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What is the ideal home size?

Erin Carlyle
4 years ago

My Houzz: Dreamy, Organic Style in a Tampa Cottage · More Info

Setting aside all financial considerations, what would be the ideal home size for your household?

501-1,000 square feet
1,001-1,500 square feet
2,001-3,000 square feet

Comments (54)

  • PhotoNinja
    4 years ago

    I own a business which I do from home requiring material/storage, plus other half and I both have hobbies that require space. We have ~1300... could easily double it to accommodate wood shop and studio spaces.

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  • Bhujang Nayak
    4 years ago
    what matters is size of the family,flaunting wealth is the other side of the story.
  • templeofm
    4 years ago

    I totally agree with gezelling, Layout is way more important than the square footage. The last few "new" homes I've lived in had so much wasted space.

  • PRO
    Harkey Tile and Stone and Custom Closets
    4 years ago
    We sold a 4700 sqft. home and built a 2000 sqft. home. Master on one side and three bedrooms on the other. It's open and spacious in the main living areas and walks out to beautiful outdoor living space. Great custom closets for the necessities made this transition a winner.
  • lefurge
    4 years ago

    @templeofm is right on. We tend to throw square footage at our living problems instead of looking for layout and design solutions. My husband and I both work from home in a 1,400 sf home and we survive this because we can go to separate parts of the house. However, even after renovation, the layout is not perfect. I know that we could have the same pleasant living and work environment with 200-300 sf less.

  • Ann Smitt
    4 years ago

    Layout is more important than square footage. We live in a bungalow built in 1950. We raised our 4-children here with only one bathroom. We use chose wisely our paint colors, lighting and size/type of furniture to make the home feel more spacious. Our backyard is what makes our home special. It's an oversized city lot with room to play, garden and have a patio. We don't think of our home as small, it's cozy and has room enough for us to enjoy entertaining family and friends. McMansions and In-Fill Housing are cropping up all over established neighborhoods in our area crowding out 50's, 60's and 70's era bungalows, California ranches, tri-level houses etc. Many builders are even tearing down the older homes and building new and using almost every inch of lot space, even encroaching on the neighbor's property. Not cool. Why do people think they need such a big house for 2 adults and 2 children? 5K square feet is overkill, try to configure your home whatever the size so it works well for everyone don't be a land or property hog.

  • Bil Whitley
    4 years ago

    It might seem like a lot for a single person with 2 cats but a house with an open living room, dining room, semi closed off kitchen (with laundry room and a pantry), 2 bedrooms, a den and 2 and a half baths all under 1500sf would be ideal. I can't stand the idea of a tv in the living room or bed room so I have to have a smallish den for my day to day living where I can be messy and keep the rest of the house clean. AND if it were Eichler inspired with an inner courtyard that connected to all the rooms I'd be in heaven.

  • Sonia Burrows
    4 years ago

    I have to agree with previous comments that layout if much more important than square footage. I'd add that one also needs to look at multi-functional spacesand storage. For storage look to the Europeans as they have been dealing with small spaces for quite some time.

  • dsnine
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I picked the 3000+ option, but be fair, I have six kids who I homeschool and two home businesses (my own fiber arts studio and my husband's engineering and computer consulting). We actually are even planning out bedrooms in a bunkhouse style, as much space saving and built in storage as we can, compact offices and shops, etc, but there is still only so much space one can get out of a home and have it be comfortable.

    We currently live in a small home (about 1400 usable square feet) and it is TIGHT, but we have made it work as much as we can to save money.

    Now in the process of planning to build we are trying to optimize as much as we can without sacrificing utility, especially since our prospective land has a very narrow house bench, but the finished home will still probably be 4000-ish square feet including the garage, mother in law suite, and office space. The game now is seeing where we can maximize utility and storage or cut out square footage to get the most functional, useful, pretty home to suit our family's specific education and business needs. It's fun!

  • picman72
    4 years ago

    I agree that layout is more important than sq. footage. My main complaint w/ larger homes and McMansions is all the wasted space created by cathedral and other high-ceiling configurations. That's space that must be heated and cooled but can't be used for anything else and is awful to clean or replace lighting, etc. Openness schmopenness, give me 8 foot ceilings every time.

  • chloebud
    4 years ago

    We have about 2,300 sq. feet. Probably more than we really need for just the two of us...kids are grown and out. However, we like the house and it works well for us.

  • endbullyingnow
    4 years ago

    Although I love the idea of lots of space, the more space I have the more I have to clean it. Also, the more I have to fill it and maintain it. I'd rather own my things than have my things own me.

  • Delora Dickey
    4 years ago

    We've been quite content with our 1,600 sf, 3 br, 2 ba home. Sometimes I do wish we had 1 more bedroom for guests, but nothing will replace the memories of the grandkids' rollout beds side-by-side in the living room, and the whole family lolling around watching a movie. What we REALLY need is a 4-6 car garage. How I would love to have an organized space for all our fall/winter holiday decor, wet vac, circular saw, pressure washer, file cabinets, edger, lawn mower, tiller, etc. We built a 12' x 14' storage shed, but it's simply not enough. When we retire, the question is not how big the house, but how big is the SHOP?

  • Aine Quinn Hyland
    4 years ago
    it's not what you have its what you do with it. what's the point in having a huge house if you don't share your home with your family and friends. 2500 square feet, well laid out should be enough space for most families.
  • tgeeca
    4 years ago

    We live in just under 2400 sf which is perfect for us. There's room for his pool table in the dining/living area and the kitchen is large enough for a dining table with open space looking into the family room. I also love the high ceilings throughout this one story. We live in a moderate climate so heating and cooling are not much of an issue. We have a beautiful private backyard that I love!

  • teamaltese
    4 years ago
    To me, fewer rooms, with high ceilings, and square footage, are important. I need the feeling of space and volume around me. Our current home is about 2200 sq ft, 3bed, 2 bath, an enclosed lanai, 14 ft cathedral ceilings, lots of windows. This may not work for others. But it works for us, 2 retirees, 2 cats, 1 dog.
  • Patti Groome
    4 years ago
    I'm single and love my 1900 sq ft 1960's 4 level side split. I wanted a guest room, office (work from home a lot), studio, TV room, sunroom and the smallest (3rd) bedroom is a dressing room because old houses have small closets. The previous owners opened up the main floor and modernized the house. With the large lot of an older home and the great location, I'm in heaven. Square footage is only one piece of the pie!
  • PRO
    West Georgia Kitchen & Bath, Inc
    4 years ago
    We have 1573 square feet of living space, 3br, 2 bath, and that's plenty. It's the closet space I need. A simple walk in closet in each of the two hall bedrooms would be fantastic.
  • bcromack
    4 years ago
    Raised 6 kids in 1600sf. Then bought a 5000sf house for retirement. Not enough space to entertain or hide away in 1600sf.
  • Ashley Mobley
    4 years ago
    My husband and I just bought our first house. It's around 1,375 sq ft. We have three kids (13, 8, and 8) and a pup. I really don't mind the space most of the time, although I do miss having an upstairs (it's a ranch with a basement). However, I really wish we had more yard!! Our neighbors are THISCLOSE to us.

    Alas, I'll make due, as we are not planning on moving again until all of the kids are out of high school. I think once we put up a privacy fence and do some landscaping, the backyard won't be so unbearable.
  • suezbell
    4 years ago

    A 3bdr 2bth home w/large open great room, separate laundry room and plenty of large closets -- with porches a must -- would be a practical size.

  • Becky P
    4 years ago
    We just moved this week and it's my ideal 2000 sq ft bungalow with finished basement 3 full bath 5 beds, it's the perfect size for our family of 5 people 4 dogs sits on almost an acre... although envious of those in huge houses I could never keep clean lol
  • kiwifruit08
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I grew up in a 3000+ sq ft home (only child and my parents, so 3 people in that huge space). Even if I had all the money in the world, I would never want a home that big or bigger. Seems like such a waste of space and resourced for an average sized family of one or 2 adults and a couple kids. I'd also rather more acreage to be able to have a food producing garden on than more square footage to fill with consumer goods when we buy an actual house in the future. We recently bought a 980-something sq ft condo after living in small apartments for the past 9 years. For just me and my husband at this point, even this seems rather large.

  • leeepp
    4 years ago

    I've owned a lot of houses over 52 years of marriage, small to med to large and back to small. Currently I live in a 1800 sq ft ranch that I renovated from top to bottom. I find it is easy to live in and maintain. There is no ideal size it depends completely on your wallet, needs and wants. Make your house a Home and size doesn't matter.

  • margaret17
    4 years ago

    Currently two of us living in 1700sq.ft. and bursting at the seams. I agree that a complete redesign of the layout would help, but still wouldn't address all our needs. Now designing a new house that ended up around 6000sq.ft. I didn't set out with such a large square footage in mind, and when I added it up at the end, was really surprised at how big it was. But revision after revision, I can't shave off any space. Every square inch has it's purpose. Extra space comes from 1) more storage, 2) bigger rooms, 3) more rooms.

    1) We are "stuff" people (I know its a sin these days, but we like our stuff and need places to store it). I'm also a neat freak and like everything organized - "a place for everything..." - which isn't possible when you don't have enough storage and end up shoving things in any available nook and cranny. It's disorganized and drives me nuts.

    2) I love being outside, and large rooms with lots of windows blur the lines between indoors and outdoors. Larger rooms also help with entertaining. We have 20+ people in our immediate family, but can't host any holiday events because our dining room seats 6.

    3) I don't need 10 bedrooms and bathrooms, but a dedicated pantry, walk-in closet, actual laundry room (as opposed to my garage), home gym (as opposed to the treadmill in the middle of my family room), and guest bedroom (as opposed to the daybed in my office) would be a dream come true. It all adds up to a lot of square footage.

  • PRO
    K.O.H. Construction Corporation
    4 years ago

    the one that's paid for

  • Stacey Kerr
    4 years ago

    We're in a 1900 square foot Victorian-- 3BR/2.5BA/no garage--with 2 kids, 1 dog, and 3 cats. We really go back and forth about moving to something slightly bigger in our town. I feel like 2400-2600 might be our sweet spot. I imagine cleaning might be a little bit easier in a slightly bigger house with an equivalent amount of stuff. I'd also love to have a fourth bedroom for out of town guests or for my mom to sleep over when she watches our kids. That being said, I keep looking at my oldest, who's in 6th grade, and thinking "wow--she's going to be out of the house in the blink of an eye." If we can hold out, this will be a do-able empty nester house. And, there are so many things we love about it--when we go see other houses, we realize over and over again what we love about our house. And heck, we can always build a garage if we decide to stay!

  • Ms Smith
    4 years ago

    So much depends on the layout. I have a 1200 sq ft home with 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths, all of which are way, WAY too small. Also, it has both a family room and a living room, which means that those rooms are too small as well. I would rather have a single family room next to an open kitchen/dining area and an additional 400 sq ft tacked on to the bedroom/bath section would make it perfect. A yard big enough to provide some privacy and separation from the neighbor's homes is good too. I have .80 acres, half of which is wooded (no yard work) so that's just about perfect.

  • Suzanne
    4 years ago
    Moved from 1800sf to 2700sf and loving it! It is so open with 9ft ceilings and a dog room and mud room! Heavenly! We also lived happily in previous home but to be able to spread out has reduced stress as we both work from home.
  • teei
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    In the last 20 years we've lived in homes of anywhere from 900-4000 square feet. Now that our kids are grown and gone, my husband and I live and work (with a large dog and two cats) in 1,100 square feet. We both work from home—I'm a writer and he's a designer/developer—and each have our own small office in the house. Other than a kitchen that could use an extra 50 sf, the size of the house feels ideal. The house we loved most before this one was also about this size. 1000-1200 sf seems to be our sweet spot.

  • Lawrence Piekos
    4 years ago
    room for grandchildren to visit is a must!
  • shelral
    4 years ago

    I love K.O.H. Construction Corporation's comment. I agree. I love one that is paid for plus easy to maintain. Low maintenance is critical. Time spent at home is not to be obsessively cleaning but enjoying activities and family. Some other things that should be considered are quiet places like a study or sitting room because it is important to meditate or just spend some quiet time.


    I like medium to large rooms in a smaller house. :-) Everything needs to have its space and it should be easy to move things around to clean or redecorate. Then there needs to be storage for old and new times. Things should be easy to store, organize and retrieve. No need to go overboard though. I am single so I am thinking that a 2-3 bath, 3 bedroom with study, laundry room, workout room and outdoor space will be fine. No need to go overboard or be unrealistic. Either extreme is impractical. Whichever home we are in, it is important to enjoy and make memories in.

  • kcomersr
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I agree with all the folks who emphasized layout. Empty-nesters, we just built and moved into a new house in the Napa Valley, downsizing from 3000 sq ft to 2200. The structurally very simple, single story 3bd/2ba house has 9 foot ceilings throughout. Within our 55 x 40 foot rectangle, we created a guest wing and master wing joined by a single common room roughly 55 x 18. This room is divided into 3 functional spaces: Dining, conversation, and media. The modestly sized kitchen is tucked around a corner but is open to the dining area. Open, casual living in an easily maintained space. I wish someone had clued me in on how much it would cost to landscape an acre and a half, however.

  • jjgeorgia
    4 years ago
    To me large spaces not only require more cleaning and maintenance but also require more energy for heating, cooling, and materials manufacturing and transport. Where I live we still rely on natural gas for heat and electricity, so that's more greenhouse gases released and adds to climate change.
  • skillinge
    4 years ago

    It all depends on which stage of life you are in. We lived in a 4000 sf house including the basement when our two kids were growing up. It was FAR TOO BIG. You could not find anyone by shouting! The kids mostly hung out in the kitchen and family room. The sunroom was also a favorite on cold winter days. Bedrooms were merely for sleeping. Everything else was unused. We have lived all over the world and have found that we actually LIVE in 1000 sf. no matter the size of the house. Now retired an extra bedroom for visiting family comes in handy, but even 30 people at a cocktail party will cluster around the kitchen :-)

  • PRO
    Valter and Anna fon Eynik
    4 years ago

    As bigger as better! 3000+, think. We have 4 kids (for now yet), starting homeschooling for eldest, and have to add here a good sized workshop! So, maybe, double this size ))

  • capecodlorrie
    4 years ago

    I've been living in <800 sf for 30 yrs and have purchased a retirement villa with 2100 sf. My husband & I both have a lot of hobbies that were hard to manage in such a small space, and didn't even have a table to eat at. We'll be using the larger of the two spare bedrooms as our hobby room and the other as the guest BR. I HAVE TWO tables too - kitchen and dining room so we can finally have friends over for dinner. No downsizing for me in my retirement!

  • PRO
    Guideline Studios, LLC
    4 years ago

    As long as public and private spaces are designed well, 400 - 500 sq. ft. per person should work for most situations.

  • Janis Brandes
    4 years ago

    All depends, if I continue to live by myself, a nice 2 bedroom, 900 square foot home would be perfect, if I end up living with adult children and grandchildren then something around 2000 square feet might be better

  • ninigret
    4 years ago

    if my husband didnt have a grand piano, and me a 26 room dollhouse (permanently under construction...) and we didnt have 2 married children and a grandson who all come for a week for christmas... and we didnt like to each have our own office, and a first floor good for entertaining, i'm sure my husband and i could fit in a very small house. but we do, so we don't.

    to each their own.

  • imho22
    4 years ago

    Folks, cool it with the judgementalism on house size - everyone has different needs and uses for their house - as nnigrt said, "to each their own". Sure, I'm not crazy about the MacMansions either but I live in a very large house with my husband and dog and we use every inch of the space on a regular basis. We live intense creative lives and need individual studio space, we entertain a lot, and host guests from all over the world. Our 3800 sq. ft. cedar house is passive solar and uses less HVAC energy than our former 1350 sq. ft. stone cottage. Honestly, I could use another 500 sq. feet. for a bigger dining room and more entertainment space. Our house is not ostentatious, just comfortable and interesting and full of light, with room to wander about, read, and think in a quiet setting. The only down side to a larger house is that it takes more money to update - otherwise, it is heaven on earth, and in this case, with a small energy footprint.

  • Virginia Kennedy
    4 years ago
    I've looked at a lot of houses for sale online. It seems to me after 2500sq. ft. the number of rooms become wasted space that go on for ever. Most people hang out in one favorite room. A big house is usually for ego
  • kathrynmerr
    4 years ago

    I lived in a 'standard' 3 beds up, open down, 2 baths, 1,500 square feet and think that's a really nice size--very spacious. Lived in 2,300 square feet Victorian, too much space, too much cleaning (lots of floors!) Then in 1,000 sq' apartment and size was fine. Now in 800 sq' apartment and it may be the ideal size for 2 adults. So easy to clean--the vac cord reaches everywhere and I can dust while talking on the phone.

  • PRO
    Raegan Ford Interior Design
    4 years ago

    2,000 - 3,000 is a good size depending on how many people are in the household!

  • Barbara Wynd
    4 years ago
    We live in 2200 sqf total on 2 levels since there were no smaller houses in this area we love so much. We 'live' on the upper level, the lower one I consider a bonus. I could be totally fine on 1000-1200 sqf with my husband and the two dogs. If I would be by myself 600 sqf would be totally sufficient - with my two dogs....:) I am raised in Europe, so smaller comes natural...:)
  • Aldo Uehara
    4 years ago

    This fit for me. From 500 sqf to 800 sqf per each family member is an excellent ratio. Starting with 800 sqf and going to reduce 100 sqf per one member is a good option too. For instance: 5 members, 800+700+600+500+400=3000Sqf

  • Shelby L
    4 years ago
    I like big spaces. We have family over constantly (we live abroad so people stay for a week or more at a time) and entertain large groups almost every week and large groups of kids a lot too. My husbands daughter visits as well so we have 5-8 or more people staying here normally. Plus in the winter it's too cold to use our outdoor space so the kids need inside play areas. Our place is about 5,300 and we're looking to add another 400 sq feet on! I agree though that making better use of space is essential. If this place were better organized we could definitely be happy with it a bit smaller. The person who built the house made many rooms too big in my opinion... once the kids move out I could see us downsizing quite a bit.
  • Sue
    4 years ago

    If my husband and I had smaller hobbies, such as stamp-collecting and playing golf, we could easily live in a smaller house. However, he is a woodworker and I am a sewer/quilter, we ballroom dance, I love to cook & bake and have friends over for the night or a long weekend, so -- larger it is. Adding to the space problem is inheriting many, many old family items from our Depression-living relatives with few descendants. (I'm decorating the finished part of the basement in "Cracker Barrel".) We downsized 3 years ago from 4400 sq.ft & 4 car garage to 2800 sq ft & a 2-car garage, and we are still trying to fit everything in well.

  • Suzaan Shr
    3 years ago
    mm is ķ m