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I lived in a 600sqft studio apartment for ~5 years with my wife. For the last year of it with our oldest daughter.

I found that size of house to be pretty great.

Then we found out we were having twins. Now we live in a 1200sqft townhouse, which is also pretty nice.

It seems plenty big for what we need. The thing that always amuses me is that all our relatives are wondering when we'll move into a "real" house. Apparently this one is just a "starter" and too small for longer term living in their eyes.

Currently live in a 62 sqm (667 sqft) 2 bed flat with my wife and 18 mo. old daughter. Friends think of the place as huge.

We just bought a 52 square meter house, but we did it cash - no mortgage (just took the deposit we'd saved for a city home and looked outside the city instead). That's worth more to me than a lot of space. Though I might be cheating because there are some outbuildings which can hold washer/dryer and tools, etc.

We also paid all cash for our place. Looking at what our bills are currently, and adding a mortgage to it, I think we'd be living much closer to paycheck-to-paycheck if we had that over our heads. Very happy that we lived frugally for several years and were able to build up enough savings to pay for our place outright.

The key in our situation is we went for a townhouse, which for whatever reason seems to knock 30-50% off the asking price. I guess people really don't like stairs and living immediately next to people.

Hah, in our case the key was going for an old but very small farmhouse, about a 15-20 minute bike ride from a train station so if needed car-free commuting could be doable (albeit not ideal). Most homes here are semi-detached, meaning you have party walls.

I love living next to good neighbours. It's tough to know what you're going to get before moving in, though.

Reserve passing judgement until your three kids are in middle school. Your relatives may know something you don't. (Or maybe they don't)

I agree there may come a time when we need to upgrade to something different.

A lot of it comes off similarly to the dentist I had once who told me I needed to get my wisdom teeth removed immediately because getting them removed when I'm 70 would be much more of an issue.

There is a lot of time between now and then, and I think it makes more sense to prioritize my current needs and keep my options open than to prematurely decide what I will want in ten or fifteen years.

That's rather like the story of Nasrudin and the Sultan's Horse.


Had never heard of Nasrudin before. Looks very interesting.

Upbringing and personality has something to do with it too.

Folks who grew up in the country with wide open spaces feel claustrophobic in small spaces.

City people are happy with 400-600 sqft/person. It's an exercise in minimalism and frugality.

What I think the biggest part of it might be, really, is the size of furniture and other "things" people think they need.

If you tried to fit two couches and three chairs into our living room like my parents have, it wouldn't work.

We also don't have a "kitchen table" and a "dining room table" like my parents do.

Yes, we'd probably have a hard time hosting 30 people for a holiday, but that seems like an odd standard to base your home purchase around.

> but that seems like an odd standard to base your home purchase around

My wife and I made several house (and furniture) purchase decisions based off this. Big families like to have big parties in family settings - it's an important feature of the house for us.

We've made do in ~300 square feet in the past, and just didn't enjoy the compromises on comfort and the constant extra effort to keep the space livable.

Yea. I think it's all about personal priorities. And also letting your own priorities dictate your life rather than those of the people around you.

I live in Japan and live a mostly traditional lifestyle (although I work from home, which is super weird). Our furniture consists of: 1 kotatsu (basically a big coffee table with a heater attached to it), an end table that I use as a work desk, another end table that has a printer on it, a stool that I sit on when I work and a very small makeup table (that my wife never uses, but instead houses various junk ;-) ). We sit on the floor on zabuton (cushions) and sleep at night on futons (which are folded up and in the closed during the day). That is literally it.

It's incredible what a difference no furniture makes. It's very hard to entertain non-Japanese people, though... I've got some folding camping chairs in the closet, so it's very "rustic" at those times. It also took me a long time to get flexible enough to sit on the floor all the time! But it's good for your body.

I'm not going to suggest this is a solution for most people :-) I have been surprised at how much I enjoy it, though. I find it very comfortable and it's nice that the rooms are big, open and uncluttered (even though they are very small -- our entire apartment consists of 3 rooms, two of which are about 150 square feet and the other is about 120 square feet (that excludes the bathroom, toilet and entrance, so I guess the entire apartment is about 550 square feet?)

The major problem I have with such a small space is that I need more storage room (especially in the kitchen). I've lived in a house that was just a bit bigger than this (probably on the order of 700 square feet) and it was just perfect for me. Unfortunately, in our small town, there was literally nothing that big available when we were looking so we ended up with this.

When I lived in Canada, I had owned a huge house: something like 3000 square feet, with 3 bathrooms. My kitchen was probably half the size of the apartment I live in now :-). It was full of furniture: I had a sitting room with couches and chairs, a dining room with dining table, cabinets, etc, another living room with more couches and chairs, and 3 furnished bedrooms. I was single at the time and had to invite friends to come and live with me -- it was like living in a mansion. What a lot of work! I never had time to enjoy it.

It's weird how your idea of luxury can change :-) I literally can't even imagine living in that old house any more.

Exactly this! We got rid of out dinning table because we were always eating in front of the TV or the PC. We got rid of the couch because we were always watching TV from bed. We didn't see the point in keeping these only to very rarely have people come over. We can meet outside or they can deal with the no table no couch setup, I won't live in a more crowded space for them.

Honestly I find it strange for some people to have TVs in their bedroom. I think it's nice to have some separation of concerns. I think sleep quality is better when the bedroom is mainly for sleep. Have you thought about moving the TV out of the bedroom?

When I was a kid most people in my neighborhood didn't have a TV in their living room either. It would have been too casual. The TV was in a "den" or "family room" and the living room was the formal room where the adults would gather and kids weren't allowed in it.

I would joke with my parents "why is it called a living room when we can't live in it"

For context, TV at that time meant a handful of channels received over the air, and a "big" screen was 19 inches.

Yeah. Growing up, we had a "TV room" upstairs--sort of an upstairs family room. Guests, meals, most family activities, etc. were always downstairs.

I guess I've kept a similar pattern. My TV is in a little dedicated TV room. I have another wall-mounted TV but it's mostly just a big digital picture frame. [ADDED: I watch TV/movies but I don't really like to mix it in with other activities for the most part.]

Actually it's a debate my wife and I had for a while but our situation became more strange than that. We now have the bed in the living room and we just turn off every power bars when we go to sleep to not have any lights disturb our sleep.

Some of the reason behind is separation of concerns strangely enough. I work from home, we live in a 1 bedroom apartment, and I felt really stressed whenever I would play video game or watch TV while still in the very same space I worked all day. I was basically doing everything in the same 10sqft all day every day. Now, because it's in another room, I feel way more relaxed.

Another plus is now I get the sun up right in front of me from bed every morning and that's just an awesome feeling I didn't get from the bedroom. I believe the bedroom should be oriented south east to get that morning sunshine to wake you up, and we didn't get that before.

That sounds like a pretty workable arrangement in a small 1 bedroom apartment. Bedroom for the office and living room for the bed/everything else works too. I probably would prioritize that work/play separation more than the sleep/tv separation.

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