The most annoying things house guests can do

Posted on by Online Carpets

Hosting guests: you either love it or hate it. And whilst most Brits are no strangers to hosting guests in their homes - whether for a quick catch-up over a cup of coffee or a more organised soiree - there are plenty of things that guests do that can rub us the wrong way.

In fact, previous studies have shown that over half of Brits do not enjoy having visitors, so Online Carpets wanted to discover what it is that guests do that gets on the nation’s nerves. And whilst most people might play the part of gracious host, house guest etiquette might not come naturally to some, making many things guests do rather annoying, or even downright rude.

To find out the nation’s biggest pet peeves when it comes to house guests, we surveyed 2000 people across the UK to uncover which habits annoy them most. Our research also found that the most annoying house guest habits differ depending on the generation of the host, where they live, and their gender.

The top 10 most annoying house guest habits

Whether it’s turning up at someone’s house unannounced, or leaving your shoes on while walking across their clean carpets, certain actions are deemed disrespectful in the majority of cases, however when pitted against one another; it's clear that some of these are much more irritating than others. 

Our survey revealed that the most annoying thing guests can do in Brits’ homes is vaping, with over 55% of people saying this irritated them. Although vapes and e-cigarettes often have a somewhat non-offensive odour - and often produce a pleasant or fruity-smelling vapour - they can still damage the fabrics inside Britons' homes, much like a standard cigarette would. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should deep clean their carpets at least twice a year. However, if you, or any of your house guests, are smoking e-cigarettes indoors, we recommend doing this far more frequently. Deep cleaning can be achieved with a hoover and a dry solution, an at-home carpet cleaner or steamer, or through professional carpet cleaning services. 

It seems Brits are also keen to ensure that their pets are comfortable during their house guest visits, as the second-most annoying house guest behaviour was ‘disrespecting pets’ (50%), followed by guests snooping around the house (50%) in third place. Are you an annoying house guest? See the top 10 biggest house guest pet peeves below:

Online Carpets Pet Peeves

The great guest gender divide

Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. So, it’s only expected that the two would find different things their guests do annoying, but which guest habits have the biggest difference in responses between men and women? Our data found that the habit with the greatest difference in level annoyance between men and women was ‘vaping or smoking indoors’. Interestingly, there was a 15% difference in responses, with almost two-thirds (62%) of women saying they think this is the most annoying thing a guest can do compared to 47% of men. 

In second position was ‘disrespecting pets’, followed by ‘not supervising children’ and then, ‘snooping in areas of the house not permitted’. See the house guest pet peeves with the greatest differences in annoyance level between men and women below:

Online Carpets Pet Peeves By Gender

The biggest pet peeves of each generation

Our data suggests that Brits’ tolerance for inconsiderable guest habits decreases with age, as the results show that we find the things our house guests do more annoying as we get older. The highest percentage of Gen Zs finding a certain house guest habit annoying was 46%, compared to the highest percentage of Baby Boomers at 73%. 

For Gen Z, the most common pet peeve is when visitors disrespect their pets (46%), followed by snooping in other rooms or areas of the house (40%). For Millennials, the most annoying thing a guest can do is disrespect pets, with 4 in 10 (43%) saying this. The second-most annoying thing for Millennials is ‘vaping or smoking indoors’ (42%). 

For Gen X, the most annoying thing a guest can do is vape or smoke indoors (61%), followed by ‘rearranging furniture to suit their preferences’ (58%). 

And for Baby Boomers, the biggest pet peeve with house guests is vape or smoke indoors, with a resounding 7 in 10 (73%) saying this, followed by ‘putting feet on furniture’ (69%). Below, we explore the biggest pet peeves of each generation:

Pet Peeves By Generation

The most common pet peeves according to different areas of the UK

When it comes to most areas of the UK, the worst thing you can do in a host’s home is vape or smoke indoors, with the East of England, Greater London, East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, Scotland, South East, South West, Wales and those in Yorkshire and the Humber all agreeing on this.

Meanwhile, for those visiting someone in the North East of England, the worst thing you can do as a house guest is rearrange furniture (62%). So, definitely don’t start moving coffee tables to rest your feet on! 

When it comes to hosts over the sea in Northern Ireland, the most annoying thing a guest can do is disrespect their pets - according to over two-thirds (67%) or people there.

Pet Peeves By Location

You should always try to be as upfront as possible with guests visiting your home about the rules you have in your home. And if you want to be a respectful guest when someone else hosts you, be sure to take notes from this guide. 

A little bit of common sense and respect go a long way, but if in doubt, always ask first.



The research was conducted by Censuswide with 2,000 general consumers (nat rep) in the UK between 21.06.23 - 23.06.23. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society, which are based on the ESOMAR principles.