music rooms have also been newly created.
Zoopla highlighted the case of Sophie Delahunty-Allsop, 29, who lives in Wiltshire, who said: “After a few iterations during lockdown, I converted the spare room into a space that’s just for me – it’s part a WFH (work from home) office, part snug and part craft room.”
She said: “In terms of cost, I spent around £300 doing up the room, which was in part offset by the existing furniture in the room which I sold.
“This paid for the desk and I managed to get a second-hand sofa too. I’m really happy with the space and it’s made a real difference to my general wellbeing.”
Zoopla also found that more than half (55%) of those who repurposed rooms said it meant they had to compromise on their space at home, for example having less space for guests to stay or meaning children have to share a bedroom.
Younger homeowners in particular were more likely to have to make compromises, often due to having smaller properties.
Of homeowners who have made changes, nearly a third (32%) said that this has made them consider moving home.
Daniel Copley, consumer spokesperson at Zoopla, said: “We were blown away by the figures showing the extent to which our homes have changed as a result of the pandemic.
“It’s not surprising that with so many bedrooms lost, and many home offices set to become a permanent fixture, many homeowners will have realised now is the time for a new home with more space.
“Whilst some may think it isn’t affordable, we know that many homeowners actually have far more equity in their home than they realise, which could make a move into a more suitable home a possibility.”
Nick Neill, managing director at EweMove sales and lettings, said: “Although many believe that their employer should contribute to the cost of setting up a home office, it’s important to consider other factors such as reduced commuter costs.”
He added: “The rise of open-plan living also means that it can be tricky to find space to set up a home office, but it really does present a more flexible property for buyers to consider purchasing if you do decide to sell in the future.
“It’s also worth considering a garden office – which could be anything from a glorified shed to a swanky purpose-built luxury cabin. Not only can it enable a better work/life balance and space to work outside of the family home, but it will definitely add value to your property and not take it away, which could be the case if you convert a bedroom.”
Some 2,000 homeowners were surveyed across the UK in January and February 2022.