What House Size Means for Your Happiness

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There's nothing quite like having a space of your own: no roommates, just you and perhaps your significant other. Entire magazines and crowds of influencers devote themselves to celebrating homes, whether they're palatial mansions or bizarrely appealing tiny apartments. When it comes to our own living situations, however, we don't tend to minimize if we can. It's one area where size matters a lot more than you think.


Researchers at Iowa State University released a study about how your home keeps you happy — more specifically, whether the size of your own home in comparison to your neighbors' makes you more or less happy. Keeping up with the Joneses is no joke: "Large houses tend to beget larger houses," said study author Daniel Kuhlmann in a press release. "By building a large house, we could unwittingly push our neighbors to spend more money to buy larger homes to catch up."

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Kuhlmann's results are weirdly specific: People who live in the smallest house in the neighborhood are 5 percent more likely to say they're dissatisfied with their home, compared to those who live in the neighborhood's biggest house. If you're nodding along, comfort yourself with a few facts.

Most of us don't actually want to move, once we've become homeowners. Even when we do own homes, we're kind of ambivalent about it. Most of all, we're specifically rejecting the bloated McMansions of our youths in favor of friendlier communities and lower maintenance costs. Maybe you're feeling down on yourself about your property, but in the end, you chose it for a good reason.

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