tiny homes movement

The tiny homes movement gaining traction in the United States seems like spatial extremism to some people – what average family could possibly get by in under 1000 square feet? It turns out that in some countries, that amount is actually already above average.

Floor space infographic

The above infographic (shown in metric above for our audiences abroad, but also in square feet at the bottom of this page) illustrates just how unusual the situation is in America. Outside of Australia, coming in near second and itself a land with a very low population density, homes in the US are huge.

From the BBC:

“The sofa won’t fit into the living room. There’s not enough room for children to play in the kitchen as you cook. And where’s the recycling bin meant to go? These are some of the complaints from residents of new-build developments surveyed by Cabe, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.”

“The floor area and room sizes are the smallest in Europe – the average room in a newly built dwelling in France is 26.9 square metres, compared with 15.8 square metres in the UK – and, the graph below shows how British new-builds are less than half the size of those in the United States and Australia.”

downsizing infographic

And this is not a historic constant for the United States either – it represents a huge uptick in average square footage over the past few decades, in which homeowners have demanded (or been sold) the idea of a larger home.

small homes in square feet

Keep in mind that these are averages – so for all of those large homes skewing the data upward, there are likely some ultra-small spaces bringing the overall data back down.

In fact, while tiny houses get a lot of press, micro apartments are a more common sight in many cities around the world. Check out a surprisingly airy design in Poland measuring just 140 square feet and a 320-square-foot attic apartment in The Hague that makes the most of odd angles.

Infographics and information via Urban OmnibusBBC and Apartment Therapy.