There are probably few things about a home that project as much of its personality, glamour, and yes, livability as the living room. This is true for a wide variety of reasons. First, the living room is most often the first room that greets guests after they arrive, regardless of where they actually enter a home. Second, the living room is most often the largest room in a home, which means that it can serve a wide variety of uses. This disparity of uses should be taken into serious consideration whenever a discussion of building, remodeling, or even redecorating it considered.
Next to the kitchen, the living room of your home may be the room where you spend most of the quality time you have with your family. It doesn’t matter whether you are building a new home or remodeling an old one. Regardless, you should make sure that your living room is large enough to accommodate everyone in your household, whether they be family or friends.
The Average Living Room Size
According to a report released in 2015 by the U.S. Census Bureau titled, “Characteristics of New Housing,” the average size of a new home built in the U.S. increased to an all-time high of 2,687 square feet. The median size of a new home set a new record of 2,467 square feet. Amazingly, an increase in the size of the average living room increased by more than half. It is also worth noting that the average living space per person has increased over the past 42 years, despite the fact that the size of the average family has decreased (3.01 persons per household compared with 2.54 persons in 1973. Even the average size of rooms in homes in the U.S. has increased over the past from 507 square feet to more than 971 square feet.
On a square foot basis, the cost of new home construction has remained relatively stable over the same number of years, namely with an inflation-adjusted price per square foot for new houses since 1973, in a range of about $107 to $128 per square foot.
A Very Small Living Room
For all of its complexities, there are several assumptions that can be made about a living room. First, most living rooms are rectangular. This understanding makes things significantly easier when you consider building, remodeling, or just buying furniture. When you consider this, scaling normally becomes your biggest priority. Regardless of your living room’s size, it’s important to understand hat its primary purpose is conversation. For this, most people allow for an area of 7 by 10 square feet, for a small living room. To allow people to circulate, you should add an additional 3 square feet. This would only allow for a small love seat sized couch, but for couple of people, that should be adequate.
A Small Living Room
A living room that is slightly larger than that discussed above would measure about 10 by 13 square feet in area. This size of a living room could accommodate a small couch, a small television and two chairs, and room enough for four or five people. If the television was mounted on the wall, there might be more space for moving around in the room. With a little imagination, there might also be room for a fireplace. For a small home, this is usually the optimal size for a living room. It’s not enough to entertain a larger party, but for a small get together, it is more than adequate. This size is plenty large enough for a family of four or five members to enjoy an evening together.
A Medium-Sized Living Room
Most people might call a medium living room one that is about 12 by 18 square feet in area. This would include a conversation area for about 6 to 7 people, each seated, and with a freestanding television and a fireplace. If the television is mounted on a wall, it would give more open area in the room or for another chair or small table. To accommodate 10 people you would probably need to create conversation areas in all four corners of the room. Otherwise, this medium-sized living room is usually large enough to be enjoyed by a medium-sized family, whether they be watching an evening of television or playing a game or enjoying another type of activity.
A Large Living Room
If you happen to be lucky enough to have a living room that is 15 by 20 square feet, you can call this a large living room. Fortunately, with a living room this large, you can accommodate a lot more than nearly everything else. With this amount of open area, you can bring in sofas that you can position away from the walls, creating more circulation area, perhaps even larger sofas than are more elaborate than those designed for smaller rooms. You can also use smaller furniture to create furniture groupings for separate conversation areas in other areas of the room. A large living room also allows you to bring in more furniture, including a games table or a writing desk, etc. This arrangement not only gives you more options for things to do when you have company, but it also separates the sections of the room further for more conversation opportunities. And if you decide to enjoy a table game with your friends or family, so much the better.
Even if you don’t entertain a lot of guests, or if you entertain for the most part in another room of your home, such as the kitchen or patio, you might not need a large living room. This also goes if you live in a part of the country where the outdoors serves as your entertaining area. In these cases, a small living room just might be the best use of your space while the outdoors or atrium would serve as a social area.
For everything we hear in the media and otherwise about the stagnation of wages and the loss of household incomes, not to mention the loss or shrinkage of the middle class, increases in income equality, and other gloom and doom reports about the future of Americans when it comes to homes that Americans are buying and living in, the future is actually quite bright. The homes Americans are purchasing now are considerably larger than the homes their parents bought only a few years ago. Homes, most notably the living rooms that they have purchased are larger than the homes that their parents or even their grandparents bought in the 1970s. And the homes that Americans are purchasing today have almost twice the space compared to homes purchased 42 years ago.
It is also important to note that not only are the homes Americans are buying today larger than those bought only a few years ago, but they are cheaper to own and operate than homes owned by their parents and grandparents. Homes today are much more energy-efficient, are larger, and with more rooms than in years past. Not only that, but living rooms contain fireplaces and other amenities than were far less common than in years past. Homes today include modern features such as central heating and air conditioning (more than 90 percent in 2015). In years past, features such as these would have been considered needless luxuries.
It is safe to say that although the standard in homes has gotten better in recent years, living rooms have led the list of attractive features for homeowners. It would be an undeniable fact that living rooms have gotten larger and as a result more comfortable, but so have other rooms in the average American home. It is also worth noting that building materials have also gotten better, which has made what we have now much more attractive and more fun to live in.
Overall, the increase in the amount of living space, not to mention amenities such as larger garages, fireplaces, and others have made homes of today much more elegant and livable. This is especially notable when you consider, as mentioned above, that the average family size is decreasing. The improvements in housing quality, increase in the number of housing features, the relative affordability of new homes means that the living standards enjoyed by Americans today is gradually, but consistently improving for millions of Americans living today.