We grow up wanting mansions with rooms for everything. Over time, we recognize the realities and responsibilities that go with that dream. And things don’t seem quite as dreamy as they’d once seemed. Alternatives may just offer more of whats important for much less –
Small Homes: 7 Big Gains to Thinking Small
Cheaper to build.
Cost is estimated as a function of the construction standard you’re looking for, and the area of the house you’d want to build. Given an apples to apples comparison of materials, and details – the less you build, the less you’ll have to pay for. Given a big enough reduction in scale, this may mean the difference between borrowing against the bank on a 20 year commitment, and paying for the house with the money you have on hand.
Simpler to maintain.
The smaller your house, the less of it you have to worry about breaking down. Fewer things, fewer moving parts, fewer things to replace. This is as true for obvious things, as it is for things we can’t even see. If you’ve ever had problems leaking pipes embedded in your walls, you can imagine the value in a smaller, simplified system.
Easier to clean.
The smaller your space the easier it is to keep tidy. There are less floors to sweep, less shelves to wipe, and less things for dust to hide behind. Not only could cleaning be done faster, but you’d also need less help.
Tighter family ties.
Fewer rooms means having spaces pull doubly duty. It also means sharing these spaces. Further, controlling the size of individual rooms makes them less friendly to hideout in, encouraging people to spend more time together in a larger common area. Each might be doing their own thing, but the sharing a space helps develop respect, and fosters connection and a sense of community in your own home.
Efficient to cool.
Smaller houses have less surface area for the sun cook. Less heat gain, means rooms cool faster, and more efficiently, with smaller equipment. Fewer rooms also means fewer fans and air conditioners to buy. Less, as they say, is more – cost savings.
Every room has an unspoken furniture cost. A family room that acts like a second living room means a second sala set. While a dedicated guest room means an extra bed and desk. We’re too often tempted to buy more to fill empty rooms, when we really should design to fit need in the first place.
Less to Fill.
Clutter is the enemy of ALL spaces. The less space you have, the less you’ll tend to just acquire things and forget. Smaller houses have a lower tolerance for clutter. You have to consider everything you bring in, and everything you keep.
Do you really need an extra dust gathering souvenir? That sweater for when you lose that weight? Will that extra happy meal collectible really make you any happier? You don’t even have to think about it if it won’t fit.
Living small isn’t without its downsides of course. But what you might lose in potential use, you definitely gain for today, and the day-to-day moving forward. Are you building to fit the image of what you’re used to? What can you let go off in light of the benefits? Are you building to fit your stuff? Or are you building for your family? It’s healthy to rethink things to make sure everything works efficiently, and spaces are actually lived in, and not just filled and forgotten.
Small also isn’t just one thing. What’s important is if your house is built at a scale that works for you.
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