Home size (sq ft) is like the Laffer Curve: too little is confining but too much can pull apart families

There is an optimal number of square feet for a home for a given family.  If the place is too small, it can be smothering.  But over the last 30 years, the size of homes in the U.S. has grown enormously (while the size of an average family is shrinking).  It seems that homes might be getting larger than needed and that might take away from family cohesiveness. 

This also applies to the workplace.  A great office is one where you don’t feel over-crowded but, at the same time, proximity breeds communication. 

7 thoughts on “Home size (sq ft) is like the Laffer Curve: too little is confining but too much can pull apart families

  1. James

    I liked to see some support for these claims (oh, and while you’re at it, provide a proper defense of the Laffer Curve).

  2. Gareth

    Nowadays travel is much more feasible — more countries have developed and technology has driven down prices. People are overall much better able to move about. Nowadays people have better access to information. With better information come a wider range of options over which to select a best one. Nowadays higher education is much more prevalent than it was 30 years ago. Children are in a much better position to make their own choices and live on their own terms.
    It’s possible that families are being torn apart by mere in-home physical distance, but I’d be more inclined to believe that it stems directly from the technology that allows individuals to pursue more precisely their values. The technology of today allows all of us to make decisions that better reflect what we strive for most in life. 30 years ago, I might not have been able to make the great choices I can make today. 30 years ago I might not have had a choice but to live with my family on their terms. Maybe the shrinking household size reflects a configuration with which people are happier but were not able to achieve 30 years ago.
    That being said, what people most desire at home need not be the best game plan for the office ;).

  3. Joe

    The solution to anyone wanting a “big home” or a “big office” for that matter is to try one out. No, this really isn’t a solution, but how many of us in the Bay Area complain about how small our houses are in comparison to other areas in the state or others states in general?
    My house here in the Bay Area is 1,600 square feet. We built a vacation home out of state that was 4,000 square feet and just thought that we we reached nirvana with our new uber home. The problem was that my family isn’t used to living in an “uber home” and at the end of the day, no matter when we visit the “uber home” the entire family is spends the overwhelming majority of our time “together” in one common area, in fact the smallest common area of the house, that has the smallest TV, smaller couches where we are complelled to sit next to each other, ect… Our “grand” living room sits vacant and the idea that kids would frolic far away from my wife and I was not to be and frankly we sort of “like” our kids:)
    Do I feel like a sap for building an “uber home”? You bet I do. If I had to do it all over again I’d buy a condo or for an even more novel idea………. rent someone elses vacation home. However, this experience has brought me to the conclusion that I really don’t need to “move up” in the Bay Area. I like to be able to have a conversation with my wife from 4 tiny rooms away, find my car keys, noitce my mean tom cat from time to time, listen in on conversations my neighbors are having……….. all things I can’t do an “uber home”.
    There are “some” compairsons to be made between the home and office, but if an office is filled with people who essentially don’t get a long with each other or are suspicious of each other tearing down the cubicle or office walls isn’t going to necessarily improve that situation.

  4. Stephen Leist

    Monster houses are the real SUVs. Folks have no idea what makes for a good life. 16,000 ft2 is not it.


Leave a Reply