Small is the New Big – Part II

As homes become smaller, the focus for buyers will become: “How does the house live?” instead of the more traditional view of how many rooms/bedrooms does it have.  Some of the factors that will come into play are:

Combining separate rooms into single rooms

  • The overall size can be reduced as each function can borrow space from the other
  • The space appears larger, even if the overall square footage has been reduced
  • It can often eliminate the need for hallways which can save square footage

Eliminating rooms that have single purpose or get limited use

  • Formal Living and Dining Rooms >>> GONE.  Few people entertain “Formally” any more.  Those that do can still afford the space to do it.  Most people entertain “Informally” which means the family dining area should be able to accommodate larger groups as needed.

Improving the relationship between inside and outside spaces:

  • Outdoor spaces are becoming more popular and useable, but only if they are covered.  Patios and decks have always served this purpose, but the addition of a roof increases their usability to nearly year-round, even in cold climates.  That grille doesn’t have to be relegated to the garage anymore.
  • Inside spaces adjacent to covered, outdoor living areas look and function larger because they are larger
  • The floor elevation of covered outdoor spaces should be as close to the main level of the house as possible.  It looks and functions better (the roof makes this possible)

Right-sizing rooms based on function

  • As rooms get smaller, more attention must be focused on function.  Extra square footage can hide numerous design flaws.  Placement of doors and windows and how the circulation is planned can make a smaller room work perfectly or render it virtually useless.
  • As spaces get smaller, it is critical to get them sized correctly.  A six-inch difference in the size of a family room is hardly noticeable, but if you make a shower six inches too small you will end up with a problem

Shift in focus from size to quality

  • This kind of change does not necessarily mean home prices will be lower
  • Thinking will change to: “if I can eliminate 3 doors, I will be able to afford a better grade of door and hardware on the remaining doors.”  The same thinking can apply to furniture.  As you reduce home size and room counts, the need for furniture reduces as well.  This will allow home owners to buy higher quality, longer lasting pieces.
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