Advice hub

How much living space do I need in my home?

Sep 3, 2018

If you are thinking about building your own home, it’s worth spending time early on thinking about how much living space you require. This will hugely depend on your individual lifestyle and what lifestage you are at.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to designing your home and its essential to focus on a layout that works for your individual situation. Of course, circumstances can change so it always helps to plan ahead and be mindful of future needs when designing a home.

A helpful starting point is to measure up the house you currently live in and use these dimensions to decide which rooms need to be larger or where you can afford to lose space if downsizing. Think about how much time you will spend in each room, who will use it and when – not forgetting any pets.

Here we look at what different households might want to consider.

Growing families
For a young household, flexibility is key when it comes to planning the layout to allow for growing children and changing lifestyles.

Open plan layouts are perfect for people with very young families, with a direct link to the garden. The children can happily play while always under the watchful eye of a parent. It’s important to remember that these spaces need to be able to cope with various uses so incorporating plenty of worktop areas and space to move around the kitchen will be important. Multiple uses will mean you need to factor in plenty of storage space too.

Along with open plan living areas you may want to consider a separate living area to relax or chat with friends in peace. You may want to factor in a dedicated playroom to accommodate children’s toys, let alone a space where the door can be shut to hide the carnage!

What might start life as a nursery will probably turn into a teenager’s bedroom later on. As your children grow, so will their space requirements. They may wish to have room for a desk and computer, plenty of storage and wardrobe space. Their bedroom will be a private space where they meet up with friends. If there is more than one child in the household, it may be worth considering bedrooms of similar sizes to avoid the decision of which child gets the biggest bedroom. If space is a problem, you might think about making allowances for converting the attic or garage space later on to a place where teenagers can retreat.

Little things like adding on a porch where dirty wellies can be removed could be a real blessing for those who do not want mud traipsed all over their home. And a spacious hallway works well when children come home from school and need to dump their coats and bags. A separate utility and laundry area could be a saving grace when it comes to the mountains of washing a family can get through.

Older couples
As people grow older and their children fly the nest, many find that their houses are too large resulting in the need to downsize.

Low maintenance living is often top of the priority list when it comes to designing a smaller home, reducing the need for frequent upkeep.

Unless you plan on getting rid of many of your possessions, you will need to incorporate plenty of storage space that can be easily accessed.

We can’t predict what the future holds, so its worth considering at design stage, adaptability, should you or your friends have limited mobility. Incorporating plenty of space to manoeuvre around tables and chairs would allow for any potential walking aids. Open plan layouts would avoid the need for narrow hallways and corridors. You may want to incorporate a wet room that combines a shower with a floor drain should mobility become an issue. A downstairs room large enough to convert into a bedroom if the stairs end up too challenging is also an idea.

First home
For many young people, building their own home is a way of getting on the housing ladder; therefore, affordability is often key.

For those not looking to build a home for life, but one that serves a purpose for this stage in life, are more likely to accept some limitations and build a smaller property therefore it’s important to consider furniture layouts at the design stage.

Being young, can often mean you own comparatively fewer possessions which is just as well as often separate storage space has to be sacrificed in favour of room area. It’s worth researching the wide range of new technologies out there reducing the need for the likes of book shelves and DVD/CDs storage. There is so much choice today when it comes to space saving storage.

Having an active work and social life will mean being in the house less often than older generations. The kitchen is likely to be a functional space rather than the hub of the home so incorporating a functional kitchen that enables tasks to be done efficiency will be key.

One master bedroom is essential with one or two smaller ones for use by guests or a home office.