A new survey reveals people are having big regrets about tiny decisions—home size, to be exact. A third of all homeowners wish they’d gone with a bigger house, suggesting our culture’s obsession with tiny homes may be waning. Almost half the homeowners in the United States have regrets over their living situation, according to a newly released survey by Trulia. That study involved asking 2,264 adults about their homes, and found the biggest cause for buyer’s remorse is size. One in three homeowners say they wish they’d gone bigger when choosing square-footage. Just nine percent wished they had chosen to downsize, instead.
Tiny homes seem like the perfect solution to multiple problems.
They often cost less than $50,000 to buy, putting them within reach as starter homes for millennials saddled with student-loan debt or as versatile options for downsizing baby boomers who don’t have extensive savings for retirement. Tiny homes use significantly less energy than homes three to 10 times their size, making them particularly sweet options for environmentalists. And because you can’t fit a lot into these dwellings, micro houses are also attractive to minimalists (and those wishing to be).
Lastly, tiny homes that fit on trailers are dreams-come-true for anyone with a strong sense of wanderlust.
For these reasons, and for all their cuteness and dreamy design potential, tiny homes have taken over magazine spreads, reality television shows, online blogs, and the imaginations of millions all over the world. But beyond tricky zoning laws, the complications of finding loans, and the challenge of locating vacant land suitable for parking a tiny home, there’s another big issue with small living: the simple inconvenience of existing inside of a glorified closet space.
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We’d all like to simplify our lives and free ourselves of clutter—and it would certainly behoove us as a society to reel in the suburban sprawl and energy waste we’ve become too accustomed to. But living in a 350-square-foot house isn’t necessarily the answer for everyone.
As the Globe and Mail points out, most tiny home owners “rent out their tiny homes or use them only as weekend getaways, and it’s not easy to find a tiny-home builder actually dwelling full-time in the product they’re selling.” The couple whose tiny-home build was documented in Tiny ended up never living in their finished product full-time. Another couple, Carrie and Shane Caverly, received much press about their switch to tiny-home living. Eighteen months later, the pair ditched the 8x24 house on a trailer and moved into an apartment.
Here's a look at the living space with the bedroom in the background. That stunning wall hanging is by the super talented @esme_design. Jason had one design request for the space – no dreamcatchers (which I happen to dig). He's not with it and doesn't realize they're for cool people. He thinks they are for creepy people in windowless vans although little does he know, I secretly want a windowless van so I can hang dreamcatchers everywhere inside it. So instead, I have macrame throughout the Airstream. Now that we've lived for a week in this new layout, we couldn't be happier! More space and now we are officially a normal couple with one bed. 😂 Backstory: Our first setup was a rear dual twin bed we lived in for the first 3 months. We tore it all apart to put in one full sized @tuftandneedle bed up front and turned the former bedroom into this living space seen in this photo.
Stories like this should give would-be tiny house dwellers a moment of pause—because what’s fun for an overnight or cross-country road trip is not necessarily going to be heaven on earth for someone in financial distress stuck inside four very small walls. In fact, living in small spaces has been associated with increased stress, withdrawn children, attention deficit issues, anxiety, and even domestic violence and substance abuse. What might seem novel at first—say, using a Murphy bed or folding out a multi-use table for dinner or work time—can add up to a lot of little, daily inconveniences that only add to a person’s daily stress level.
Those kinds of daily inconveniences are especially stressful for millennials and Gen-Y, research shows. That’s evident in the Trulia survey, where those with small-home regrets were largely comprised of 18- to 34-year-olds. So while tiny homes may still make for great getaways or temporary dwellings, our fascination with micro living may have passed its peak.