While the “McMansion” flourished in the housing boom of the past decade, the impracticality of suburban castles is being realized by many homeowners and buyers. Consider maintaining a smaller, efficient home by investing in thoughtful upgrades over expansion.

Moderate-sized homes with aesthetically appealing detail are selling faster than larger homes with unnecessary rooms.  While the same amount of money can be put into a small home as a large one, quality design remains a solid investment, without adding more space to an already-sufficient home.  Smaller, custom-designed homes save on energy costs, and less space affords a bigger budget for decorating.  You can invest the same amount of money in your home without building spaces that you (and your potential buyer) will not need! 

Smaller homes are also easier to afford in high-priced areas.  Homeowners may favor a convenient location over a three-car garage and a two-hour commute to work. This trend is evident overseas, where high costs have driven the average square footage of a U.K. home to 815 square feet, as opposed to the U.S. home averaging 2200 to 2300 square feet (The 2006 Demographia Housing Affordability Survey).  While many Americans can’t imagine fitting into such a small living space, the move toward efficient use, sans excess, is going to change the art of home selling in America.

Certain rooms and design elements have gained more attention in the past few years:


Larger, custom kitchens remain high in demand. Kitchens are both a communal area and a functional work space, and people spend time in the kitchen now more than ever. A comfortable and efficient kitchen will draw people together.

Custom Bathroom Fixtures

Upgraded bathrooms and custom fixtures are also popular, such as deluxe shower heads, unique sinks, towel racks and medicine cabinets.  Tiled walls and floors add tremendous detail to an otherwise boring bathroom.


Efficient storage and built-ins remain high in demand. Closets are no longer sufficient; shelving, roll-out storage and cabinets help to keep smaller spaces uncluttered yet accessible. Built-ins can fit any purpose, and are great in every room of the house.

Focusing on upgrades is not only a smart investment, but is an energy-saving, environmentally conscious effort, decreasing your carbon footprint on the world.  Communal and heavily trafficked rooms deserve the most attention, while formal spaces can be eliminated in favor of upgrades in the meat-and-potatoes of your home.  Reflecting what buyers want is the first step to a fast-sell!