Living In A Small House: Does Size Matter?

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2012-03-2156

The joys of living in a small home.

For many people I know, a big house to call their own sure sounds like the ultimate dream. Think of all that wonderful space and room and potential to do whatever you want in that space. But there are obvious downsides to having a huge house: number one on the list is the maintenance cost. Granted, you may be able to afford your house and even the ongoing property taxes you need to pay each year — but what a lot of homeowners forget are those pesky maintenance and repair costs that they would be committed to paying, month in and month out. The painful truth is that these costs are proportional to the size of your house, a fact which many would be homeowners don’t realize or simply choose to ignore during a hot real estate market. This is what caught a lot of people unawares during the last real estate downtrend and which may have contributed to many a foreclosure: many homeowners grossly underestimated the expenses involved in maintaining a home.


So it’s refreshing to know that in this age of “bigger is better”, there are people who have decided to reside in smaller spaces than larger homes, even though they had a choice in this regard. Those who insist on such terms are usually folks who live on their own or have really small families — maybe counting themselves, and a couple of goldfish.

Living this way can also be due to pure necessity for some apartment dwellers or mobile home owners. No problem, as there have been some keenly creative ways to counteract the shortcomings of such a set up. Not only that, but HGTV shows that are devoted to small spaces have been the rage.

Believe it or not, these houses are the chosen castles of some intrepid folk. I say this because I look at such a choice as going against the grain in a big way during a time when lifestyles and budgets have increased to accommodate super sized appetites for all things material. Typical size of such a small dwelling: 50 to 750 square feet. Typical price to build: $15,000 – $35,000.

small house 3

Regardless of what makes someone choose to live in tighter quarters, there are benefits to doing so. Some people have shared their personal stories as to what makes them go this route. Let’s review the pluses.

The Benefits Of Living In A Smaller Home

Here are the benefits of owning a more modest house.

#1 It could actually improve your health.

How so? It forces you to want to leave your place more often, which will lead you to be more active. The home simply becomes a functional place for rest and temporary relaxation. The lack of amenities or other conveniences may sound like a disadvantage, but there’s that silver lining: it will force you to change your lifestyle and will encourage you to move more than you would otherwise. A small house encourages you to live a less sedentary lifestyle. Who has time to crib about cramped quarters when there’s a whole lot of the outdoors you can enjoy?

small house 1 small house 2

#2 Some of these houses are mobile.

Many folks with such homes can tow them around at will. Now if they function like an RV, I wonder why such homeowners just don’t own RVs instead?

small house 41

#3 You automatically live more simply.

The simple life has become attractive to many people who have decided to eschew the complexities and burdens of a life revolving around material things. This’ll change you, for sure. With less space to work with, you’ll have to live with less, and in so doing, you become less attached to things. There’s a certain freedom that comes with making a commitment to go down this path. You’ll live a simpler life because you’ll have less room for stuff.

small house 7

#4 It’s cheaper.

One obvious ramification is that a really tiny house will command a much smaller amount to build. There’s a company called the Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. that addresses this unique home building niche. Costs for such houses can range from $15,000 to $30,000, depending on size and amenities provided. And don’t look now but a restroom and functional kitchen are considered amenities in such homes.

Small House Plan
But wait! The real estate crash has caused such a collapse in home prices that standard housing may now be available at unbelievable prices in certain parts of the country. So cheap housing does not necessarily have to mean small or mobile, any longer.

#5 It involves less maintenance and upkeep.

Here are other obvious consequences of having less space: you’ll worry less about your stuff breaking down; you won’t have to work as hard to keep things clean and functional, and you’ll require fewer services to keep things going. Ergo, you’ll cut your housing costs significantly! And you’ll worry less and expend less effort maintaining your home.

small house 6

Just imagine how much you’d save on your home’s upkeep and insurance requirements once you downsize! In some cases, you won’t even need insurance. You can ask yourself: do you really need all that stuff? If the answer is no — and you promise that you won’t hyperventilate if you let go of your video game collection — then maybe you should check out this alternative way of living. For some, living small is living well. You may want to see for yourself just how well it works for this one guy! I found this video of one happy resident who’s managed to squeeze himself comfortably into 96 square feet of space:

From the video:

“Excess is not necessarily a luxury, it’s really a burden — it’s a liability. People are living in 4,000 and 6,000 square foot debtors’ prisons, and they spend 30 years, sometimes more, paying for more stuff and space than they really need.”

96 square feet may be a little extreme, but it shows us that with a little resourcefulness, even living this way is possible!

With all the good news on small homes and simple living, there’s even support for this movement through a community called The Small House Society, “a group that advocates downsizing homes and living in concert with the environment.”

In Conclusion

Of course, this type of lifestyle will suit only a small percentage of intrepid homeowners. And now that home prices have taken a tumble, the real estate market presents us with even more reasonable options. But are there homeowners out there who are ready to buck the trend and who are willing to move into smaller homes? We certainly all want to find the home of our dreams, and for some, that dream house is one you won’t expect!

Does size matter? Would you be willing to live in a small house?

Created June 22, 2007. Updated March 21, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Silicon Valley Blogger June 22, 2007 at 8:10 am

Just a few more thoughts on this matter. As a matter of choice, I’d question the practicality of this lifestyle decision if it so happens to involve children, though I have a secret I’ll share with you. We have some relatives who *really* take the life of simplicity ULTRA seriously. They live in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand somewhere, 2 days walk from town through dense forest. They reside in a tiny cottage where the recommended mode of transport is a small plane (due to access conditions). Like the people featured in some of the homes pictured here, they have no running electricity and even water. They rely on a babbling river for all their requirements and they get supplies every so often by flying out to that nearest town. They are true survivalists (and I still don’t know how we could possible be related to them as we are complete wimps at this sort of thing) and the most stunning fact of all — they have two young children they are raising in this mold. So yes, I suppose this type of living can be undertaken by ANYONE.

Andrew Flusche June 22, 2007 at 8:23 am

This is an inspiring post. I have always wanted to get a tiny house like these. I don’t think I could do it full-time, but it would be a great little getaway house. It would definitely make having a vacation home more affordable, since there’s less to build & maintain.

60 in 3 June 22, 2007 at 8:56 am

I’m not quite sure if I would go as far as a 10′ by 10′ box, but we just decided to move out of a bigger home and into a smaller apartment. It’s easier, cheaper to maintain and closer to all the things we like. I love being able to walk out of my house and straight into one of my favorite restaurants.

By the way, this article makes it seem like smaller living is all about being rural and living in the wilderness, but smaller living can also mean getting away from suburban mcmansions and moving into a smaller urban home.

Gal

Alex June 22, 2007 at 9:47 am

This really is inspiring stuff. A bit like living in a ‘permanent’ tent. I don’t think many people could downsize this far, but reading about these homes really does make you wonder about the crazy way we get ourselves into huge debt to afford the vast homes we think are our right and an absolute necessity. Here in the UK, where interest rates are on the rise again, many young people are taking on mortgages of five and six times their annual salaries over terms of anything from 25 to 40 years. Do we really need to spend so much on our homes? This article shows the answer is a very definite ‘no’!

Silicon Valley Blogger June 22, 2007 at 9:54 am

Smaller is not necessarily less. I find that everything has its place and time. When you are growing a family, it may be wise to have a bit more space to move about, but as we grow older and the kids fly the coop, it totally makes sense to go smaller. I think that smaller homes are great when living single, or with small families. I can see it getting hairy when the family gets larger though.

It doesn’t make too much sense to have a huge mansion with only two people rattling inside of it, even if you have the money to live in it. In that sense, that’s just ego talking, or a display of status. But then again, some wealthy people fill up such a home with live-in housekeepers, household managers, groundskeepers and stuff. Where have I seen this now? Maybe I’ve been watching too many Poirot movies lately ;).

Lazy Man and Money June 22, 2007 at 11:46 am

That’s really an interesting idea. I wouldn’t mind having a couple of these scattered around in some good vacation places. They could be quite good getaways. But then why not just by a condo or something instead.

Moneymonk June 22, 2007 at 12:16 pm

Those spaces are fine as long as it’s one person that live there. Once you have a family or have relatives living with you, you can forget it.

We all want the house that is equilivant to what we grew up in, if not bigger. Because that is what we are used of. Those houses featured is waaaaaay to small

A Tentative Personal Finance Blog June 22, 2007 at 4:26 pm

I’m not sure I could live in a place smaller than 1000 square feet. That’s the size of my apartment and I already feel cramped with my wife. Then again, it might just be a sign of poor thinking and getting brainwashed that bigger is always better.

Dr T June 22, 2007 at 7:51 pm

2 years ago I downsized from a one bedroom apt to a studio and loved it. It helped me get rid of things that I had accumulated but didn’t use. 6 months ago when I got married instead of moving into a bigger place my wife moved in and we downsized again. Now we can talk even when I am in the kitchen and she is in the den. Not to mention it saves us about $600/month.

J at IHB and HFF June 25, 2007 at 6:58 am

At least when people say that they would not “want” to live in these smallest houses, it acknowledges that size is a choice and most “unaffordable housing” arguments are actually about discretionary consumption, not necessities.

Bloggrrl June 25, 2007 at 8:08 pm

I have thought about putting a storage building on my land in Taos and making it my vacation home, lol. Seriously. I like the article. I’ll have to link to it on my Cheap Houses blog.

Alex B. June 26, 2007 at 11:43 pm

I love this article. The pictures are fantastic.

I represent one of those “single people” mentioned in the post, (I do have a dog, but no goldfish) and I am a big supporter of downsizing. I live in San Francisco, and couple years ago I moved from a 900 sq ft. condo to a 300 sq. ft studio apartment, with no regrets whatsover. But even that was unnecessary, and so now I keep a room in the warehouse of my family’s business, while spending several nights a week with friends or family, in their nice big houses. And still no regrets!

Silicon Valley Blogger June 26, 2007 at 11:57 pm

Mr. Alex B, you sound like you’ve got the best of all worlds… :D Thanks to everyone for the compliments and for sharing your thoughts!

Her Every Cent Counts June 27, 2007 at 9:49 am

When I was younger, I was raised to think that the ultimate sign of success was ownership of a huge house. Then I got older, and realized the bigger the house (or apartment) the more space to decorate (pricey) and clean (just annoying). Unless I’m rich enough to afford an on-site maid (and I’ll never be) I think I’d prefer a smaller place. I’d rather own a decent amount of land with a smaller house. Not as small as the ones pictured, but I’m perfectly happy with my current studio arrangement. I could actually afford to rent a one bedroom now (just barely) but I like not having to deal with two rooms. And I can’t even imagine how much utilities would cost me in a larger house.

Amy July 5, 2007 at 2:21 pm

My husband and I have been going back and forth on if we should move or not. As the person who is in charge of the cleaning and a lot of the maintenance of our home, I am in favor of smaller spaces. I have a hard time keeping up with what we already have so why would I want more to take care of? Great post!

Marty Van Diest July 7, 2007 at 11:17 pm

Stopped by to read your post from the carnival of Real Estate.

I am a fan of small houses. I don’t live in one now but have in the past. So I can say for sure, smaller is better.

Daniel Bates July 9, 2007 at 9:15 am

My wife and I just had a baby and are getting ready to move into a 765 sq.ft. home that I designed….It does have a large screened porched and deck on the back….Wish us luck!

Daniel Bates July 9, 2007 at 9:19 am

PS – price to build was $130,000 (not $15,000 as the article suggests) but I’m on the coast in hurricane country where things have to be build strong and elevated off the ground. It also has a vaulted ceiling in the living room and 9 foot ceiling throughout, so it’s not quite as small feeling

N'Awlins Kat July 9, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Yowch, Daniel….I know construction costs have increased for us Gulf Coasters (reason I’ve put off building for now), but yowie….that’s a LOT! I’d be living on the screen porch a lot….especially in cool weather. Sleeping porches rock!

These houses are adorable, but I’m not sure I’m ready to be trapped in 400 s/f with my husband, daughter and pets. A couple of them, though, looked like primo guest cottages, or a writer’s retreat for me. Whooeee….a space to escape to! Even my husband was nodding and saying yeah, that looked good (possibly, he’s tired of me whining about the parade of people/pets each time I sit down at the computer).

I lived for years in 230 s/f in New Orleans (no heat, no a/c, no oven (which the last tenant used for heat)–my place was so small, when I opened the sofa bed at night, I couldn’t open the French doors opposite it more than halfway, and the sofa bed was a nearly wall-to-wall piece of furniture. Four gallon hot water tank….morning showers in the winter were hellish; it was 42 degrees in my living room one morning, and the porcelain shower tiles were REALLY cold…was almost afraid I’d stick to them. Shower was so small I felt I ought to grease my hips before hopping in….just in case. But despite its shortfalls (like blowing every (expensive!) glass fuse every time I plugged in my blowdryer and tv at the same time, I loved living there. Wasn’t sorry to upgrade to the next size apartment…an additional 150 s/f, though. At $250 a month, there wasn’t much room to complain, and it was all mine. So yeah, I think I could manage quite well in 400 s/f–if I could just bring myself to part with my book collection. :)

Seriously, the larger ones are definitely what should have been built here along the Gulf Coast for temp housing, instead of these ridiculous FEMA trailers outgassing Lord knows what in the way of chemicals. Everyone I know who’s living in one is sick….and the things are made of tissue paper and tin foil. At the $70 grand a crack or so that the govt has shelled out for basically disposable housing, these things would have been a much better option. And permanent. My sister’s trailer allegedly sleeps seven…if they’re pygmies. One bed is 4.5 feet long, and two bunks are rated to hold only 100 pounds each. HUH?? Too bad the govt. didn’t see this before they shelled out untold millions on the trailers!

Silicon Valley Blogger July 9, 2007 at 9:44 pm

@N’Awlins Kat
Those are incredible stories you have. I still cannot believe how great the fallout has been from the hurricanes over there. I got a kick out of reading about your “small house” experiences. Right now, my sister lives in a fairly good sized home (around 2,400 square feet) but they’re hosting a visiting family plus long term guests all the time so they’ve been putting up 12 – 14 people in their house since December of last year. Something like that would give a normal sized house the illusion of being quite small! It’s a riot every time I visit them.

@Daniel
Good luck with your move, let us know how it goes!

@Everyone
I’m glad to know how everyone digs the small homes. I especially appreciate the comments from people who’ve lived in larger places before! There’s something to be said about having cozy digs…

N'Awlins Kat July 10, 2007 at 12:46 pm

SVB–OMG…12-14 people? We did that LAST year! Arrrgh. Never again, please God. My house is 1650 s/f now….and we only added our best friends and their three teenagers for 10 months. And I don’t care HOW much you love someone….the old “three days for fish and guests” is true.

Tell your sis I soooo feel for her. My washer and dryer never stopped running, and for a time, we had five laptop computers and my husband’s desktop all running in the living room and kitchen. My husband was working from home for a while, their three boys were home schooled, and their mom was in college, with all her classes transfered to online, and my daughter’s school was platooning with another Catholic school, so she left at 6am and got off at noon. Our friends usually slept at a relative’s house, but they were here from about 7 am to midnight, every day. I don’t know how people with large families do it; some of our friends had 15 and 20 people in their houses for months. We are very spoiled.

Yes, life here changed a lot two years ago, and I don’t think it’ll ever be back to the way it was, but it’s amazing the adjustments you can make when you have to. We were evacuated for three weeks to Maryland, the ones last to return on our block. When we arrived home, our neighbors were waiting for us to help empty our SUV, my deep freeze and fridge had been cleaned out before they were ruined, and the following night our block had a block party. The electricity was spotty, the debris piles 10 feet high at the curbs, and no streetlights or anything, but we hauled out generators and portable spotlights, gas grills and ice chests and had a whale of a party. And that’s why a lot of us don’t want to leave. :)

Amy K July 11, 2007 at 11:28 am

Thinking of N’Awlins Kat and the FEMA trailers

Lowes Katrina Cottages

Never teh Bride July 19, 2007 at 12:23 pm

*sigh*

I wanted a teeny tiny house, but my husband simply would not go for it. He’s frugal in other ways, so it’s not as if this was another point of contention. But it would have been so fabulous to get ourselves an ittybitty house.

m September 23, 2007 at 2:40 pm

I love living in a small space. However, I am claustrophobic and the photo of that man laying and reading in that little area made me cringe. I would love to pay less and buy a small home, but not that small. I find that I can be happy in a much smaller home than what the average American seems to require however it is rare to see really small single family homes and I really would prefer that to an apartment for various reasons. I’d love to learn more about purchasing a small home that isn’t quite as small as the ones above.

Tezza December 2, 2007 at 10:48 pm

The location of these houses look amazing, imagine waking up to that every morning. If i had to choose between a big house or a small one with views like the above i think ill happily go with the view. You can always upgrade again once you have a family.

John July 7, 2008 at 2:12 pm

It doesn’t matter actually to me the size of my house (although I admit I don’t want a very small one). What’s important is the people I will live with in that house. I should be comfortable with them and I am free to just do everything or nothing at all.

watch house online January 3, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I must say that the last picture is the coolest I’ve ever seen. Truthfully they will probably make me feel really cramped but the idea is cool =)

Manshu January 31, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I have always lived in apartments so I feel comfortable in small houses. But relatives and friends who do live out in the country in huge houses swear that they would never move in to smaller houses if they can help it.

George June 1, 2009 at 9:00 am

If you want to decorate on a budget, furniture retailers have outlet stores where you can usually find good bargains.

JoeJoh September 12, 2009 at 9:06 am

You have got to check out this gorgeous 330 sq ft bungalow.
welovesmall.com

Jason December 7, 2009 at 9:51 am

Interesting idea! I can imagine if you couldn’t surround yourself with material things, you wouldn’t get so attached to objects because they simply wouldn’t be there. Although I don’t think I’d like not being able to walk around the house (it doesn’t seem possible with these small examples!) Maybe just for short stays, like apartments.

John DeFlumeri Jr December 31, 2009 at 8:10 am

Reminds me of the way space is utilized on a boat, very wisely!

John DeFlumeri Jr

Jason Hommel December 31, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Yes, it can be done! It’s just a matter of being efficient with the space. It’s being done everyday in cities like New York. Another disadvantage of living in a big house is you don’t really feel close with your family. Sometimes, there will be some days when you don’t see a family member at all.

Investor Junkie January 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

This is the green and living frugal movements to the extreme! That’s not living in a house that’s living in a trailer.

I DO agree with the idea people are living in too big of a house. Do you really need a 6000 sq ft for a house? No. But a 96 sq ft? Come on! It comes a point where all the effort you have to do in order to live that amount of space becomes downright dumb. If you value your time more, you would at least live in a 500-1000 sq ft house. Especially if you have kids! Even the guy when he got married decided to build a 500 sq ft house. Hope he doesn’t have a second child! Children are the usual primary factor in why you need a bigger house. I certainly was more than happy with my 1100 sq ft condo it was enough space for me and at the time a roommate. I would have kept that condo and not upgrade Now married with 2 children and 1 more on the way? A 1100 sq ft might be possible, but why would anyone want the children’s stuff in that small of a condo?

Silicon Valley Blogger January 1, 2010 at 10:21 am

As I said, 96 square feet is extreme… but someone’s living this way! I agree that if you have kids, then you have to be practical — it doesn’t make sense to subject your entire family to the inconveniences of a tiny home, if you can afford to scale up. I simply wanted to discuss this video as “a point to ponder”. I personally live in what is considered a medium to large sized house because I have a fairly large household of 5 people (with guests living with us often throughout the year); and I do appreciate all the space it affords. But if push comes to shove, I wouldn’t think twice to downsize. :) There’s something about the freedom of not having to be a slave to your house (although I do enjoy the amenities of a larger home).

Cambridge Homes January 1, 2010 at 2:05 pm

While I’ve ended up in a four bedroom house – needed a place for all my stuff – when I think back one of my favorite places I’ve lived was a room in a house I shared with a bunch of roommates. It was just like a ship – with everything I needed – desk, bookcases, entertainment center and bed. I loved it so the tiny house movement makes a lot of sense to me.

It would be great if America went back to building more modest houses. The cost of land can make it difficult but changes in zoning laws to allow smaller houses to be clustered on a not-so-big lot could help.

Liz

April B January 3, 2010 at 11:13 am

Thanks for the video! Quality over quantity is a great motto that can be applied to a lot of other things as well. As far as large houses go, don’t forget all the effort it takes to clean them – especially when there are kids involved!

Jeevan from Agents January 25, 2010 at 10:14 am

Universities and Colleges should invest and get students residences like these. This will reduce the debt by a huge amount.

Monevator March 5, 2011 at 2:44 am

Hah, your floorplans there could be first-time buyer’s flat here in Central London (UK).

Think at least £200,000, perhaps more with the external space (so $300,000!)

I should move. :)

krantcents March 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I downsized about fourteen years ago, when our kids finished college. We went from a 2600 sq. ft. house to 1850 sq. ft. townhouse. I know, not exactly small, but certainly smaller. Enough room for two and occasional guests.

Silicon Valley Blogger March 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm

There’s a need for balance between space and population density. A house too small would be trouble for a big family — the clutter and the lack of privacy would drive me nuts! Now a house that’s too big can be creepy — imagine walking the halls of your home and it echoes. Unlit chambers and rooms in a large house give me the heebie jeebies!

Shari March 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm

These houses are very small a little bit too small for me, but they would be good to have when relatives or friends come to visit. Also would be good if you wanted to get away from your family and spend a little alone time. The one where the young man is reading is too small, just looking at the picture just makes me want to scream “get me out of here.” It would be nice to build one house of each child and one for the husband and then keep the house to myself.

Pallet Inverter Crazy March 10, 2011 at 8:21 am

I think we can pretty much adapt. I’ve lived in a big house, a shared house, a flat and now on my own in a little terrace house and I’m perfectly happy. However that maybe because my parents have quite a bit of space at theirs, so perhaps knowing I can escape there allows me to live happily? Which means I’ve just contradicted myself….!

Pv Brokers March 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I think that this trend is definitely gaining traction. The move mostly stems from the drop in home prices and people downsizing due to budget constraints.

I am a Palos Verdes real estate broker and have found that the baby-boomer generation may be the biggest influence on this trend. They are looking for manageable properties with low maintenance.

Thanks for the post. Interesting topic.

rj March 30, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I bought a foreclosure 2 years ago and it was the best investment i’ve ever made. Home prices haven’t even fully recovered yet, but i could sell today for 100k more than i bought it. Its a small house in a good neighborhood and i have no plans on moving for a while.

Its in community so i personally don’t have much in the way of maintenance, but i do have to pay a nice sized amount in HOA dues every month.

Bart Cleveland March 31, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Ok. I get it. I would love to live in a smaller space at times as it would be much less hassle. However, there is something to be said for having living space. I do like the guy in the photo with a 200 square foot pad in the middle of a glorious setting ! Must be nice having no job and all ! Wish I could pull that off. Jealous.

jake August 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I totally agree with downsizing even in Australia.

Americans especially seem to have an obsession with huge houses. Families in other countries such as Australia live ‘luxurious’ lifestyles in 600 sq. ft. houses. Its strange because Australians have very similar standards of living to Americans so its not like they can’t afford big houses. Maybe Australians emphasise quality over size? The funny thing is that Americans always know how big their houses are “2423 sq. ft.” where as Australians usually don’t have a clue whether their house is 150 square metres or 300 square metres.

Building Materials October 19, 2011 at 8:41 am

A great collection of tiny houses. To people in Japan this will be nothing new. But I did see a place in Monaco of a similar size that sold for £1000,000. Now you must really want to live there to pay that for such a small dwelling.

Luigi Lucas November 23, 2011 at 4:15 am

That’s cool. I read an article that bamboo floors are now in, but we’re talking lofts of meters over here.

Jason Shepard December 7, 2011 at 9:34 pm

My wife and I are working on downsizing into a small property. Our current 1400-square-foot home is an inefficient monstrosity that makes me sick to think I live in it. We’re going to be building a 797-square-foot home made with reclaimed barn wood floors, reclaimed pallet plank walls, and sawdust insulation. This small home will feature a master suite on the main floor and two additional bedrooms in separate lofts.

The biggest thing that I see Americans unable to deal with isn’t the overall size of the home, but the size of an individual room. It is amazing that people think they need more than 110 square feet for a bedroom. 9×12 will fit a queen-sized bed with end tables on both sides of it and several feet of room at the foot of the bed as well – plenty of room. All we do is sleep there, so my wife and I have never understood the need for massive bedrooms. The same goes for bathrooms. How much room does one need to…um…dispose of waste? Our bathroom now is 5×8 and it’s plenty big to do what needs done, so our future home will have the same size. If we could get over the individual room sizes, home sizes would shrink rapidly. Just by adjusting room sizes is how we got our current 1400 square feet down to 800 square feet for the new home – we didn’t lose a single room and actually gained an office that we don’t currently have.

There are a listing of great Tiny, Small and Mid-size home plan sites found on this page (some of which are the same as here).

Great article! I love to see more and more people reporting on the small housing trend :) .

-Jason

David Barbosa February 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm

It is amazing how some people live. I do think this could be good for some people. I have always wanted a very big house at 5,000 sq ft. plus. But over the years I have discovered that a smaller house is a smarter way to go. maybe not as small as these houses but at least 2000 sq. ft., which in my area is small. I do love this post.

ChristianPF March 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Wow. And I thought 800 square feet (our condo) was small! This is very inspiring to live with less. I love how much money living in a small mobile house would save. Fun stuff!

Silicon Valley Blogger March 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Hi Bob!
I used to also think that “bigger is better”, until a friend of mine reminded me that “your biggest non-income producing item that also costs you the most is your principal residence.” For some reason, that stuck with me and now, the idea of having a smaller place whilst applying what you save towards more “income producing” elements seems like an alluring (and not to mention smarter) idea! :)

Of course, if you have the money, then you can always decide where you’d prefer to put it.

Silicon Valley Blogger March 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I like playing around with some ideas as well — such as using hard numbers to spell out some basic home ownership requirements. If you’re deciding on how much space to live in, one way to think about it is to parse it down to square feet per person. Since the average sized house in the U.S. is around 2,150 square feet, and the average sized family contains 4 members, then you may say that on average, 537 square feet per person would be a comfortable amount of space. The question here is, can you go lower? Will you be happy with 250 square feet per person in your household? When you’ve got kids, it may also complicate things a little.

Anyway, you can then take those numbers and look into how much price per square foot happens to be in areas you want to reside in. If it’s $150 per square foot, then each member of your household would cost you $80,550 for that 537 sq foot space. I thought this was an interesting exercise to go through to calculate how much space your family would require (and how much it could initially cost).

Taline March 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Great article! I have a little toddler so this would not work for my husband and me. I do generally agree that smaller is better but not to that extreme! :)

Pierre April 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Obviously smaller is better if an individual is unable to look at the real numbers of home ownership. However I decided to contract my own home which provided us with a larger home for substantially less money, and as well, pay particular attention to the insulation and vapor barrier reducing out heating and cooling costs substantially. Contracting your own home is an alternative for some of you. Interesting topic of discussion.

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