What’s the Perfect Home Size? Houzz Readers Weigh In
Houzz Contributor, Erin Carlyle
Our recent call for Houzzers to tell us their perfect home size, financial considerations aside, elicited a lively conversation about the ideal square footage for a home. The perfect size seems to depend on a range of factors, including lifestyle, life stage and personal tastes. “I often compare finding the ideal size house to finding the ideal pair of jeans — there is no one size fits all but it has to feel right for you,” wrote Houzz user esthervanwest in her comment.
We agree. Read on to see why one responder would prefer a 5,000-square-foot-home, another feels most at home in 337 square feet, and a range of preferences in between. Then vote in our poll and tell us what size is ideal for you.
What Size Is Typical?
The median size of an owner-occupied home was 1,800 square feet in 2013 (the latest data available), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means that half of homes were smaller, half larger. A handful of those who responded to our question said that the median is about right for them — even if it isn’t what they’re living in now.
1. A Bigger Home That’s Easier to Clean
Who lives here: Houzz user rachieleigh
Size: 2,000 square feet (186 square meters)
Ideal size: 1,600 to 1,800 square feet (149 to 167 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: Houzzer rachieleigh commented that 1,600 to 1,800 square feet is her “goldilocks zone” for a family of four with two dogs. But this Houzzer’s family currently resides in a 2,000-square-foot home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an office. “It is a tad big coming from our adorable 1000-square-foot bungalow we had before,” rachieleigh commented.
The additional square footage — which is allocated to the common spaces rather than the bedrooms, as it was in the bungalow — has helped make staying neat and organized a bit easier. “I had to constantly clean in the bungalow,” rachieleigh commented. “The smaller house made for things to get dirtier faster and also moving certain things from room to room since I had no where to put them. I love [that] I have a spot for everything and I actually clean less now.”
Nonetheless, once the kids are grown, rachieleigh would like to go back to the smaller bungalow home.
I’ll Take an Extra-Large
Many Houzzers said that the median home size for the U.S. was too small for them, whether due to frequent entertaining or simply needing room to stretch out.
2. No Such Thing as Too Big
Who lives here: Rudolph and Mauricia Scott and their two children, ages 18 and 27
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Size: 5,000 square feet (465 square meters) of living space plus a four-car garage
Ideal size: 5,000 square feet (465 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: “The bigger the better,” wrote Rudolph Scott in his comment. Scott has a 5,000-square-foot home for four people, “and that still seems small to me,” he commented. Perhaps because he is one of 10 children, and his siblings often visit, as does wife Mauricia’s large extended family from Bermuda. Scott would also love to have more than the half-acre lot his home is set on. “I wish it was 5,” he commented.
3. Room for Visitors Who Stay for Weeks
Who lives here: Houzz user Jess
Size: 4,000 square feet (372 square meters)
Ideal size: 4,000 square feet (372 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: Houzzer Jess uses this home on 5 acres, which has four bedrooms and four bathrooms spread over 4,000 square feet, to host long-staying guests. Jess lived for a decade just down the road in a three-bedroom, two-bath home less than half the size at just 1,450 square feet. “We loved it, however with both parents living far away we needed to have someplace for relatives to come and stay for long periods,” Jess commented. After living in the house for just four months, Jess has hosted guests for seven full weeks.
4. Room for Five Plus Guests in Tennessee
Who lives here: Maria and Dan Smith and their three children, ages 8, 7 and 4 weeks
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
Size: 4,300 square feet (399 square meters)
Ideal size: 4,300 square feet (399 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: Houzzer Maria Smith, husband Dan and their three children live in a 4,300-square-foot home with four bedrooms, 3½ baths and a large bonus room over the garage. “We love the space we have,” she commented. Her two boys share a room, and her daughter has her own, leaving one room available for guests. The only thing on her wish list? Possibly adding a fourth full bathroom. “But other than that we love our home and it is a perfect size for our lifestyle,” she commented. “Home is where my family is and size is all relative to the area in which you’re living and the phase of life you’re in at that time in your life,” Smith added in an email. “Who knows — maybe one day when it’s just my husband and I we will live in a tiny house!”
I Prefer Small
Many Houzzers wrote that they prefer smaller homes for their cozy feel and their small footprint for cleaning. As commenter flyingtina put it, “I would much prefer a small home footprint that is within the limits of the cord from my canister vac.”
5. One-Story Living on a Vermont Mountainside
Who lives here: Sue and Lonni Leroux
Location: Mendon, Vermont
Size: 1,231 square feet (114 square meters)
Ideal size: 1,231 square feet (114 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: Houzzer Sue Leroux and husband Lonni, who are semiretired, moved from Connecticut to Vermont. “My primary criteria for finding our home was, ‘Could I take care of this place all by myself?’” Sue Leroux commented. The couple found a 1,231-square-foot ski chalet on the side of a mountain near two ski areas. The lot is 2 acres. The home itself is all on one floor, with three bedrooms, one of which the couple uses as an office, another for hosting guests. “The home is so perfect for us — petite but spacious enough for entertaining, easy to clean and maintain, private and cosy,” Leroux commented. “I think we’ll be able to live here for the rest of our lives.”
6. Just a Bungalow
Who lives here: Lani Chisnell and two dogs, Annie and Finn
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Size: 1,000 square feet (93 square meters)
Ideal size: 800 square feet (74 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: Houzzer Lani Chisnell loves living in a 1,000-square-foot 1924 bungalow and says that 500 to 800 square feet also would work with a good layout. “The only thing I would change is to pick it up and put it on some acreage so I could keep goats … and get rid of the basement,” Chisnell commented on our story. “I hate basements — always damp, and stuff just collects down there.”
7. Dreaming of Downsizing
Who lives here: Houzz user kroche30
Size: 2,200 square feet (204 square meters)
Ideal size: 613 square feet (57 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: Houzzer kroche30’s primary residence is a 2,200-square-foot home with four bedrooms and two baths in Rhode Island. It was the perfect size when the kids were at home, kroche30 writes, but now it’s too much space for them. They would like to sell the bigger home and remodel or build a smaller home in Rhode Island, such as their 613-square-foot home in Vermont, pictured here. “We have everything we need in the smaller home, perfectly laid out for maximum space and storage,” kroche30 says. “Having experienced both, downsizing to the smaller home is practical, easy to clean and so fun to live in.”
8. Extra-Small and a Train to Boot
Who lives here: Houzz user caboose1909
Size: 337 square feet (31 square meters)
Ideal size: 337 square feet (31 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: Houzzer caboose1909 lives in a 337-square-foot restored wooden caboose on 5 acres in rural Pennsylvania. “With several windows and all the amenities, it’s the perfect size for me,” caboose1909 commented. “Plus my sons and grandchildren love to visit.”
We Tried Big and Didn’t Like It
A few Houzzers expressed regrets at having moved into a larger home, indicating that the extra space is more work than it’s worth.
9. Maybe Large Isn’t So Great
Who lives here: Desiree Campisi and Rob Roberts
Location: Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania
Size: 2,900 square feet (269 square meters)
Ideal size: 2,300 square feet (214 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: Houzzer Desiree Campisi currently lives in a 2,900-square-foot home with four bedrooms and 2½ baths on 1¼ acres. “I just turned 50,” she commented. “It is a lot of work especially since it was brand new so it came with no landscaping.”
All the space in her new home is making Campisi question her decision to leave this 1,849-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2½-bath townhome on a golf course — which had basic lawn maintenance included. “I thought I wanted more room and privacy,” Campisi commented. “I love my new house, but as they say, ‘Careful what you wish for.’”
10. Who Wants to Mow the Lawn?
Who lives here: Lori Heddinger and Ira Kessler
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Size: 2,200 square feet (204 square meters)
Ideal size: 1,800 to 2,500 square feet (167 to 232 square meters)
Why it’s ideal: Houzzer Lori Heddinger and husband Ira recently moved from a 1,250-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn, New York, to a 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home on 2½ acres in Nashville. Her husband pays someone to mow the lawn. “You can take the boy out of the city, but …” Heddinger wrote in her comment.