How big is your house? What size makes a good family home?

We are looking to move to our forever / long term home. Our house is a good size (950 sq ft but extra upstairs as our bedrooms go over the alleyway) but its a town house with a parking space as opposed to a drive way, has no garage. utility room or ensuite.

We love our area and yesterday I spoke to our builder as he is currently building detached houses. He showed me plans and the one I like is a corner site so private, big drive, garage. Internally it ticks all our boxes re utility room ensuite- its all bay windows and looks so pretty!

Its only 100 sq ft more than we are currently in but will be more even proportioned as it will be equal over the 2 floors. Ive asked if he he could even squeeze it out to 1200 sq ft and he is to come back to me with proper measurements as the 1050sq ft is not taking into consideration the bay window extra space in the living room, dining area and 2 front bedrooms.

Is 1050sq ft too small for a family home? We'll  only ever have 2 children max. I know our bedrooms will be much smaller but we dont use that space, I would much rather have a utility room than big bedrooms. It would be so nice to be in from start and pick everything exactly to our taste - ours was new but already had kitchen etc. Builder has agreed to patio doors in kitchen so in 5 years time we could always add on a sunroom without much hassle - we'll have plenty of room in our garden to do so.

Im just waiting now on the builder giving me a price and the plans - if we like it, it is ours no problem. We put our house up for sale yesterday and have 3 viewings for sat so I am hopeful this will all go smooth!

What are your necessities for a family home? What could you do without and what is essential for relatively stress free family living?



  • When we moved to our current house, I was looking for a 3 bedroom house with space for a dining table, either in a dining room or kitchen/diner, good sized bedrooms, large garden, garage and generally spacious throughout. We also wanted the right area, ideally a village with amenities and schools nearby.

    We got all of that, and since we've extended so added another bedroom with ensuite, large hallway with downstairs toilet and utility room. Those things have really made the difference and I'd definitely want a downstairs toilet with children, room for a tumble dryer/clothes drying indoors and space to get the pram parked indoors. The area is also important and I love being within walking distance of school and in a community which we now really feel part of with lots going on.

    Hope the builder comes back with what you want!

  • Our house is larger than we needed, but there are other things we fell in love with, that made such a difference to us, so it's hard to comment just on that, but things that are important to me in terms of quality of life:

    En suite

    More living space, less bedroom space (if it's a choice between the two)

    Cupboards/storage, particularly kitchen/hall

    A functioning dining area (whether kitchen table or separate room) that is always clear and ready to eat at

    Some external storage (shed/garage/something)

    Somewhere for a pram/bike to be chucked when necessary

    Lots of windows

    My previous place was a detached bungalow with humungous garden but modest-sized bedrooms so I put a log cabin/games room/gym out there, which was a great move with a teenager, and something I would recommend as a halfway house for folk with older kids feeling that space is getting tight.

  • I think our house is about that, maybe a bit more due to the extension at the back (I had to look up a similar semi detached in our area on right move for sq footage), and it's alright, but the bedrooms aren't huge.  The nursery is slightly bigger than other cot rooms I've seen, but definitely wouldn't fit a whole nursery suite of furniture.  As it is it fits an small cot, poang chair, and expedit bookshelf perfectly, so it's adequate.  The downstairs is what sold us on the house, though.  As it's open plan there's so much room, and there is space for us to get a tumble dryer at some point when drying all baby's clothes gets too much (am thinking around day 7?).

    We do have scope to do a loft extension, though, which is probably something to be considered in 5 years or so.  For now, we love the house to bits!

  • Our house is quite large (1300 sq ft) for 2 of us (with one on the way) and we can see it working for us plus 2 or 3 children.

    We bought it from new but made some adaptations over the years to make it work for us and a family.

    We made downstairs open plan and have recently converted our garage into a downstairs lounge and utility room/wc. For us having open plan space downstairs was really important and having a 2nd lounge/playroom so that as children get older there is room for everyone with different interests!

    Having an ensuite bathroom is something I could never be without now and also a separate utility room!

  • Yous are all reaffirming my thoughts ie downstairs toilet, en suite, utility room & garage / outdoor storage.

    Were in a great area for primary schools, grammar schools, 5mins from OH work & 5min from train station for me so we really want to stay in this area.

    I just hope he can make the house slightly bigger than it's planned for at the moment, although I wouldn't mind losing a bit of our current living room & kitchen for a utility room but I wouldn't want to lose too much!!

    He had just sold a 1350sq ft before we started looking but it didn't have a utility room & no  space for extending so it wouldn't have worked for us anyway.

    OH is so excited at thought of having a garage, I think he might sleep there lol

    Thanks for the replies folks!

  • Our current house has a decent size lounge and massive open plan kitchen/ family room/ dining room type thing at the back so downstairs is great except the smallest cloakroom ever! Upstairs has 2 good doubles and a box room.

    What I've realised is upstairs room doesn't matter that much as toys are all downstairs and you live downstairs really.

    We're looking at newbuilds. I want 3 doubles so both boys can have double beds when teenagers, a 4th bedroom ideally as a spare, downstairs I want a big ki
  • Diner so I can have the kids in there whilst I'm cooking etc, ideally a study as I work from home.

    In a perfect world a utility would be great too but kitchen size more important.

    I think you have to live in a few to know what works for you
  • As you know I'm just at the house selling and buying stage but my requirements are a big living room, kitchen with space for quite a big dining table plus breakfast bar, master ensuite, 4 bedrooms, double garage and utility. The house I think we will go for is 1600sq and it's got everything I want plus a study downstairs which will be used as a playroom probably.

    I wanted the bedrooms to all be doubles as well.

  • Our current house has pretty much all we want or the capacity to add/change things to what we want. We each wrote our 10 main needs and it matched most of them.

    H wanted a garage, study, and it had to be close to the canal / river. Preferably back on the water. I wanted an art room, nice garden and somewhere that didn't need too much DIY and no low ceilings. We both wanted to stay in the village (great location, close to our works, good schools etc) three bedroom, lots of space, quiet culdisac location, separate dining and living room. We also have, a downstairs toilet, and an en suite, neither of which we wanted but both are great. The thing I love most though and now would never buy a house without is a south facing garden. It is lovely, we have sun so much of the time, it's so nice to be out in and things grow which is fab, as I love growing veg.

  • Raincloud, we agreed a top ten, then the 3 of us had to rank all ten in order of importance so they had a clear rating. We also ranked each house and worked out which house (we viewed more than 20) gave the highest score per £1k. We had a clear winner, luckily :)

    Ladies, in terms of sq foot... Is that based on the rooms or literally the footprint of the house? Just trying to get some context as have never talked about houses in those terms.

  • When we were looking to move, our list of must-haves were:

    Large kitchen with space for a table of some sort

    Utility room

    Dining room

    4 bedrooms


    Double garage and driveway


    Downstairs loo

    Close to amenities

    The house we found, and now live in, fit the bill perfectly as our ideal home. We have 4 bedrooms (2 with ensuite), a main bathroom and a decent sized downstairs loo. We have a nice open hallway, dining room and study. I fell in love with the kitchen as soon as I walked in - a really decent size with an island in the middle and what we call the breakfast room on the side. We have french doors leading out to the garden from the breakfast room and living room with a door to the garden from the utility room.

    I can't tell you the size sq ft but it's L shaped!

    ETA we always hoped to have 2 children so for us a 4 bed is a minimum - 1 bedroom each, plus ours, plus a room for guests. 

  • No idea what sq ft ours is but it's quite small.  It's fine for us just now but I'd love to extend if we can ever afford to. We currently have 3 bedrooms - one is tiny. Small bathroom,  downstairs loo, lounge/dining room and a decent enough kitchen.  We have 3 kids so it's fine while they're small but the bedrooms aren't really big enough for teenagers

  • We are looking at buying else where too my list is


    Driveway (currently cant park outside house)

    big kitchen

    3 bedrooms if scope to extend

    4 ideally

    private secure garden
  • We're just packing up to move into a 3 bed semi in a quiet cul de sac with garage, large driveway, lounge diner and 3 good sized bedrooms but we're just coming out of rebting so not in a pisition to buy a forever home just now. This is superior to our present property though, so a step up for us.

    My ideal would be:

    4 bed, detached or semi

    garage and drive

    Lounge diner or open plan living space

    Conservatory or option to add (playroom!)

    Downstairs wc

    well proportioned bedrooms (1 used as a study for H's work)

    I wouldn't personally consider a utility room a necessity as long as kitchen provided ample space for seperate washer and dryer x

  • We wanted lots of cupboards which our house has! It does mean that the rooms are smaller but we have so much storage. This was a priority for us as we hate having everything on show.

    Originally i wanted separate dining room, but we compromised on kitchen diner but really we rarely used the dining room in our old house. Kitchen with space for washing machine and dishwasher and loads of cupboards.

    We wanted 3 bedrooms. With the smallest room big enough to use! We can get a single bed, drawers and wardrobe easily or a double at a very tight squeeze! The other two bedrooms are pretty big and can get kings in comfortably. We have a cotbed and chair in our room currently along With all other furniture without it being In the way.

    Our biggest compromises were the bathroom. It's small. But got everything in it you need. Plus we have the downstairs loo. And parking. We don't have a drive way (our house doesn't have a road to the front, we're on a bit of green!) but we so have a mini carpark which we share with 2 neighbours and it  has space for 8 cars without blocking eachother in (prob 12 if we blocked in!) which is not a driveway, but a bloody good alternative! We have access through a gate in back garden.

    It's in a lovely village, good school, close to river and fields.

  • Area is definately really important!

    Ideally we would like 4 bedrooms but as this house will be a corner site we will easily be able to extend in the future if necessary - I diont know if we'll have another but if we do I would definately like some extra room.

    Counter Im like you, I hate things sitting out and for me everything has to have a place! Lots of storage & cupboard space is a must,

    Cheers for the replies folks - we have 3 viewings tomorrow and another on Monday already and the house only went up Wedensday, hopefully this will all pan out perfectly for us :)

  • Good luck! :)

    I actually miss house viewing and comparing. We had 2 couples for dinner the other night and we all moved house within the same 6 month period last year yet we all still keep a nose for what's in the area, what's happening with local agents, prices etc. Husband wants to stay where we are for ever. I'm not so sure!

  • We fell in love with our house and put an offer in an hour after viewing. The house was an absolute dump and my parents begged me not to buy it, but I could see the potential of what it could be and we got it for a song because of the state it was in. It had features I'd always wanted like 10 foot high ceilings, original coving and staircase, a pantry like my Grandma used to have and a spare reception room to convert into a man den for the OH's xbox and football matches. It's been a long hard slog and we're still not there but I do love it.  I'd always wanted loads of space but hadn't realised the downsides of it, like huge heating bills, and spending hours and hours cleaning just downstairs and in all honesty we don't even use some rooms from one day to the next, and that's after I knocked 2 rooms into 1 because I wasn't sure what to use them for . So if I was to move I'd now go for something with plenty of space just not too much.

    I've just re-read that and it sounds like a mansion lol, it's not that big but it was built in 1900 so has big sized rooms and then an extension when bathrooms were moved indoors.

    My point is along with deciding what space you want, decided what you're willing to sacrifice to get it. In my case I was happy to move into a property that needed overhauling in order to be able to afford loads of space and original features. However now G is here, I probably wouldn't do it again as we lived without a kitchen for months, and had no carpets for nearly a year.

  • We have a 4 bedroom detached house, the bedrooms are all doubles, we also have a very large utility room which is great for the washing, pram and storage. We also have a downstairs toilet. Large drive to fit 4 cars and we had a building built in the garden, one half is storage we call it the shed and next door is an office. We have a large living room/dining room in one. We are close to good schools and the house works for us at the moment, I can't see me being here forever I would like to move to somewhere with maybe a bit of land or house on a bigger plot, would like an extra room downstairs and ensuite, so basically slightly bigger than we have now.

  • We have a 3 bed semi for us the must haves were outside space and place to put a big dining table!

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