Monday, January 24, 2011

Family Living in Small Spaces

According to this article:
The average American home in 1950 was 983 square feet (source) and, according to Census data (PDF), the average American household size was 3.37 people. This means that in 1950 the average American had 292 sfpp (square feet per person).

We have six people living in our home. If we were to go by the standards of 1950, we would have a house with a square footage of  1752. Instead we have 1056, not including the basement or the small shed in the back (no garage). That gives us 176 square feet per person.

According to this source on tiny homes (which doesn't take into account the number of people residing in them):

Starting with square footage, most tiny houses can range anywhere from under 100 square feet (9.29 square meters) to around 1,500 square feet (139.35 square meters).

I guess this qualifies us as having a small house. I love having a smaller house most of the time. It's easier to keep clean and gives me an excuse to regularly weed out "junk". It is difficult when we have company overnight since we only have two bedrooms. It is difficult to have a large group of people at once. Everything else is pretty simple. I like things simple.

I will be doing a series on family living in small spaces. Not that I'm an expert. I would love input from you! If you and your family live in a home under 1,500 square feet or 292 sfpp or less (it's o.k. to leave out a basement or an attic unless it is finished), please e-mail me with your ideas and solutions for any of the following areas of your home:

  • Living Areas
  • Bedrooms
  • Kitchen/Dining
  • Storage
  • Bathroom
  • Closets
We'll link up to share ideas for families wondering how to fit it all in and still keep the people. I'm looking for new ideas myself to complete my goal this year.


  1. I have enjoyed reading your blog this morning! It is always encouraging to meet people who are doing the same thing we are! I just got Large Family Logistics for a gift and I ordered Ann's book 1000 gifts two days ago. I can't wait!! This particular post made me smile and gather up my kids for a math lesson! I don't even know how big (or small) our house is! I do know we have 12 people living in tight, cozy quarters! I will have to come back for the numbers. I do know that decluttering is one of the keys and shelves! :)

    Thank you for sharing your joy with me!


  2. We are a family of 3 (plus a cat!) living in just over 500sq ft. We own a one bedroom house in London, England and are currently priced back off of the housing ladder. So how do we do it? Our one bedroom is actually very big, so we divided it with a babydan room divider and a vertical black out blind to give ourselves and our little 3 year old some privacy at night. The only problem to this is is the family bathroom is on our daughters side which means we have to cross over into her "bedroom" should we need to use it before she wakes up. We have a nook at the top of our stairs that fits a chest of drawers (with a changer top) perfectly and this holds half of my daughters clothes. In our half of the bedroom we have our double bed along with my wardrobe and a tall boy wardrobe for DD. hubby's wardrobe is a built in on my daughters half of the room.

    Downstairs is our small family room that is also our dining room, a tiny kitchen (9ft x 7ft), a moderate sized hallway, a downstairs cloakroom and a large-ish under stairs cupboard. We have a three seater sofa and a matching armchair in the living room along with a gate leg/drop leaf dining table. We use collapsible dining chairs that we stow in the under stairs cupboard when not in use. We also have a small nest of tables and a toy box for all of my daughters toys.

  3. Meant to add, but my iPhone wouldn't let me! We still have play dates, people over for dinner, birthday parties and a 6ft Christmas tree! We are lucky enough to have a front and side garden which my father in law kindly picket fenced off for us so my little girl would have a safe outdoor play space. Did I mention we are trying for baby number 2? Our plan would be to go downstairs on a sleeper sofa and give the bedroom up to the children eventually. We are very happy in our little home and whilst the area we live in isn't the very nicest, the transport links are excellent and we are only a 15-20 minute drive from most places be it the O2 arena for gigs, or Bluewater for shopping or London for work!

  4. @Anonymous--Wow! I love your attitude about your small space. I would also love to see pictures!