How Much Homespace Do People Actually Use?

I always wondered about the insane obsession of the rich with having huge houses-a mansion was recently listed in my area-it has 12,000 sf of living space? I’ve noticed that most people spend their time in the kitchen/living room-and the rest of the house gets little utilization. So why do people buy monster-sized houses? Like King Louis XIV-how much of his Versailles Palace did he actually live in?
I’m thinking of building a small house-it seems to me that a well-designed small house can be as good as a large one-without the cost.

I’m with you. I have a small house - 1000 ft - two bedrooms, one bath, living room, kitchen and a partially finished basement. For TheKid and I, it’s perfect. Once she moves out, I will have more than enough room for just myself.

My sister and her husband, OTOH, have a 4000 ft house for just the two of them. Four bedrooms, an office, formal living room, formal dining room, family room, sun room… Most of their house is closed off. All they use is one of the five bathrooms, the master bedroom, family room and kitchen. My sister says they like the space. I don’t understand it, personally. They don’t have guests over to sleep in the extra rooms. The office is a catchall. There are two chairs and a table in the formal living room - that’s it. I could see it if they had kids at home, or if they had people over, but otherwise it just seems like wasted space.

You would probably say we have much more house than we need, and you’d be right. Just the two of us (and three cats) with 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms (2 of them only toilet/sink) and dining room, living room, family room, den and sun room.

We currently keep two of the bedrooms closed off unless guests are spending the night (only one has a bed in it) and a third is our office. Three bathrooms, the living room, dining room, and den barely get used. So yes, we qualify as folks who spend most of their time in a small portion of the house.

I’d be happy enough in a smaller house, but the plan was to make this our forever home and fill it with kids, so we will eventually need that space. Right now, as we’re renovating and making it our own comfy place, we’re not having many people over, so it does feel like wasted space sometimes. And the kid thing looks like it’s not going to be as easy as we’d hoped, so maybe we’ll have “too much house” for a while.

My GF and I just moved into an 850 sq. ft apartment - two bedrooms and a combined kitchen/living room (separated by a breakfast bar/counter), and still, the living room space is unused. There’s furniture there that could be used, but we don’t.

I’ve got 800 square feet, more or less, for myself and the Small One. I admit it feels small, especially in terms of storage; in terms of living space it’s fine, but we don’t have a locker or anything like that.

I’m planning to get us a house, but really it doesn’t have to be huge. Even if I won a lottery I’d keep the size of the house pretty reasonable. The last house I lived in with my parents was about 3000 square feet, and my parents, my sister and I didn’t use whole chunks of it.

We have a large house (5000 square feet) for just two of us. The floor plan makes it so that we do actually use a lot of the space, but we could definitely live in a smaller house. Both Mr. Athena and I work from home, so we did need a bit of extra space for offices - mine is in a big room above the garage, and Mr. Athena keeps moving his. For a while it was in a spare bedroom, then he moved into the finished basement, now he’s in the loft right outside my office.

But the main reason we have a house this large was that after looking at tons of houses over a year and a half, this one had everything we wanted. The only drawback was it was too big. Other than that, we loved the floor plan, it was in town but had several acres of land (VERY hard to find!), and the price was right. It seemed silly to turn it down just because it was too big.

We do our best to use it. Of all the places in the house, there’s really only two rooms we rarely go into (excluding storage areas). One of the spare bedrooms rarely gets used, and there’s a non compliant bedroom (window not big enough, no closet) in the basement that we rarely go into. Other than that, we pretty much use it all. And it is nice to have room for a dedicated weight/exercise room, spare bedroom, two offices, room-we-made-into-a-sauna, etc.

We have 2100 square feet for two adults and a kid. Three bedrooms, 2.5 baths. If we have a second kid I’ll wish we had a fourth bedroom, because the grandparents all live far away. In terms of space, though, we do use every bit of the house. Besides the bedrooms we have the kitchen, a great room with dining, office, and sitting space, and a media room with the TV and stereo. I think it’s just the right size. The great room is cavernous with a vaulted ceiling while the other rooms are small and cozy.

“The Not So Big House” says that to feel spacious a house needs a main living space as well as an “away space”, and that’s what the media room does.

We currently have a 3-story house. We use the first and second floors all the time. Kitchen, dining room, living room, and 1/2 bath on the first floor. Three bedrooms and two baths (kids’ bath and master) on the second. Now, the third floor doesn’t get used as much. We have a fourth bedroom up there, a 3/4 bath and a big sitting area/family room. But it’s wonderful to have when guests visit. My parents will come for a week or 10 days at a time, and they have their own space to retreat to and some privacy to get ready in the morning, etc. Sanity for all!

We are moving soon to an even bigger house – which we chose because of the size of the property (on a beautifully wooded 1.5 acres lot) and the location, not because we need more house space. 5000 sq ft, 6 bedrooms, two kitchens, etc. I will be curious to see how much of it we actually use.

I’m alone in an 1800 sqft, 3br, 2 bath house with a small yard. I bought it when I was married and thought that we would have kids.

One bedroom is an office. I don’t really use it unless I am going to print something or file something. The other spare bedroom is a guest room that gets used like four times a year. I can go months without going inside. I rarely use the dining room. The kitchen, master bedroom and both bathrooms get a lot of use.

In parts of asia people make due with 100-300 square feet. So it is possible. However when you are living that small, you really have to improvise and know how to store things.

I often wonder this myself. I am invariably a “one room” liver. When I’ve lived in one or two bedroom apartments, 90% of my living takes place in one of the rooms, with the extra room basically being storage.

I can see how larger houses are really nice for busy households, through, especially when you have a lot of different age ranges under one roof. I’ve been babysitting in a 2,000 sq. foot house, and it is really nice to be able to exile the teens to the basement.

I think some of the people who buy large, elaborate houses like to entertain. It’s hard to have a bunch of people over for a party when you live in a few hundred square feet of space.

Husband, kid and me live on 1350 square ft, and that includes the finshed basement.

-two bedrooms,
-one bathroom sans wc and one separate wc, as is the custom in the Netherlands. – -and one bedroom turned into a heavily used internet/computer room, office, and man cave.
-one spacious kitchen with a dining table,
-one living room, divided in a dining area, and a media part with the couch that is used the most.
-one laundry room that also contains the cat food and litterbox, a workbench and room-temp storage.

All get heavy traffic. The computer room/office, the kitchen, and the media room part get the most use, the dining area the least. I sometimes wish we had a guest room, but on the other hand, a room for guests in a bed and breakfast room is easily rented and only a few minutes away, as we live in a city.

I have a similar question. My rooms are layed out carefully to make the most of the space. But when I look at pictures in magazines, it seems people live in rooms that resemble the bottom of a swimming pool. Empty. So it is not the number of rooms that make me wonder, but the little use they make of the room. What would anyone do in a room like this? Flip through that one chic magazineand look at those stalks in that big vase, untill it is time to go to bed?

It really depends on how you want to live. My house is about 1200 square feet, and four of us manage to live in it, but I’d really like more space- I’d like an extra bedroom or two, I’d like the bedrooms to be large enough to fit a chair in addition to a bed and a dresser, I’d like to fit more than six people for dinner without having to move the living room furniture to set up a table there. That media room that Sattua mentioned- I’d love to have the space for that. Right now I’ve got the TV and stereo in the living room , which is next to the dining room. If there’s a holiday dinner at my house, the people who want to watch the game (and there’s always some sort of game) are right next to those who want to sit and talk and each group invariably gets annoyed at the other.

Play football when it’s too cold to go outside?

Pictures in magazines are pictures in magazines. They have no relation to reality. In fact, half the stuff the people usually live with has probably been removed as part of the staging for the photo shoot.

We have 920 sq ft, 2 bedrooms (one of which is an office), and a large kitchen/living/dining room. It’s enough space.

Rich people hate their families.

Seriously though I think it’s a status thing. We are soon to upsizing with another kid due We are currently in 1500 sq ft in the city but will move to a larger suburban house. As we look, we focus on the kitchen and master bedroom.

There’s just the two of us, but we use pretty much all the space in our 2,500 sq ft house. Having people over on a regular basis helps a lot.

Don’t ask me the square footage of my apartment, because I have no idea, but it’s far more space than I need. I insist on having a large apartment, even though I only use about the same 10 square feet over and over. I could easily live in a studio that doesn’t have a separate kitchen, and yet I have this roomy one bedroom apartment whose kitchen is large enough to comfortably house a four-person dining room table. My place is woefully underfurnished, though, as a result of having too much space for one person. I feel like I should add more stuff to make it look like somebody lives here, but I already have everything I need, plus a bunch of other stuff that I don’t, but own anyway just to take up room and collect dust.

I tell myself my next place will be smaller, but it’ll probably be about the same size. I don’t see myself going for anything much larger than what I have now, and certainly wouldn’t opt for a mansion even if I could afford it. If I were a jillionaire, I’d sooner buy a sweet ass penthouse downtown than I would some huge palace.