Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Even Goldilocks would agree – this size is just right. 

We love the notion of the Tiny House movement, but living in such a sliver of square footage isn’t feasible for most of us. Devoted cottage lovers, we believe that it’s possible to live a big life in a small home. In fact, we think there’s a lot of freedom in paring down. Why bother with maintaining any more than you really need? The real question is: How small is too small? We asked Lil Petrusnek, the Southern Living House Plans Manager, what’s the best size for a house and we weren’t too surprised with her response: 1500 square feet is the perfect size for a house. Here’s what Petrusnek says:

Build Fewer, but Bigger Rooms 

It’s key to think big when you’re planning how to use your 1,500 square feet! Design rooms that are large, but can have multiple purposes like a few oversized rooms, each with multiple purposes. As an empty nester, I dream of having only two glorious bedrooms – a master and guest room that are equal in size, and two-and-a-half bathrooms. If you must have three bedrooms, plan for one of the bedrooms to work in the layout as a home office, a den, or a nursery if needed.

Merge Your Kitchen and Dining Areas

Since the kitchen is one of the most valued spaces in the house, give it scale and proportion in the overall scheme by incorporating the dining space into the kitchen plan. Since most of the time is spent eating in the kitchen anyway, go ahead and make room for a dining area in here beyond just the island. Plan for an actual dining table for everyday meals as well as entertaining. Oftentimes, ample counter space and either a small piece of furniture or sturdy island-style, chopping block will work for food prep and serving so that dining and kitchen can be open to one another.

Keep the Living Room Separate

You’ve put a lot of emphasis on your combined kitchen and dining area, but don’t pack all of your living into one open room. Make a separate living room to create a flow to your floor plan and intimacy to the rooms.

Capture the Natural Light

Making ways to capture light within the house is critical to making a relatively small house feel big. Always pay attention to the placement of doors and windows to enhance the light and frame views. The more views you have to the outside the more expansive your home will feel.

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Maximize Your Outdoor Spaces

Make sure there’s an easy indoor/outdoor relationship. A plan with an open flow onto a covered porch, screened porch, or a patio is a nice way to expand living and dining areas almost all- year-round.

Rethink Your Garage

Factor smart storage into structures like your garage. Build in a basement or an attic over the garage to house things like extra furniture or Christmas decorations. Also, rethink the placement of the garage. Site it and landscape it on your lot so that it can also work as an outdoor room within your garden.