The research found that one in four homeowners and buyers have failed to grasp the concept of a square foot or square metre.
As a result, a fifth admitted they have struggled to fit belongings into their properties, while more than a quarter (28 per cent) have had to return furniture after discovering it didn’t actually fit in their new home.
Over half of those surveyed did not know the size of their home in square feet or metres, while when tested people tended to overestimate the size of the typical property.
What’s more, around two thirds (69 per cent) said they did not actually look at floor plans when considering what property to buy, judging it entirely on photos instead. This led to an average of four days wasted by looking at properties which were too small.
Barclays’ study found that a third of homeowners believe size is more important than location, while almost half (42 per cent) would choose to own a larger property rather than stay in their current area.
Hannah Bernard, head of mortgages at Barclays, said: “As more of us look for properties online, it’s interesting to see how, as a nation, we’re struggling to judge how much space there is. It’s important to think about whether you need more space in a new property or if you can simply extend your home to suit your needs.
“We understand the factors that need to be considered in these circumstances and want to help families stay in control of their finances as they plan for a change in their home – whether it’s a first move, a remortgage or home improvements.”