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How to Find a Home of the Just Right Size

Determining how much space you need in a new home should be more than a matter of guessing or even deciding that it be more or less than you have right now. The size of your space should take into consider your future plans. Will your family be expanding? Might you want to move to something that requires less time, energy and resources to maintain? Those decisions determine direction but are not specific enough to be really helpful. You’ll need to think “in the box.”

Square footage is the commonly used measure of the size of a home, one of the parameters used, along with bedrooms and baths, in property searches. Of course square footage is not irrelevant but it should not be the only size criteria employed in choosing or eliminating a property. Flow and volume matter enormously, as well.

Flow refers to the passage of one space – one room into another. “Boxier” rooms feel smaller than more open spaces even though the square footage is the same. They do have the advantage of having more wall area for the arrangement of furniture, including such things as book cases and other kinds of cabinetry that are so important for clutter-free storage.

Flow is also very different in one story versus multi-story homes. While staircases lend architectural interest, they tend to use a great deal of square footage on all levels of the home. So a ranch style house of 1400 square feet is likely to have more usable space than a colonial style home of the same square footage with a staircase.

Then too, room height matters. Vaulted and raised ceilings increase the volume of a room thereby increasing the feeling of spaciousness. That’s basic geometry. Builders have used this as a relatively cost effective way to make homes “bigger.” What’s more higher ceilings mean that cabinetry of all kinds, from kitchens to family rooms can go up as much as a foot or two increasing storage availability in the same square footage.

So if you’re looking for a home, give yourself some latitude in the parameters you set for square footage. After all you may find more of what you’re looking for by just looking up.

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