Clever Things The UK Does That American Homes Need ASAP

Monica Gray - March 9, 2024

You might think an American home has everything it needs and more, but there are some clever things that they do in the United Kingdom that Americans should adopt. First of all, homes in the UK are cheaper than in the USA. The average price of a home in the UK is $290,409.30, whereas in the US it’s $412,000. That’s double in price! But putting that aside, there are other things the UK does that American homes need. Despite their lack of air conditioning and putting their washing machines in the kitchen, they have a knack for decoration.

According to Brittany from “The Black House Chronicles,” “When I first moved to the UK, any house I saw made of brick was beautiful to me. Even what I’d consider some dodgy student housing today looked like it was from a fairytale when I first came. Where I’m from in Florida, we don’t tend to have homes made of brick, so it was really surprising to see that pretty much every home here has brick walls.” Let’s take a look at other things the UK does that American homes need.


Electric Kettles

A staple household item in a British household is an electric kettle. Even though Americans love tea just as much as the Brits do, it’s unlikely you’ll find an electric kettle in their home. American influencer Brittany from “The Brick House Chronicles,” said, “If we wanna heat water, we do it on the stove or in the microwave, which honestly feels insane now that I’ve had a kettle for years.” One British viewer questioned this, asking if Americans don’t have kettles.

One person replied, “We do have them, people just prefer the old-fashioned metal kettles you put on the stovetop and wait to whistle when it’s done.” Another American defended the kettle fiasco by pointing out why we need another kitchen item when we already have plenty (Daily Mail).

The Lightbulb Company

Light Bulbs Are Standardized in The UK

Have you ever bought a lamp that has specific requirements for lightbulbs? Unfortunately, that’s a thing in America, but it’s not in the UK. According to this Reddit user, “With the light bulb thing, all you need to know when buying one is how it connects and what size the connector end is. The different shapes/sizes of bulb that fall within the same connector size/type are just personal preference in my experience.”

The UK knows how to do it right. This makes buying lightbulbs much easier. It should be pretty simple, you go to the store, pick out a bulb, and then use that for your lamp. There’s no need to have tons of different sockets and connectors and the works (Reddit).


Double Taps

Even though many Americans might disagree with this one, the UK does have a point. They have one tap for cold water and another for hot water. It’s strange to think you have to either have scalding hot water or cold water, but it’s easier to use than it might seem.

According to a user on TikTok, “These are things in British houses that are strange to an American. First is this double tap situation where one is scalding hot water, and the other is ice cold, and there’s no in-between. You just have to wave your hands around like an idiot and hope you can mix the two to get a decent temperature. Thankfully, these have become a lot less common recently.” You’ll still find them in some UK homes (TikTok)


Washing Machines in the Kitchen

Even though this is probably one of the most confusing things the UK does, Americans might need to take a step back and learn something from it. According to TikTok, “Next is washing machines in the kitchen. I don’t know why this seems like such an odd place to put it. Maybe it’s because in the US they’ve got their room, or they’re in the bathroom or a closet. But the kitchen? Just no.”

Not only does having a washing machine in the kitchen save space in your home, but it also makes doing chores much easier. You don’t have to constantly go back and forth between the kitchen and the bathroom. Instead, you can clean the dishes, cook food, and do your laundry from the same room (TikTok)

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According to oneTikTok video, UK homes have conservatories, which are little glass-walled rooms in the back of people’s houses. According to the TikTok video, “These things are little boxes of warm magic, I love taking a nap in my fiancé’s parents’ conservatory when it’s all nice and toasty. Though, I’m pretty sure if we had these in Florida where I’m from, they would get so hot you’d combust if you went in there.”

The good news is that it never really gets that hot in the UK, for the most part. However, one British person commented on her TikTok video and claimed that conservatories are a nightmare. They’re cold in the winter and saunas in the summertime and are so poorly regulated that no one ends up using them. They’re the worst in the wintertime in the morning (Daily Mail).

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English Like a Native

Doors to Every Room

In England, you won’t have an open planned house like you do in the USA. In their homes, they have doors that go to every room. Brittany said, “This next one is one I never thought I’d be into but British houses seem to have doors for every room rather than an open plan style which is popular in the US. I have to say, I like the separation, particularly of the kitchen because it means the food smells stay in there.”

There’s something nice about having more privacy, and not having to search for a room with a closed door. She went on to say, “Does anyone else have traumatic memories of your mom roasting peppers and you needed a gas mask to avoid the burn? This would have helped with that.” But it turns out that these separate rooms aren’t for privacy, but to help prevent fires from spreading across the home. It’s also to help keep the heat in the home during wintertime when the heating is on (Daily Mail).


No Outlets in the Bathrooms

This might be a dealbreaker for some, but for those in the UK, it’s not. There aren’t any outlets in the bathroom. Whether that’s for aesthetic purposes or fire safety, it’s unsure. In her TikTok video, Brittany said, “Another thing is that there are no outlets in the bathroom. You might get one that only works for shavers, which like, sexist.”

She went on to say, “But I wanna do my hair in the bathroom and be as happy as the stock footage lady. And all you people who are gonna say, ‘Oh, it’s health and safety!’ I looked up stats on people that have been electrocuted in the bathroom, and most of them wanted to be electrocuted, if you know what I mean.” Perhaps American homes can take a look at this and apply it to their homes. There’s nothing wrong with preventing fires more homes should work on preventing them (TikTok)

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Letterboxes On Doors

Those Brits don’t realize the luxury of having the mail delivered directly to their front doors. Americans have mailboxes but need to walk down their driveway to retrieve their mail. In her TikTok video, Brittany also revealed, “I’m also a big fan of letterboxes on the doors here, we definitely have these in the US but it’s also really common to have a group mailbox for your neighborhood.”

It’s easier to grab your mail as you walk to the kitchen in the morning as opposed to having to get dressed, put on shoes, and walk down your driveway for the mail. She went on to say, “These things are so ugly and I remember ours being so far away when I was a kid and hating having to trek to go get the mail. So this is my official request for the US to only use letterboxes in the door – I know mail delivery people are probably yelling at the screen right now (Daily Mail).

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Toilet Flushing Options

In England, you can choose to do a little or a big flush on your toilet. We don’t have that in America, and it’s something we need. Why should we always use the same flush for number one that we use for number two? We don’t need a huge flush when we pee!

Brittany said, “Lastly, big flush, little flush – this is genius. You pee, you do a little flush, you poo, you do a big flush. In the US, everything is big so we do a big flush and we waste water with a big flush – please give us a little flush.” But Brits beg to differ, and in her comments said, “Every plumber I’ve ever met has said to not use the ‘small flush’ button as it’s not good for the plumbing. Especially in older homes.” Well, it might be bad for the plumbing, but at least using water is better for the environment (Daily Mail).

Base Energy

Energy Efficiency Standards

While Americans love running their AC in the summer and their heating in the winter, the UK handles it a little bit differently. You can say they’re a little bit more sustainable and practical when it comes to handling energy efficiency.

The UK has stringent energy efficiency standards for homes, encouraging the use of insulation, double-glazed windows, and efficient heating systems. It wouldn’t take much to start building homes in America with these factors in mind. Implementing similar standards in American homes could significantly reduce energy consumption and utility bills, and is something we should follow suit with (Gov).

Which. co

Smart Meters

If you walk into a UK home, you might notice a strange screen next to the front door. The UK has been rolling out smart meters widely, allowing homeowners to monitor and manage their energy usage in real time. Installing smart meters in American homes could help promote energy conservation and cost savings.

It constantly updates throughout the day, so you know exactly how much energy you’re using in real-time. If Americans knew how much energy they were using, they might try and use less of it. This could help inspire people to turn off their lights and keep the doors and windows shut when running the heat or AC (Citizens Advice).

Hydro Tech

Rainwater Harvesting Systems

One of the ways to live a greener life is to utilize rainwater. But the UK is already ahead of the game. Some UK homes utilize rainwater harvesting systems to collect and store rainwater for non-potable uses such as watering gardens and flushing toilets. Implementing such systems in American homes could reduce water consumption and strain on municipal water supplies.

Apparently, “Water harvesting is a simple and sustainable way to protect our planet’s natural resources and delicate ecosystems. When you use harvested rainwater, you conserve groundwater, save energy, limit the damaging effects of stormwater runoff, and bring out the best in our lawns and gardens.” American homes could benefit from using rainwater, especially in parts of the states with heavy rainfall (Premier Tech Aqua).

Lawn Starter

Composting Bins

While some American homes are starting to catch on to composting bins, it doesn’t mean all of them are. Many UK households have composting bins for organic waste, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and producing nutrient-rich compost for gardens. Encouraging composting in American homes could help divert organic waste from landfills and support sustainable gardening practices.

This is a great way to reuse all that waste you have after eating things like bananas, eggs, and avocados. Other benefits of composting bins include healthier plant growth, improved soil health, reduced waste, water conservation, and stormwater management (Composting Council).

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Community Gardens and Allotments

It’s always a good idea to have more green spaces, which is why more American homes need to follow suit of the UK and have them. In the UK, there’s a tradition of community gardens and allotments where individuals can grow their produce. Encouraging the establishment of community gardens in American neighborhoods can promote local food production, community engagement, and green spaces.

According to MDPI, “provide food production and outdoor physical activity, but also have implications for the reuse of neglected land or community development. Allotments have therapeutic and nutritional benefits, as well as psychological benefits for allotment gardeners and their residents.” Not only is this good for your home and the environment, but the earth, too (MDPI).


Incentives for Green Roofs

In some parts of the UK, there are incentives for installing green roofs, which help reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, and provide insulation. Encouraging the installation of green roofs in American urban areas could offer similar environmental benefits.

According to Green Composites, “Some local authorities offer incentives, such as planning bonuses or reduced planning fees, for the use of green roofs. The Building Standards Committee (BSC) Advice Note 47 guides the design, installation, and maintenance of green roofs.” If the American government followed suit, there might be more green space not only in American’s yards but on their roofs, too (Green Composites).