Average home size has more than doubled since the 50s. Is this is a good thing or should you consider a smaller house? There are some big benefits that come with smaller homes.
My husband and I are currently looking for a new home. Our current home is not really meeting our needs and is not what we want. It was the best choice at the time and served us well but we are ready to move on.
What may come as a surprise is we are downsizing. Our current home isn’t huge but it’s more house than we need. It’s four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. It’s also not very well laid out so space isn’t used well or in the way we would choose.
The trend these days seems to be to buy as big of a house as you can afford, the bigger the better. Since the 1950’s the average size of homes has more than doubled, even as the average size household has decreased. The average size home in the 1940s and 1950s was 1,100 square feet, in 2002 it was 2,340 square feet.
We are currently looking for a 1,300-1,800 square foot home. We’d like three bedrooms, 1.75+ bathrooms, a nice size kitchen, one living area, and a garage. We feel this would meet our needs very well. Ideally, we’d also like a laundry room and I wouldn’t mind a formal dining room but these are not required.
For part of my childhood, we lived in a 1,800 square foot house with four people. It was a beautiful 1930’s home. It had three bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a formal dining room, and a good size kitchen. The only issue we had was it would have been nice to have two full bathrooms, but we managed. It was a wonderful home and had plenty of space.
In looking at homes we have found that a well laid out home is what is really important. We looked at and really considered one that was just under 1,300 square feet but it was so well laid out it seemed larger. It had one very small hallway and was laid out in such a way that there was very little wasted space. Ideally, I would have liked larger bedrooms but it was manageable.
After having lived in many different size homes I feel I have a good handle on what I really need and even want. As much as I respect those in the tiny house movement, I can’t go that small but I would like to go smaller than average. There are many benefits to buying a smaller home, many you may not have considered.
Reasons to Consider a Smaller Home
Less to maintain.
More house means more time cleaning and more maintenance costs. A smaller home means more time to enjoy your home and family.
You will normally hear your mortgage shouldn’t be more than 30% of your income. However, that doesn’t mean you need to or even should spend that much.
Smaller homes require fewer resources to build and to maintain. This is better for the environment and your budget.
Lower utility bills.
The smaller the house the less it will cost to heat and cool. Energy costs are getting quite high and no matter how efficient you are a larger home will use more energy.
Less space to furnish.
We looked at a home last month that had two living areas. Since that is not what we would prefer we were not planning to furnish a second living area. That was going to greatly increase our costs.
Helps you own less stuff.
When you have less space you tend to buy less stuff because you will run out of room quicker. This also helps reduce cleaning time and is better for the environment, and your budget!
These are all reasons we are looking at smaller homes. We also personally don’t see the use for all the extra space a larger home would offer.
How large is your current home? Do you want more space or would you consider downsizing?
Update: We bought a 1,300 square foot home built in 1963. It has 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and a lovely vintage kitchen that is more than big enough for us.