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How Much Space Do You Really Need?
Posted By Ginny Figlar Colón On February 22, 2011 @ 6:04 pm In Eco Decorating, Green Living, Healthy Home | 1 Comment
We had everything we needed in that space, including a spare bedroom for guests  and enough “party space” for gatherings with friends . But it didn’t take long before the lure of our first house — an 1800s Victorian — made us feel as if we needed to double our living area to 925 square feet per person. (Sound familiar?)
Now, after living in another large home in Sweden for five years, we just moved back to the States and bought a house with less finished square footage than we’ve ever had: just over 400 square feet per person for our family of three.
And it appears we’re not alone, as a downsizing trend has taken over the country. One recent MSN headline stated that “living small looms large amid real estate bust,” while a Dallas Morning News article  from last month reports that the National Association of Home Builders expects the average home size to shrink to 2,150 square feet by 2015, down from over 2,500 at the peak of the market in 2007.
But, despite being in good company, it wasn’t an easy decision for us. In fact, every time I approached the idea of “maybe it would make more sense to live smaller and simpler,” my husband felt pretty strongly that we needed at least 600 square feet per person to not feel cramped. Visits to homes with poor layouts only seemed to fuel his argument.
That is, until we stumbled upon our current bungalow, which has two things going for it: an open floor plan that sacrifices bedroom space for “living space” and a great neighborhood with a huge park nearby. The trade-offs made it all worth it, and in the end I feel like we are living better than we ever have.
I’ve been surprised by how much I feel like we are truly living larger now. Here’s what I’ve come up with to explain it:
Downsizing to a smaller home doesn’t make sense for everyone. If you are fortunate enough to have square footage to spare, consider how you are using your space. Is it just storage for meaningless stuff, or is it truly room to live? After owning four different homes in 13 years, I’ve come to realize that it’s not the space that matters but what you do with it .
What about you … are you living large in your space?
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URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/how-much-space-do-you-really-need/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/HowMuchSpaceBlog.jpg
 spare bedroom for guests: http://life.gaiam.com/article/get-real-green-bedroom-update
 gatherings with friends: http://life.gaiam.com/article/10-ways-green-your-party
 Dallas Morning News article: http://blog.gaiam.com//www.allbusiness.com/construction/residential-construction/15440456-1.html>
 the bare minimum: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/could-you-be-happy-with-just-100-things
 feel bigger: http://life.gaiam.com/article/how-make-your-room-look-bigger
 floor-to-ceiling ivory paint: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/healthy-paint-tips/
 sell it or donate it: http://life.gaiam.com/article/clear-clutter-room-room-guide-green-spring-cleaning
 what you do with it: http://life.gaiam.com/article/make-your-space-sacred
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