There’s no denying that the average American wants plenty of space. And it shows: Today’s homes are 61 percent bigger than homes that were built just 40 years ago. In 2016, the median size of a new single-family home in the U.S. was 2,467 square feet—the largest on record.
Clearly, many people are drawn to larger homes, but bigger isn’t always necessarily better. A larger home means higher heating and cooling costs, and more square footage to furnish and clean. On the other hand, having some extra space can be ideal for entertaining, for ensuring privacy, and for accommodating growing families.
It seems the trick is to set aside the mantra of “bigger is always better” and, instead, consider what is best for your family and your future. By thinking through some of your specific needs, you’ll be in good shape to identify exactly how much home you need.
The Ideal Square Footage
While the average U.S. home is just under 2,500 square feet, plenty of people need far less or far more than that. As you start to plan for your family’s next home, be sure to ask yourself the following questions to determine how much home you really need:
What do we truly love to do in our home?
Think about your day-to-day life in your home. Then, consider the functionality of your current home and how you would tweak it if you could to better accommodate your lifestyle and hobbies. Do you and your spouse enjoy throwing parties and hosting holiday gatherings? Or do you prefer smaller groups for game and movie nights? Do you have hobbies that might require a little extra space, such as restoring old cars or brewing craft beer? Keeping these factors in mind can help guide you toward a larger home or to a functional, smaller floorplan.
Is our family going to grow in the next five to ten years?
Your ideal home will probably be a lot different depending on whether your children are a bit older or if you plan on having more kids. Families that are more well established, with teenagers or grown children, may consider incorporating features like private bathrooms and additional living areas. Meanwhile, those who think their family might grow should plan for extra bedrooms, plenty of play space, or a nursery.
Is there a telecommuter in the family?
As the number of U.S. work-from-home jobs continues to grow, more homeowners are needing to plan around a home office. If your household includes (or will include) a telecommuter, think about where he or she will work. In your next home, you might want to incorporate an extra bedroom, a den, or a study to ensure there’s dedicated space for the workday.
Is there a chance our relatives might need to move in?
Multigenerational homes are becoming increasingly common, as a growing number of homeowners invite elderly parents or grown children to stay for an extended period of time. If your family might embrace multigenerational living in the coming years, be sure to plan ahead by seeking out a floor plan that offers plenty of space and privacy, such as one with dual master suites.
Is now a good time to downsize?
For some homeowners, their next home may actually be the ideal opportunity to embrace a smaller floor plan. This is often an attractive choice for empty-nesters and retirees who don’t need as much space and are ready to enjoy less upkeep and cleaning. Or, you might simply want to maximize your outdoor space by opting for a smaller home that better suits how you live.
Finding the Right-Sized Home
Once you’ve identified your ideal home size, the next step is making it a reality. Unfortunately, many home buyers find that shopping for pre-built homes means choosing from a limited inventory of houses. That’s how many homeowners end up in a home that is either much smaller or much bigger than they ever planned.
One of the best ways to ensure you find the right-sized home for you is to build a custom home. By going the custom route, you can select a customizable floor plan that fits your family, your lifestyle and hobbies, and the future, whether it’s 1,100 square feet or 3,500.
Ready to find the right-sized home for you? View our floor plans to see which home would work best.