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Do Bigger Homes Bring You More Happiness?

Since we started CHAN + DEE DESIGN in 2007, we have carved out a niche as small space specialists. One of the most common things that I hear from people who live in condos and smaller houses is that they plan to buy a bigger house soon. When I hear that, I'd often wonder them why? And here are the most common answers:

  • They have outgrown their current home.

  • They need more space.

  • They can afford a bigger home because they just got a promotion and a raise at work.

  • They got approved from their bank for a higher mortgage.

  • They think a bigger home will be better.

  • It makes a good investment.
    And last but not least...

  • they think a bigger home will make them happier.

Since we live in a culture that tricks us into thinking that bigger is better (Costco, Walmart), we believe the lie that bigger homes will bring us more happiness. But in fact, a research by a UBC professor shows that while our home can affect our happiness, size and price aren't the main issues. What makes people happy is when our home facilitate positive social connections!

Some houses are more isolated than others. And with attached garages, sometimes you can come home without seeing anyone. And again, the bigger the home, the bigger the distance between you and your family. Someone could be in the basement, while another person could be upstairs. Social connections can be kept to the minimal. I am a firm believer that the smaller the home, the closer you are to your family, both physically and emotionally. That is why all three of my young children share one bedroom still.

You may also listen to the Early Edition's Rick Cluff's interview with Dr. Dunn on "Does a big house mean big happiness?" with Dr. Elizabeth Dunn or click here to read the original Early Edition's post.

*Dr. Elizabeth Dunn is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Dunn conducts experimental research examining how time, money, and technology shape human happiness. She is the co-author of “Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending” (Simon & Schuster) with Dr. Michael Norton.

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