Less Is More

Americans live on average in the largest houses in the world. An average family has a house that is over 2500 square meters, and many people strive to own houses that are even larger. But there is a small but significant movement towards the other end of the spectrum: more and more people are looking for houses that are extremely small, as little as 150 square meters inside.

These houses come in all descriptions. Some are converted freight containers. Others are updated versions of travel carts that fit easily in the bed of a pickup truck. Most have cunning patterns that combine everyday life and sleeping areas in a way that maximizes the use of every inch of space. The homes have many advantages:

  • Low bills. Smaller footprints mean that the heating and cooling costs are much smaller as well.
  • Lower maintenance costs. Having a small house also means having a small roof. Compensation can be as low as a few hundred as opposed to the ten thousand or more you can spend on a larger home. Other maintenance costs are also reduced.
  • Best of all. If you only have 100 square meters of floor to cover, why not follow your most desired options? Whether it's carrera marble counter or floor made of gilded antique hardwood, surfaces become much cheaper when you don't have much room to cover. Many small house advocates choose environmentally friendly surfaces that tend to be incredibly expensive when used in larger homes.
  • Beautifully designed home. The houses focus on design over spaciousness, so they are usually very aesthetically pleasing spaces.
  • A simpler, more streamlined lifestyle. Many of us are bogged down and stressed out by all of our things. Extremely small residential areas mean you have to be ruthless about possessions; those who do not earn a thing need to go. Most small householders report that they feel much happier and calmer with all the visual noise that has been removed.

But there are also many disadvantages:

  • No place to get away. If you want to go to sleep but your husband wants to watch movies for another two hours, he will not be able to go to the other end of the house to keep the noise and light disturbing you.
  • No storage. While small housing solution is cheaper in many ways, it limits your ability to replenish sales prices, which means you often pay more for everything from food to toothpaste.
  • Permits can be tough. Many areas cannot allow you to build extremely small houses. Some small house advocates have said they have discontinued purchasing permits in trailers, as other areas do not allow scaled-down homes.

It's definitely not an option for everyone; But single-family homes can be a choice for those who want to simplify and scale down from the usual American expectations.