I enjoyed reading that blog klondikesky, thanks for the link.
Back to the op's question, I agree that it depends on what you want to use the house for, and how much work you want to put into it. We just sold our 1200 sq ft home and moved into a 3800 sq ft home. We've been here a week and I did not feel at home in it the first few days. This is supposed to be my "dream house", and we plan to stay in this house until all of our kids are grown and decide to leave. So I was bothered by it not feeling homey to me. After some thought, I realized that I have never lived in a two story house, or in a house of this size, so it was just going to take some time to adjust to it. (I grew up in very small homes and they always felt very cozy to me, and the 1200 sq ft house we just sold, we lived in for 6 years and it had felt homey to me from the time we moved in).
Our reasons for choosing this house are stil valid, but I admit I'll always find smaller homes to be cozier and homier, due to all the great childhood memories I have.
We wanted this house we're living in now because we have 4 kids(11, 5, 3, and 2). We homeschool and the layout of our old house was not working for us. Our kitchen table barely fit in the eat in kitchen, and we were squished trying to gather around the table to do our "school" stuff. The bedrooms were all too small for many of us to fit into at once. The living room was big but had too many distractions.
We had a tiny galley style kitchen and I couldn't see the kids when they were in other rooms, and there was no window except in the eating area so it felt dark and closed off.
There was very little storage area, only 4 cabinets and 2 drawers in the kitchen, limited counter space making it hard to cook and bake (which I actually like to do). We had no coat closet, no entry way, no linen closets. One of the biggest problems was that the backyard was hard to get to. The bedrooms were at the back of the house, living and kitchen at the front. So there was a door in the living going out to the side of the house, and then you'd have to walk around to the backyard. I couldn't see the kids, except from the back bedroom windows, and it wasn't convenient to carry food all the way from the front kitchen around to the backyard, so we never had picnics out there or used the backyard much.
Our new house has an open, sunny kitchen. Our dining table can actually fit in there with both leaves in so we can fit around it comfortably now. (6 people). We spend a lot of time in there already. There is a lot of storage space(big walk in pantry, lots of cabinets), and counter space so I'm looking forward to baking and cooking a lot from scratch again. The backyard is right off the kitchen so the kids can go play out there whenever they like and I can see them. We're looking forward to eating outside on pleasant summer evenings.
We also have a huge playroom upstairs, and one wall is all huge windows. It's really sunny up there, and we're looking forward to doing our school stuff up there. Plus, we are all big readers and there is room in there to have shelves and shelves of their books and a reading corner. It's big enough to ride a bike through or rollerskate through, and it gets too hot here in TX in the summer to spend much time outdoors.
We wanted a space that would fit all of our kids, even as teens. We wanted our house to be the hub for our kids and their friends, I'd really rather have them hanging out here, especially as they grow to be teens. So as they grow the playroom will become more of a game room and we'll have a pool table, popcorn machine, a place to play board games, a dart board, etc, so they'll be motivated to come hang here.
If you go into a bigger house knowing you have a use for each room than I don't think it's so bad. I wouldn't buy furniture that won't be used or doesn't serve a purpose, just to fill up a room, but we have plans for rooms that will involve purchasing some stuff. I had always wanted a treadmill but had no room, so now I'll get one and we'll turn one of the rooms into an exercise room. This is so exciting for me because after so many pregnancies the last several years, I am really out of shape, and I feel much better when I exercise. It's hard for me to get to a gym because my husband works long hours and I'm afraid to leave my littles at a gym daycare. So now I can work out at home.
Our piano was always squished into our living room and kind of in the way of traffic, now we have a space for it and it is being used a lot already.
And we have a foyer and coat closet, which I love. In our old house, the front door opened right into the living room.
So we carefully planned what we wanted extra space for, and didn't buy more than we thought we needed. We also accounted for the treadmill and things we wanted to buy in our budget before we bought this house, so that we would still have money for those things even with the bigger mortgage.
Having said all of that(
), I could have lived with a smaller space, with a better floor plan. But this was the only house we found with the floor plan we had in mind. It's more about how you use the space, or plan to use the space, than how much space.