Real estate has gone through some tremendous changes
in the last 40 years. House & Garden magazine surveyed and
researched some eye-opening facts that mirror our changing lifestyles.
The research showed that eight areas have seen
significant changes over the years:
1) Size: Our homes are much larger than our
parents’ homes. “...The average single-family home grew from 1,695
square feet to 2,349”, states House & Garden. Especially
interesting is that even though our families are smaller in size
(dropping from 3.1 people to 2.6), a “quarter of homes built in 1974 had
four or more bedrooms; more than a third do today”.
Flex Space: Our homes today, “include a
first-level room that can be used variously as an in-law’s suite, a
crafts room, or a media room. Increasingly, these flex rooms do double
duty...On the second level, flex space gets a luxury spin. Usually
connected to the master suite, the rooms provide a place for a home
massage, a manicure, or hairstyling.
Even though our homes have gotten
larger, the kitchen floor space percentage hasn’t increased markedly.
“...a kitchen of the early 1970s took up about 150 square fee-10 percent
of the house-today’s kitchen, at 280, is nearly double the size but
still only 12 percent of the house.” Appliance sizes, though, has
“Forty-three percent of starter
homes built this year will contain high-speed wiring that allows
homeowners to network their home computers, play movies in multiple
rooms, and have sophisticated phone systems”. Flat screen and
high-definition TVs will be the centerpiece of the “media rooms”,
surround-sound audio, TiVo and even room-darkening window treatments to
The average ceiling height in the 1970s
was 7 feet 9 feet inches. Today a standard ceiling on the first floor is
9 feet and 8 feet on the second level.
Living and Dining:
This is where the biggest
changes have occurred. “Occupying 9 percent of the house, the living
room is rapidly diminishing, often disappearing altogether. In 2004,
more than a third of buyers of single-family homes said they would
forego a proper living room. The great room trend continues to increase.
The dining room has shrunken as well, “to a barely functional 10 by 12
Bedrooms have gotten a great deal
larger over the years. “From the 1930s to the ’60s, homes traditionally
had 9-by-10 foot bedrooms. By the ‘70s and ’80s, people had begun
spending more time in their bedrooms, doing homework, watching TV,
talking on the phone, having friends sleep over. Today a bedroom smaller
that 11 by 11 feet is rare, and 12 by 12 feet has become standard.”
Along with the larger bedrooms came the larger bed!
“Only in the late ’70s did the average
master bath gain a full tub. A mere 20 percent of homes built then had
two and a half bathrooms. Today that figure is up to 57 percent, and of
those homes, one-quarter have at least three full baths.