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size of home for happy family - Page 3

post #41 of 85
ITA that it depends on the layout of the house. I have no idea what our sq ftg is, so I have no frame of reference here. I do not think of our house as huge, but the rooms do not feel cramped when we have a lot of people over & we do have 4 bedrooms (2 large, 1 normal, 1 tiny) & one v small bathroom. We have lots of storage including a giant basement & nice attic. Our house is older, too, not new. The layout of our house is great, though, & feels v spacious. I'll have to ask dh about sq ft tomorrow. We are planning on having more than 2 kids & knew this before we bought the house. When we looked at it, we felt that it would meet our needs just fine.

Dh's aunt and uncle's house is not that big & they have five kids. It never feels cramped, just full. They also only have one bathroom & have made it work all these years. I used to babysit for a friend before her family moved & there was no way at all that it felt comfortable w/ 4 little kids (one of whom was a baby). The layout left no room in the rooms for a fourth child w/ a bouncy seat or anything. It was def a 2 kid house & that's it (she had 2 & 2 were mine)!
post #42 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landover View Post
.............

Honestly, it is more about how you live life versus the size of your home. You can have a close knit family in a larger home and you can have a disjointed family in a tiny home.

If YOU are happy then go for it!

Very well said!!!


I think layout matters more than size. We were in 2500 sq ft with an ok layout but NO storage and no place for play. And the family room area was so completely separate from the rest of the house that DS never wanted to play there, not that there was much room to do so. And it was too noisy in the bedrooms if people were up late.

But at my mom's house, which is maybe 1500 - the layout is different and it works so much better for him. He'll play in the family room alone which is somewhat separate but still connected.

We're in about 6000 now and the layout makes it work - and the storage! Oh the storage in this house is fabulous. Having a place to put everything takes away a LOT of stress and disorganization.
post #43 of 85
We have 2 kids (7 and 4) in about 800 sq. ft. The boys share the bigger room, with bunk beds and enough room to play. We have a very small bedroom (it fits our king sized bed but our dresser is in the living room). My husband has a small office, we have an eat-in kitchen, a decent-sized living room, and a tiny bathroom with no tub. I think our house is a fine size for us, and will be until our third (due this summer) is 2-3 and moves out of our bed.
post #44 of 85
We are a family of 4 in a 1700 sq ft, 3 bed 2 bath house. It feels just right, and I think a lot of it is due to the open layout. We are in the kitchen, playroom, or living room 90% of our waking hours, and this area of the house is about half our square footage, so it never feels cramped. Also, we have a big yard and a nice big porch to play on, so that all helps too.

Our previous house was 1700 sq ft also, and it felt cramped with just DH and I, but this was due to the poor layout, wasted space, lack of storage issue.
post #45 of 85
We are currently four, (5 in August) in a house that is 900 sq ft on the main floor and the same in the basement (bedroom, craft room, workshop, laundry, rec room, eventually a 2nd bathroom). It's likely that we'll have 4 kids. I'd hate to live in anything bigger.

With the 2 we have now we spend 95% of our time on the main floor. I imagine when they are older, the extra space downstairs will be nice to have, especially in the long winters we have here.

If I could afford to have a house built with a better floor plan we could scale it down to 1200-1400 sq ft easily (for 6 people).

Our house was a fixer upper and we've reno'd each room to fit our needs and to utilize the space better.
post #46 of 85
We've been house hunting recently, and I've been blown away by how much layout makes a difference. The place we bid on is about 1700 feet and feels nice and roomy, but we saw some places that size that felt positively claustrophobic, and some 1500 square foot places that felt spacious. I think it just really depends.

We're in an 1100 square foot place now, which felt fine when we only had one kid, but feels a little squashed now that we have two (hence the house hunting!)
post #47 of 85
Our house is about 150 sq. m (1600 sq. ft.) on a 900 sq m (9600 sq. ft) block. It's a bit bigger than average for our neighbourhood. For a while there we wanted to move to a bigger place as the kids got older, but now I think we are happy to stay in a house this size. I certainly don't want to clean a bigger house, and we already have a second toilet, plus the kids already each have their own bedroom.... really, they are not going to be living at home that much longer so we might as well stay where we are.

And i do love the area, it is so close to everything & it's on a busline. I would like to install a pool, an outdoor shower, & a carport that will hold a climbing wall- then our place would be perfect for me. Also our house is over 100 years old so it really does need a roof re-seal (the roof is not that old!), & the outside needs to be painted... then it really will be perfect.... I promise!
post #48 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teenytoona View Post
I think it has less to do with house size than just the environment. I actually think shared space serves a family better than everyone having their own room. If everyone has their own space, you run the risk of people going into their own private space and effectively detaching from the rest of the family. With more shated space, you interact with each other more and learn to be more co-operative.
I don't think this is necessarily true. I think that largely depends on the family dynamics. We have a 2700 sq ft home on almost 5 acres, and love it. It currently has 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths and 2 half baths. We are about to build a wall and make our art/computer area into a bedroom for our youngest. We all have our own space, but honestly, we spend more time together than anything. No one is off in their own rooms watching tvs or on the internet, except my 21 yo dd, or occasionally my 2nd oldest dd if she needs quiet to do her classes online. And when the oldest is on the internet in her room she's just listening to music while she knits, or researching plants. Sometimes the 3 yo tries to undo her knitting, lol. It is nice for the kids to have their own rooms for when their friends come over. They are at the ages where they are starting to really want to hang out w/friends of their own sex.

We have ultra hot and long summers here. (we get cabin fever from it, just like people who live where there are long winters) The kids can run and play all the way thru the house and have plenty of room to do so. When they aren't doing that, we're usually in the kitchen or den (really like one huge room), doing school stuff, or cooking, or playing games together, or doing art projects at the table.
post #49 of 85
We are a family of 6 in a house that is under 1000sqft. I really don't feel the need for MORE space, just LESS stuff. My kids are 2, 4, 6, and 8. We have 3 bdrms and 1 bathroom. It works well for us and we are a tight knit family because of our small space

I find our small home does colour the way we live. We are careful with what we bring into the house, we need to be creative with how we arrange our stuff, and we need to find solutions to the problems that come up (like siblings in each others stuff or whatever). These things are definitely PLUSES for small home living, we have great incentive to live simply and work together!

I also refuse to sacrifice our small mortgage as it gives us the freedom to do things we wouldn't otherwise be able to do. We can put the money we would have spent on a higher mortgage for a bigger home on things for the family to enjoy or on travel. We don't have a high debt load and I can stay home with the kids and homeschool without financial hardship. AND, our mortgage will be paid off in it's entirety early leaving that much more for retirement and travel when the kids are still in their teens.

Each family will have different needs and priorities, only you can decide which path will bring the most happiness to your family. That space sounds perfectly workable for a family your size if you choose to stay long term!
post #50 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
We are a family of 6 in a house that is under 1000sqft. I really don't feel the need for MORE space, just LESS stuff. My kids are 2, 4, 6, and 8. We have 3 bdrms and 1 bathroom. It works well for us and we are a tight knit family because of our small space

I find our small home does colour the way we live. We are careful with what we bring into the house, we need to be creative with how we arrange our stuff, and we need to find solutions to the problems that come up (like siblings in each others stuff or whatever). These things are definitely PLUSES for small home living, we have great incentive to live simply and work together!
I think like the PP said, this depends a great deal on family dynamics. I think where gentle discipline is practiced, anger management and problem resolution skills are modeled, and boundaries are respected, that a small space truly can work out.

My family of origin was not at all like that, and the six-eight of us really could have used more space.
post #51 of 85
I'm rather surprised by all the responses that imply that a small house is more conducive to fostering a close knit family. I've always felt that when people truely enjoy being together and put a priority on spending time together doing things as a family, the size of the house is irrelevant.

We have what many people would consider to be a large house (4,200 sq. ft living area) and yet we chose to spend most of our time together because we enjoy the togetherness. Just because my kids each have their own rooms doesn't mean they spend all their time there by themselves.

A large house doesn't have to be isolating or cold. There are certainly ways to make it homey and inviting.
post #52 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama1803 View Post
I'm rather surprised by all the responses that imply that a small house is more conducive to fostering a close knit family. I've always felt that when people truely enjoy being together and put a priority on spending time together doing things as a family, the size of the house is irrelevant.

We have what many people would consider to be a large house (4,200 sq. ft living area) and yet we chose to spend most of our time together because we enjoy the togetherness. Just because my kids each have their own rooms doesn't mean they spend all their time there by themselves.

A large house doesn't have to be isolating or cold. There are certainly ways to make it homey and inviting.
ITA w/this post. Just like we have almost 5 acres, and guess what? When we are outside, we are almost always together, taking care of livestock chores, petting our goats, swinging, swimming, gardening, or hanging out around the campfire. Heck, even on butcher days we are all together, doing our part as a family to put meat in our freezer.

I do see how having a smaller space would make you more mindful of what you are purchasing/bringing into the house. When we moved into this house (twice the size of our previous home) we thought we'd never fill it up and now I find myself purging and donating at least once yearly. Trying to get better about that.

I also see how having a smaller house helps to reduce the carbon footprint. Since we opted for a larger house, we just decided to work on our footprint in other ways.
post #53 of 85
Yeah, see, there are times when I wish the kids would go play elsewhere in the house (mainly separate from one another), and it is super rare that they all sleep in their own bedrooms - they either want to be w/DH and I, or they sleep in each other's rooms. My DD will be 9 next month, and I thought maybe she'd be ready for more privacy/alone time, but nope, she is always asking one of her 3 younger bros to sleep in her room.

In contrast, when we were living in a small apartment there were times when we drove each other nutty and there simply wasn't any where to go to get a break.

I guess I don't personally see how a smaller home = closer knit, and a larger one = more isolation. Having lived in both extremes, I don't see myself ever choosing to go back to a small space with a large family. So, for me, the size of our home does impact happiness, though it is just one variable.
post #54 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
My DD will be 9 next month, and I thought maybe she'd be ready for more privacy/alone time, but nope, she is always asking one of her 3 younger bros to sleep in her room.
FWIW, my 9 yo son still prefers to sleep either on the couch, in my floor, or in one of his older sister's rooms. It's not that he's scared of anything, just what he prefers still...
post #55 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama1803 View Post
I'm rather surprised by all the responses that imply that a small house is more conducive to fostering a close knit family. I've always felt that when people truely enjoy being together and put a priority on spending time together doing things as a family, the size of the house is irrelevant.

We have what many people would consider to be a large house (4,200 sq. ft living area) and yet we chose to spend most of our time together because we enjoy the togetherness. Just because my kids each have their own rooms doesn't mean they spend all their time there by themselves.

A large house doesn't have to be isolating or cold. There are certainly ways to make it homey and inviting.
It isn't that a larger house is isolating or cold, but when you are in a small home you have NO CHOICE but to work it out There are different dynamics at play, not better or worse. Just different

I am also surprised that people think house size *doesn't* make a difference. When you are forced to share a room (not just sleep in a sibling's room) there are constant compromises that need to be made. Who gets the bed on which side of the room, which shelf belongs to which child, what colour to paint the walls. So much practice for compromise

Not that those things aren't possible in larger homes, and of course not every small home living family will practice creative problem solving or gentle discipline. And of course the reasons a family will choose to stay in a small home will make a big difference in how they make the situation workable (if they do). I don't think you can really separate out the reasons why families are close knit and well functioning, WHY we live the way we do are interwoven into our every interaction.

BUT choosing to live small is a lifestyle choice that provides opportunities that are just not a factor in a larger house where everyone has a bunch of space for every family member and a place to put every item one could want (should one want to have it all). Doing stuff together isn't all that optional when the ONLY place you can choose to do stuff is......together
post #56 of 85
We have a tiny 1BD in Brooklyn and we love it. Our bedroom just barely fits a queen size bed with crib sidecarred, then a long dresser with a changing pad on top. Small closet. Very small hallway with a stackable W/D and a little (3x3) boiler room where the cats have their litterbox and a small bathroom. The main living space is completely open but very small, the kitchen is just a corner and an island, we have 2 comfy bar stools and a clip on high chair on the island to eat... then the LR is just a couch on one side and little corner waldorf inspired play area on the other wall, TV mounted on the wall and a cabinet mounted on the wall above the play area is our "office." But the whole place is so modern and simplistic and minimalist we love it!
post #57 of 85
We have a 1200 sqaure foot house for 4 people, and I'm glad we have a small space. I grew up in larger house, and we tended to hang out in different rooms much of the time. But the four of us are basically together all evening every evening. Even if someone gets angry we have to stay together and work things out as there aren't a lot of other options. And we are a very close family.

Plus our mortgage is small and we have a lot of money for other things we want to do, again generally stuff to do as a family, but also healther food options (pasture raised local meat, free range local eggs, and raw milk and cheese from pastured cows, and free range chicken - are pretty darn expensive) which is a huge priority for us. We are not vegetarians, but will not eat factory farmed animals or eggs or dairy, so we don't eat out except to a couple of places which have the same standards we have or to the one vegan place in the area. Which saves money as we don't eat out often, but we spend a lot on groceries on the other side of that. And I stay at home, which means having to live on one income which is a money loss, but on the other hand I can cook from scratch, which is a money savings and another priority. Plus we plan to pay for our kids' college education and we're saving for that, and the small mortgage makes that possible. I guess the point is that every family has different ideals and priorities, but a small house fits our life very well.
post #58 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
When you are forced to share a room (not just sleep in a sibling's room) there are constant compromises that need to be made. Who gets the bed on which side of the room, which shelf belongs to which child, what colour to paint the walls. So much practice for compromise
House size doesn't matter here. Siblings can still share a room even if the house is bigger. Or even share a bed.
Lots of families co-sleep in here, perhaps even most? And lots of siblings do after they leave the family bed too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
I don't think you can really separate out the reasons why families are close knit and well functioning, WHY we live the way we do are interwoven into our every interaction.
No, and we have a very close knit family (also well functioning), and size of house doesn't matter in this for us. We used to live in a house half this size, but we needed more room (no seriously, I mean that we really needed it, not wanted it). But it hasn't changed our family or the family dynamic or close knit relationship. We actively choose to be together every day, we could spread out, but we want to be together.
(Also, we have no TV, now I do think that is a contributing factor though.)
post #59 of 85
we have a 3BR 1 bath home that is 12 sq ft. It's a bit small. I think one more room and one more bathroom would be perfect. We love the yard though. We actually looked at other houses and though we found some that were bigger (for over twice what ours cost) there was less usable space. We have a full basement and a garage. In order to get a house with those, we'd have to go to a price range we can't afford.

That said, there was a 5 bedroom house on the market, that made me sigh. But the location was awful and there is no yard, so we didn't seriously consider it.

Also we met some people who used to live here who had 8 kids in their family. The family who built it had 4 kids.
post #60 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
It isn't that a larger house is isolating or cold, but when you are in a small home you have NO CHOICE but to work it out There are different dynamics at play, not better or worse. Just different

I am also surprised that people think house size *doesn't* make a difference. When you are forced to share a room (not just sleep in a sibling's room) there are constant compromises that need to be made. Who gets the bed on which side of the room, which shelf belongs to which child, what colour to paint the walls. So much practice for compromise

Not that those things aren't possible in larger homes, and of course not every small home living family will practice creative problem solving or gentle discipline. And of course the reasons a family will choose to stay in a small home will make a big difference in how they make the situation workable (if they do). I don't think you can really separate out the reasons why families are close knit and well functioning, WHY we live the way we do are interwoven into our every interaction.

BUT choosing to live small is a lifestyle choice that provides opportunities that are just not a factor in a larger house where everyone has a bunch of space for every family member and a place to put every item one could want (should one want to have it all). Doing stuff together isn't all that optional when the ONLY place you can choose to do stuff is......together
As with everything in life, there is more than one "right" way of doing things. You said that in a small home, family doesn't have a choice but to work it out. I don't agree. People always have a choice in how they relate, interact, and behave. If the parents foster an atmosphere where respecting other's space and possessions is important, then the children will learn that. If the parents model skills like conflict resolution, having patience, compromise, sharing, etc. then the children will learn because that is what they live. What I am inferring from many posts is that having a small home is the "right" way to instill things like compromise, patience, and functioning together well. I heard alot of this same crapola when dh and I were considering not having a second child. We heard from practically everybody that only children can't learn to share or to compromise without a sibling. Now what I am reading is that unless siblings are forced to share a bedroom or living on top of one another then they will not learn skills like compromise or creative problem solving.

IRL I know many families in homes of all sizes who have, whether by conscience choice or not, fostered a life of isolation. The kids may share a bedroom, but if they are always on their computers or texting their friends, or watching TV they aren't communicating. I also know many families who are so overscheduled that they are literally never home. The kids are growing up in the backseat of the family car as they are being driven to and from various extra curricular activities. The size of the home is completely irrelevent in their cases.

For me it's much more about the family's priorities and the emphasis they put on being together, even when they aren't forced to be together.
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