Does it seem like the new homes being built today are bigger than those from the 70, 80s, or 90s? It’s not your imagination. People are truly “living large” these days. In this blog post, we look at how all of this extra square footage is being used. Are homes getting bigger for the sake of being bigger or is the extra square footage contributing to added functional living space?

The numbers don’t lie. Or do they? Just a little bit, perhaps? Data culled from the American Census Bureau by the Amercian Enterprise Institute (AEI) has confirmed something we’ve known for some time. New homes have increased in size by 1,000 square feet on average over the past four decades. Clearly, home builders have been thinking BIG for awhile, but it’s been especially noticeable these last 10 to 12 years. The most popular custom home builds and homes on the market are roughly 2,500 square feet or more.

But, what does this ‘supersizing” really mean?

Once we take a closer look at this information, we see there’s actually “more than meets the eye” here. While it certainly can’t be argued that houses built today are bigger than those built from 1930 to 1970, much of this can be attributed to the floorplans of homes built in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

It turns out, much of this additional square footage is being applied to specific sections of homes. Let’s look at where and how this additional square footage is being utilized.

Expanded Kitchen Areas

The kitchens we cook in today are bigger than the kitchens our moms and grandmothers worked with. In the past 40 years, the size of kitchens has increased by 50% as approximated by the National Home Builders Association. It’s no longer uncommon for a house to have a kitchen that’s up to or over 300 square feet. Home remodelers have so many kitchen renovation jobs these days. Much of this is because the galley or railroad-style kitchens of yesterday are no longer in fashion. People want roomier kitchens to cook and eat in.

That’s right, we said people want to eat in their kitchens. Formal dining rooms have suddenly found themselves out of vogue in open floor plans. Many new home designs and kitchen renovations freely tie kitchens and dining rooms together. There are no walls and barriers between the two. Breakfast bars, which often pull double duty as work or homework areas if you have kids, are commonly used to help blend the two areas together.

Sizeable Lavish Bathrooms

Decades ago, our parents or grandparents likely never viewed the bathroom as a centerpiece of their home. Bathrooms today are bigger and more elaborate with double-person showers, luxorious soaking tubs, elegant double vanity sinks, towel warming racks, and ample closet space.

Today, for a large family, one full bathroom – regardless of its size – generally isn’t enough to accommodate everyone in the household. For this reason, many new homes built today have 1 or 2 full bathrooms and a couple half-bathrooms on different levels of the house.

Master Bedrooms to Escape To

When it comes to square footage, a master bedroom takes precedence over any other bedroom in a house. Today, master bedrooms can feature anything from a his-and-her walk-in closet to a lounge area with a TV nook or an office area/workspace.

This is why it’s not a bad idea to bump the size of a master bedroom up in any new or updated home. Homeowners and homebuyers alike are coming to realize what an invaluable sacred private getaway a large master bedroom can be.

Comparatively, additional bedrooms in a house don’t have to be all that spacious to impact value or marketability. In fact, when building a new home, it’s often better to allocate space for one more additional bedroom instead of increasing another’s size. For example, if you’re working with 400 square feet of space, you’re better off creating four 10-foot x 10-foot rooms rather than three 10-foot x 13-foot rooms. Listing the home with a spacious master bedroom and four bedrooms will have a bigger impact on a home’s market value than one large extra bedroom. Buyers today may also see that advertised fourth bedroom as a potential home office space or exercise room, too.

Expanded Finished Basement

Basements today aren’t just cinder block walls and concrete floors like years’ past. Basements in new or remodeled homes are seeing a resurgence lately thanks to home builders who understand their potential. Once dark, dirty, dingy lower levels of a home, basements are being re-envisioned as family recreation spaces, man caves, fitness areas, and in-law apartments.

Granted, basement space isn’t accounted as part of a home’s overall size. Yet, basements can be converted to additional livable space without sacrificing upstairs square footage or building upward.

It’s a Matter of Determining the Right Home Size for You

Yes, determining the ideal size of your home will take some upfront planning and careful consideration. It can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really just a matter of determining which spaces mean the most to you. Would you rather have a spacious kitchen or living room? Would you rather have more square footage for a sizable master bedroom or a lavish bathroom? How many bathrooms do you need?

Remember: It’s not necessarily how big your house is, but how well it fits your needs and lifestyle. Most of us only get one shot at building a custom home. It’s important to take the time to flesh out your dream by discussing the possibilities with your preferred home buider.