Recently, I’ve been reading and hearing some buzz about how small houses are a better choice, for many reasons, as opposed to large, box-style homes. I personally adore small homes and feel that I could be more creative with a small house, than I could a large home. Small homes also are a better financial choice for smaller families, obviously if you have 6 kids, it would be a little tight in a 2- or even a 3-bedroom house. Though, it doesn’t mean families can’t make it work.
First, let me define my version of a “small” home so that I’m clear. To me, a small home is 1,200 square feet or smaller. I currently live in a 1,100 square foot rental home and my husband and I don’t even utilize all of the rooms. My sister-in-law lives in a large, newer, cookie-cutter home with a sprawling 2,500 square feet. Their family of 5 practically lives in the family room, barely venturing into the living/dining room. This seems like a bit of wasted space, as does their loft that they don’t know what to do with.
There are so many benefits to a small home that I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll begin with something everyone can relate to: the cost of utilities. The smaller the square feet, logically, the less space there is to heat and cool. Now, of course with inefficient, drafty houses, this basic rule may not apply. Energy efficiency wins out over old, inefficient homes and corroded air ducts. However, if all is equal in energy efficient appliances and heating and cooling systems, the small house wins: the utilities will be less expensive.
Small houses are easier to clean. Again, the less square footage means the less mopping, vacuuming, and sweeping of the floors area wise. I’d prefer to vacuum 1,200 sq. ft. versus 2,500 or more square feet. Wouldn’t you? If I choose to re-carpet or re-floor your home, the cost is again less because the area is smaller. I may even decide to invest in higher quality materials since I won’t need to purchase as much as I would for a large house.
When looking at homes in my neighborhood, I can see many of them are in need of maintenance, such as painting and landscaping. The smaller the house, the less I have to roll my paint brush over the exterior walls and the less paint I will have to buy. I save money while saving my shoulder and elbows from bursitis. My creativity can be used towards making sure the trim and the window dressings are painted and decorated to match which ever style I decide best suites the house. On a larger house, with more windows, I might be cash-strapped and have to stick to more simplistic decor.
The fewer the interior rooms, the more time I can spend carefully choosing how best to decorate each one. Or, pick a theme that runs throughout the house. Frequently, smaller homes are less expensive than larger ones. The money I save on the difference in a mortgage, can go towards purchasing furniture that matches my theme or style. I won’t have to worry about a huge house sparsely furnished. If I can’t buy furniture for my small house right away, at least it won’t be as obvious!
One great addition to a small house, and some may disagree given their personal family situation, I don’t have to worry about uninvited relatives crashing at our house with their 3 kids and 2 dogs. A small house would only allow us to have a guest room with a single or double bed. One or two people max is my motto. Luckily, my husband and I don’t currently have family members who show up with their RV and park it out front, at least not yet.
On a final note, small houses are more eco-friendly, using and consuming less resources. My husband has recently mentioned that he’d like to add solar panels to the home that we purchase. A small house would need fewer panels and take less energy, again saving money in the long run.
In case you’re not convinced, OR you’d like to read some articles on other sites, here are a few links:
- Treehugger – “Small Houses Getting Big Coverage” (I love Treehugger.com)
- Sunset Magazine – “Crafy Makeover”
- Tiny House Blog – an ode to small houses