The Ideal House Size And Layout To Raise A Family (2024)

This post will look at the ideal house size and layout to raise a family and live your best life. I have bought and sold seven homes since 2003 and currently own six homes. Each house has a different layout.

The value of a house has gone way up given more people are spending more time at home post pandemic. Larger houses with views, yards, hot tubs, and pools are in demand. Home offices are also a must have for millions more people who work-from-home nowadays.

When you have a family, you simply want what's best for your kids. Further, when you have kids, you will also desire to have a lot more space so you can think. Young children are particularly noisy and can bother you when working if you don't have a great house layout and enough space.

Both my wife and I work from home with two young children. As a result, a good house layout that accommodates our work and family life is important.

Increase Our Home Size And Improved The Layout

The only time I want a mega-mansion is when my in-laws or parents come to visit. I fantasize how it'd be nice to put my guests in a separate wing with their own kitchen, bathroom, and living area. This way, we can all keep our independence while also sharing family time every day.

We used to live in a modest 1,920 square foot home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was plenty of space for my wife and me and our baby boy. Once we had our daughter and the pandemic hit, we decided to buy a ~3,000 square foot forever home in mid-2020.

The extra 1,000 square feet of space was welcome. So were the extra floors, ironically. You'd think an ideal layout would be all rooms on one floor. However, with the constant crying and whining of children, it's been fantastic to have multiple levels for less disturbance. The more sections in the house with more separation, the better.

We could have purchased an even larger, more expensive home. However, it was already risky enough buying a more expensive home in mid-2020 once the lockdowns began. But I know the gut remodel we had started six months earlier was going to take much longer than expected.

Further, we also wanted to generate more passive income to avoid having to go back to work. Therefore, we are more than happy living below our means.

Every single room we have is fully utilized now that we have two children and both work from home. There's a nice view of the ocean and enough space for a hot tub and kids to run around outside.

The neighborhood is also extremely quiet, which is a big change from our previous residence that recurrently experienced drunken frat bros screaming nonsense at 2am.

We've found the ideal home size and layout for the next 10 years. If you're looking to find the same, please read on.

The Ideal Size And Layout For A Middle-Class Family House

In determining the ideal house size and layout to raise children, I'd like to operate under the confines of a middle class household.

To do otherwise would cause too much controversy and take away from the purpose of helping expecting families or existing families buy (or rent) the most family-friendly house.

To start, the median home price in America is roughly $420,000 or 5.6X the national median household income of roughly $75,000 as of 2024. Therefore, wherever you are, owning a home equal to roughly 4X – 6X your household income puts you in the middle class.

Conversely, dividing your area's median home price by 4 – 6 gives you an approximate middle class household income e.g. $300,000 household income living in a $1.5M SF home.

In the past, it was always a good idea to limit your house purchase to no more than 3X your household income. But due to a decline in interest rates since the 1980s, families have been able to stretch.

Check the latest mortgage rates with Credible for free. Credible is my favorite lending marketplace where lenders compete for your business so you can get the best rate.

I do not recommend spending more than 5X your household income on a home. 3X is what I suggest most readers pay with a 20% downpayment. Regardless, banks won't lend you more than a 42% debt-to-income ratio (DTI) anyway.

Now that we've established some parameters, let's get into the details.

The Ideal House Size For A Family Of Four

Owning a house equal to +/- 25% 2,422 square feet, the median size house as of 2023 gives you a typical middle class house size.

Since we don't want to go outside the confines of the middle class, the ideal house size is therefore between 1,816 – 3,027 square feet for a family of four. You can certainly go smaller, but there are some considerations that may crimp your lifestyle.

The ideal house size is one in which you feel comfortable while also having a high utilization of space. If you buy a house too big, you'll have excess maintenance headaches, higher maintenance bills, more cleaning to do, higher heating bills, and likely higher property taxes.

Owning a house too big is like driving a diesel bus when there's only four of you – a big waste of money. You won't feel good about owning a non-ideal house size with a bad layout.

The Optimal Square Feet Per Person For The Ideal House Size

A smart way to figure out the ideal house size is to think in square feet per person. Will you feel comfortable having 400 square feet, 500 square feet, 800 square feet, or 1,000 square feet of space to yourself?

I believe the ideal square feet per person is about 600 – 700. This means for a family of three, the ideal house size is 1,800 – 2,100 square feet. For a family of four, the ideal house size is between 2,400 – 2,800 square feet and so forth.

It's up to you to decide how much space you're most comfortable with up to 3,027 square feet (if you consider yourself middle class). If you live in a big city, due to high housing costs, you may be forced to adapt to smaller apartment living.

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Related: To Make Money In Real Estate Focus On Expansion

The Ideal Number Of Bedrooms

Ideally, your house should have enough rooms per person to sleep individually + one room for guests or an office. In other words, if there are two adults and one baby, the ideal number of bedrooms would be four . For two adults and two kids, the ideal number of bedrooms would be five and so forth.

After working together as a team feeding and changing diapers every 1 – 3 hours for the first three months,one or both spouseswillneed to go back to work.

Having the option to sleepalonein your own bedroom is important given babies often wake up multiple times during the nightthefirst year, and sometimes up to the first threeyears. It's nice for at least one partner to get a full night's restandbe more productive at work the next day.

So far we have had my wife's sister, wife's parents, my parents, and my sister visit. Any more than two people staying with us at one time is too crowded. Even two for more than a week feels tight.

With our current three bedrooms + nursery, having one guest is the ideal guest count where we still have enough space to feel free.

The Ideal Number Of Bathrooms

In a perfect world, each bedroom will haveitsown attached bathroom. This is called an en suite bathroom. With only one bathroom upstairs at our houseto service the occupants oftwo bedrooms and day guests, we have to keep the bathroom cleaner thanwenormally would.

Further, when overnight guests are over, there is sometimes a wait period sinceit seemswe all tend to wake up andneedtogoto the bathroom at the same time.

On the the living and dining room floor, there should ideally be at least a half bathroom for non-overnight guests. It's efficient and easier to keep clean. It feels a little weird having guests use our toilet, especially when they need to take a growler.

Having a his and her sink is a great feature for the master bathroom. Further, having a separate shower and tub plus a private toilet stall really opens up the space.

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The Ideal Number Of House Floors

Having one floorwithno stairs is ideal for babies, toddlers, and elderly folks. Stairs are a safety hazard. Every time I carry my baby upordown the stairs I hang onto him and the railing for dear life. I've missed a step or slipped before by myself, and I don't plan to do so again with such precious cargo.

If land is too expensive to have a one story house, then two floors is the second best thing. Make sure the stairs are carpeted or at least comfortably wide and not too steep. The edges of stairs can cause a big gash.

Four story houses or greater may be difficult navigate for young children and for older adults. However, as I said in the beginning, having multiple floors for separation and quiet is ideal for work-from-home parents.

Personally, I like houses with two or three stories.

The Ideal Number Of House Floors For Older People

After the age of 60, the ideal number of stores is one or two.

The ideal house layout would have a main floor that you enter right off the street. The main floor has a kitchen, multiple bedrooms, and multiple ensuite bathrooms so you never have to go up or down a floor if you are older.

Falling and breaking hips and other bones is a common injury for older people. By having everything on one floor off the street, you minimize injuries, decrease stress, save money, and maximize happiness.

The Ideal House Layout For Bedrooms

If you have a baby, it's important to keep him or her close by. The nursery should share a wall with your master bedroom. Or the baby can sleep with you in your room for the first year of life. If you have small children, the ideal house layout is all on one floor. But that's hard to come up in expensive cities.

As for the other bedrooms, ideally no other bedrooms will share walls for added privacy and sound proofing. It's nice to have a closet or a bathroom as a buffer between bedrooms.

With a one story house, each bedroom would ideally be on each side of the house. If two bedrooms are on the same floor, it should be buffered by a closet or a bathroom.

For two or more story houses, you don't want to have your bedrooms on top of each other. Instead, have one or two bedrooms in the front of the house. Then have one or two bedrooms in the back of the house.

Main Bedroom Should Be On The Quiet Side Of The House

The master bedrooms should be in the rear of the house away from thestreet.

It is unbelievable how muchour sleepimproved(before the baby)afterwe moved into ournewhousewhich situatedour master bedroominthe rear. Every time I nap, I also fall asleepquicker andsleepmore soundly in our rear facing bedroom.

If you work from home, having a great house floor plan is vital. Ideally, you don't have bedrooms over common areas. Further, it's good to have offices on different ends of the house or on different floors for more privacy.

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Related: The Best Time To Own The Nicest House You Can Afford

The Ideal House Grounds / Lot Size

Ideally, your home will be surrounded by flat land. The larger the buffer between your house's front entrance and the sidewalk and road, the better for noise and safety. Ideally, you'll have an enclosed fence for privacy. An enclosed yard is great for kids and dogs to run around safely.

Flat land is much more valuable than hilly land. When searching for a house, always ask how much of the lot is flat. If your house is on a hill, ideally it has a number of large decks to enjoy. We built large decks on two of our other rental properties with ocean views and they are amazing.

If you are on a hill, like we are, much of our land in the rear was unusable. As a result, we created about 1,200 square feet of flat tiers. We now use one of the tiers for the hot tub, one tier as a playground, and another tier just for plants.

Living near public parks, playgrounds, and libraries in a walkable distance is definitely a plus. The ideal house surroundings should have a lot of outdoor activities.

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Related: Why The Housing Market Won't Crash Any Time Soon

The Ideal Direction A House Faces For Better Feng Shui

You know how some houses feel really warm and cozy, while others have an uncomfortable vibe? Location and layout have a lot to do with how a house feels, but so does its direction. This is called good feng shui. You can just feel the good feng shui when you enter a house.

The quieter the street your house is located on, the better. Think veins instead of arteries. My old house was on a busy artery next to the biggest artery in all of San Francisco. My current house is on a vein in a neighborhood called Golden Gate Heights where there are no apartment buildings. The difference is night and day.

You want your main rooms to either face east or west. Some people like to wake up to the morning sun (east). While others like to wind down to a lovely sunset (west). Decide what type of person you are and then see if the main rooms face your preferred direction. How light fills your house is an extremely important part of the feel of your house.

A house facing north tends to be the least desirable since the least amount of sun enters the house. That said, if you have windows on all sides of the house, it doesn't really matter. A house facing south gets the most sun throughout the day, which is generally positive. However, too much sun can often be overwhelming and too hot, even if you live in more moderate climates.

Related: Income And Net Worth Requirements To Buy A House At Different Price Points

Buy A Slightly Larger House Than You Think Is Ideal

Below is the living room of our old house we bought in 2014. It was a fixer with two bedrooms and a full bathroom upstairs, and a main bedroom and main bathroom upstairs.

We actually spent big bucks creating a large, 175 square foot, master bathroom. But the house was too small for two kids, so we bought another house in 2019.

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A baby really does shrink the size of your house by ~30%. Above is a picture of our old 1,920 square foot house. Right smack dab in the middle of our living room was a big play pen.

We also turned another bedroom into a playroom and our office/walk-in closet turned into nursery. At the time, we wish we had an extra half bathroom and family room.

The Next Dream House

If and when we upgrade homes we'll probably look for a 3,000 – 4,000 square foot house on a flat lot with all the above attributes in mind. We're looking into the future when both my wife and I get old. Further, we'll have to take care of one or both sets of parents.

If money isn'tany issue, we probably still won'tbuy a house bigger than 4,000 square feet. Instead,wewillfocus on buying a newly constructed property with more flat land, better insulation, and fewer problems. With land, you never need to call the plumber!

The ideal house size and layout is one where you can truly enjoy your home. You want to have enough space for everyone. You also don't want to feel a tremendous financial crunch every time you have to pay the bills. Once you have kids, you'll find that the value you your house goes way up.

As the work-from-home movement grows, the ideal house size and layout will likely continue to grow. The ideal home will expand to make room for a home office and a children's play area.

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Real Estate Recommendation

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Personally, I've invested $954,000 in real estate crowdfunding to diversify my real estate and earn income 100% passively. Both platforms are affiliate partners of Financial Samurai and Financial Samurai is an investor in a Fundrise fund.

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The Ideal House Size And Layout To Raise A Family (2024)


What size house is needed for a family? ›

The Number Of People In Your Home

If you're a family of four, multiply 4 x 600. That would mean you should look for homes around 2,400 square feet. If it's just you and a partner or roommate, you'd multiply 2 x 600, and look for a home around 1,200 square feet.

What is a good size house for a family of 8? ›

Square Footage

Visualizing the square feet of a room or house that matches your family size can help you choose the right home size. On average, the ideal square footage is about 600 – 700 square feet per person.

What is the perfect house layout? ›

Ideally, to provide the best layout for your family, there should be one bathroom for every two bedrooms in the house. Homeowners who entertain frequently should choose a house layout that has a full or a half-guest bathroom near the living area. The guest bathroom should be downstairs in homes with multiple floors.

What is the most desirable home size? ›

This means for a family of three, the ideal house size is 1,800 – 2,100 square feet. For a family of four, the ideal house size is between 2,400 – 2,800 square feet and so forth.

Can a family of 5 live in 1000 sq ft? ›

5 People, 1,000 Square Feet, No Problem!

How much space does a family really need? ›

For a family of five, that range becomes 1,000–2,000. However, other sources recommend 600–700 square feet per person, with others going as high as 1,000 square feet per person.

What is a bad home layout? ›

Bad layouts include a staircase that's facing the door, adjoining bedrooms, and no views from one room to another. Keep in mind that you'll likely sell the home at some point, and a bad layout could make it more challenging to sell.

What is the strongest house design? ›

Architecturally speaking, triangles are the strongest house shape. Think of some of the world's most famous architectural marvels: the Louvre Pyramid, the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Eiffel Tower.

What is the ideal house placement? ›

More often than not, homeowners are looking for spaces with lots of natural light, says Trapasso, which is what makes South-facing homes so desirable. “Southern exposure typically provides the brightest, all-day, natural light compared to a softer, more indirect (and often darker) North-facing light,” she explains.

What size house sells best? ›

At the highest end, midsize homes are selling faster than both larger and smaller ones, according to Last year, homes in the top 1% by price nationwide that measured between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet were on the market for an average of 97 days before selling.

How many bedrooms should a family of 5 have? ›

Occupancy Standards
Number of Family MembersBedrooms
3 - 42
5 - 63
7 - 84
9 - 105
2 more rows

How many square feet for a family of 5? ›

So the short answer is that yes, absolutely you can live in 1,500 square feet comfortably. You only need something like 300 square feet per person to live comfortably.

Is a 3000 sq ft house too big? ›

Houses of 3000 to 3500 square feet are large enough to create a luxury home that can suit almost any family. Features such as high ceilings, an expansive master suite, home office, media room, or separate guest space can easily fit in an upper-mid-size home plan.

Is a 4000 sq ft house too big? ›

So it's fair to say that a five-bedroom, 4,000-square-foot house could be considered very, very big by most standards.

Is a 2500 square-foot house big? ›

Is 2,500 square feet considered a big house? Yes, 2,500 square feet is bigger than average. According to U.S. Census data, the average newly built single-family home in 2022 measured 2,299 square feet.

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