If you are looking to move home you will probably have viewed one of the many brand new houses or apartments on offer. They can be very tempting with their sparkling new fittings and open plan spaces, and even the smallest homes seem to have at least two bathrooms, but are they really as spacious as they seem? Research from the UK government’s national archives by CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) assessed whether there is enough space for furniture and the storage of personal possessions, and enough room for residents to cook, eat, relax and socialise in new private sector homes.
Their research shows that many homeowners do not feel the space in their homes is adequate for basic everyday activities and suggests that new private homes require more space to be fit for purpose.
Until 1980 there were defined space requirements for local authority housing that were generally adhered to by private sector house builders but these standards no longer exist, although minimum space standards are still required for social housing. Not surprisingly, according to CABE, much of the new build private sector housing does not meet the adequate space needs of the residents and as a consequence the UK tends to have much smaller new homes than other European countries.
CABE’s research involved questioning over 11,000 households and the results indicated that the space needed by residents was not being provided by the market. Even in homes that were not fully occupied, the extra bedroom(s) did not typically provide enough space and homeowners were constantly trying to squeeze more space out of their home. This means that many homes are not adaptable to the changing needs of growing families without expensive alterations or extensions.
Storage is a basic and yet essential requirement of every home, whether it’s small or large. We all need somewhere to store our clothes, household equipment, food etc., but the majority of new home residents feel they have inadequate storage space. Even when it comes to basic living requirements there is often not enough space for the furniture that residents would like to have and not enough space to choose how to layout the furniture in a particular room.
So before you decide on your next home, think carefully about how you would actually live there – where would your furniture be positioned, where would you store all your belongings, and is their enough space which is adaptable enough to change with your growing family’s needs?