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Chadwicks Group Celebrates 200 Years Of The Irish Home

Oct 30, 2019 | General News

Chadwicks Group celebrates 200 years of the Irish home

Download the full report here

Key findings

  • The 1970s voted the least stylish decade in the Irish home
  • 68% like to keep their home décor modern
  • 39% plan to renovate their home in the next 18 months
  • Laminate flooring is the most popular type of flooring sold at Chadwicks
  • White is the most popular colour for a bathroom suite in Ireland
  • 20,000 bathrooms taps sold in Chadwicks branches each year

Hardwood floors, Belfast sinks and marble work tops remain as desirable today as they were when they were first launched according to a new report.*

The report by Ireland’s leading building merchanting company, Chadwicks Group, into the changing tastes, décor and trends within the Irish home over the last 200 years was launched today to celebrate its heritage and the role the company has played in helping create the homes and communities we live in today. The report examines all aspects of the Irish home from the kitchen sink to Ireland’s favourite paint colours.

The Chadwicks Group story began over 200 years ago in 1818 when Thomas Heiton set up his coal importing business before diversifying into iron in the early 1900s. In 1902, William Thomas Chadwicks set up a business in Talbot Place Dublin to supply builders’ merchants and contractors with cement and plaster.

Today the Chadwicks Group (formerly known as Grafton Merchanting) has 50 branches across Ireland, employing over 1,300 people. Chadwicks Group currently operates Chadwicks, Heiton Buckley, Heiton Steel, The Panelling Centre, Telfords, Cork Builders Providers, Morgans Timber and Davies builders’ and plumbers’ merchanting businesses in the Republic of Ireland.


The time style forgot

According to the Chadwicks Group report, while the 1970s may be making a comeback on the catwalks, 1 in 4 say the era that gave us avocado bathroom suites, wooden kitchens and lots of orange is the least stylish period for Irish homes. The glitz and glam of the 1980s comes a close second with almost 1 in 5 saying that the kitchens, bathrooms and design of the 80s are better best forgotten. When it comes to choosing an era, most of us like to live in the present with just over two thirds (68%) saying their preference is to keep their home up to date with the latest trends and style.


Standing the test of time

Hardwood flooring was voted the trend as stylish today as it was 200 years ago by 78% of people questioned. However, while we may love hardwood floors in theory, Chadwicks is seeing more customers opt for hardwood alternatives which are more cost effective and more environmentally friendly. Laminate is now the most popular type of flooring sold at Chadwicks and can mimic the look and feel of solid wood with less upkeep!


Room to improve

The 1990s introduced the world to home improvement programmes and it seems since then we have had a love affair with home decoration and renovation.

Over a third of those questioned (39%) plan to renovate their home over the next 18 months and over three quarters (78%) decorate their home at least every five years.


A plumb job

Over 200 years ago, indoor plumbing would have been considered a luxury, but nowadays Irish homes love their bathrooms. According to the research almost a third (32%) of Irish homes now have three bathrooms while over half (51%) have up to two bathrooms.

With avocado coloured bathrooms voted a style faux pas, it’s no surprise that more neutral colours are now more popular. White is the bathroom suite colour favoured by almost 3 in 4 (72%) while 8% keep it neutral cream and 7% say grey is their preferred colour.

When it comes to fixtures and fittings, Chadwicks sells a staggering 20,000 bathrooms taps each year. Chrome is the most popular choice of tap, but trendsetters should look out for black taps which are set to be a new trend in the coming year.

While neutral bathrooms are the clear favourite, 6% embraced the dark side opting for black of navy bathroom suites!


Paint vs. Wallpaper

The earliest Wallpaper dates back to 200 BC in China but painting walls has been popular since ancient Roman times. However, it wasn’t until the mid-19th-century that interior paint could be bought pre-mixed in tins. The research finds that paint is much more popular in Irish homes than wallpaper with 92% of those questioned choosing paint as their preference.

When it comes to colour, it seems that much like our bathroom suites, we like to remain neutral with the most popular colours being white, cream, grey, eggshell and greige.


Dr Linda King, Design and Visual Culture Lecturer at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology commented, “It’s interesting to see the evolution of renovations within Irish homes. Just like fashion, every decade has its own unique style and is influenced by the culture of the time. However, much like fashion, some items remain popular – due to their functionality – which is why inclusions like hardwood floors, Belfast sinks and marble work tops can be found throughout the decades.

Social media has changed how we find inspiration for our homes. Platforms including Instagram and Pinterest provide us with endless design and décor options. Technological developments also influence these choices. Consumers are now seeking out sustainable building solutions, smart-enabled kitchens and energy saving fixtures and fittings for their homes and it would be expected that this trend would continue.”


Patrick Atkinson, CEO, Chadwicks Group commented, “From the concrete foundations, to the fixtures and fittings such as kitchens, doors, floors and bathrooms, over the last 200 years Chadwicks Group has helped create the homes and communities we live in today. As Ireland’s leading building merchanting company, we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of new products, innovations and trends happening in the industry to ensure we are offering our customers the best range of products coupled with the best service and value. Our expert team across our 50 branches nationwide is passionate about sharing this knowledge with customers and we believe it’s this passion that sets us apart.

This is an exciting time for the industry and looking ahead we expect to see lots more innovative products coming on to the market over the next few years. We’re already seeing more customers looking for sustainable and energy saving options both in building materials but also in things like heating and fixtures and fittings and we would expect this trend to increase in 2020.

Technology is also changing the way we interact with fixtures and fittings in the home as we transform our homes into smart homes. Some great examples of this include bathroom ceiling lights which are Bluetooth enabled and act as a wireless speaker or showers which can be controlled by your smartphone. We look forward to continuing to bring these innovations to our customers over the next few years.”

SpeakUp is our reporting service for colleagues and anyone (e.g. customers or suppliers) connected to Chadwicks Group (part of Grafton Group) to report concerns. This action, is also commonly known as 'whistleblowing'. If you ever see something in your interaction with Chadwicks Group that could be deemed unsafe, unethical or unscrupulous, please SpeakUp! We take concerns given in good faith very seriously and will not tolerate retaliation of any kind to anyone who reports such instances.

You can raise your concerns through the dedicated SpeakUp website here.

Please note that this service is not to be used for customer service enquiries or issues. Please contact your local Chadwicks Group branch for such enquiries.