don’t make this major small home design mistake

small home design mistakes

So, you think you want to live in a small house.

You’ve done the purging. Your Pinterest boards are full of ikea hacks and furniture that has hidden storage potential. The idea of a simplified existence with less money spent on maintaining extra space is firmly entrenched in your soul.

Awesome. We get it. We’re with you. 🎉

But, before you sign that lease or drop that deposit, there is something important that you need to do. You MUST make sure you understand what you are getting into.

What do we mean by “getting into?”

We mean do you truly understand what 250 square feet (sq ft) looks like?? Have you ever lived in a space less than 1000 sq ft?

Do you even know what a sq ft is?

It’s crucial that prior to getting lost on Pinterest looking for ideas on how to design a small home, you get yourself educated on everything you need to know about how square footage is measured and what that translates to in a living space.

That’s our goal for this post. Share a little information on how square footage is calculated and show you some real world examples.

Then, once you can accurately visualize the difference between 200 sq ft and 700 sq ft space, you’ll be in a more suitable position to pick out an appropriate small home to live in.

Square footage tools

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a square foot (sq ft)?

Believe it or not, there are a few different ways that the square footage of a property can be determined. Rather than bore you with the details about all the choices, we will stick with the one most commonly used: American National Standards Institute (ANSI) calculation.

Measuring your home’s square footage using ANSI is done using the exterior walls. Start at a corner and work your way around the house.

Then, multiply the length of one side of a room by the length of an adjacent side (for example, a rectangle of 0.5 ft by 2 ft would cover 1 sq ft or a square of 10 ft by 10 ft would cover 100 sq ft).

Not so good with math?

Not a problem. Here is a site that will handle all the square foot calculations for you: squarefootage.org

So now you know how to calculate the sq ft. That’s great but please understand: knowing the square footage a room doesn’t translate into understanding what that looks like.

We can help with that problem, too. There is a free tool that allows you to enter the sq ft you want to see and then uses a comparison with a 6 ft human to help you visualize square footage.

This site, appropriately called The Floorspace Visualizer, can be found at Floor Space Visualizer – The Eloquent Peasant

small home design sq ft visualizer

Now that you have the basic tools, let’s look at some real life examples of floor plans of small homes.

Example of a 200 sq ft space

Cute Little Chelsea Apartment

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Img src: nycurbed.com

Example of a 330 sq ft space

NY Apartment

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Img src: apartmenttherapy.com

Example of a 400 sq ft space

The Caboose Tiny Cabin

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Img src: tinyhousetalk.com

Example of a 500 sq ft space

Stylish multi-level Manhattan Condo

East Village Studio

East Village Studio

East Village Studio

East Village Studio

Img src: houzz.com

Example of a 600 sq ft space

The Remodeled 1950’s Home

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Img src:tinyhousetalk.com

Example of a 710 sq ft space

A renovated Boston condo

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Img src: apartmenttherapy.com

Example of a 834 sq ft space

Seattle Carriage House

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Img src: finehomebuilding.com

Example of a 950 sq ft space

The Custom Charmer

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Img src: houseplans.com

So, did the real life examples match up with what you imagined? Do you still think you can make the small space lifestyle work for you and your family?

Tell us in the comments below.

For more on small home design, follow us Pinterest and check out all of our awesome curated picks on small spaces

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