[COFFEE] Reasonable apartment/housing size for a family of 4?

What do you think is a suitable and/or reasonable size of an apartment / house (in Switzerland) for a family with two kids (< 10 years)?
Has your opinion changed since the start of the pandemic and the increase of home office based work (eg multiple days a week)?

The question is inspired by discussions with my wife, and we noticed that our expectations for this differ somewhat - and interestingly our expectations aligns with the size of the houses we ourselves grew up in.

I don’t want to bias the discussion up front, so I will hold off on sharing my expectations and thoughts for a while.

The topic/question is indirectly linked to the overarching theme of this forum, as a bigger housing typically comes with a bigger cost (irrespective if you buy or rent).

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IMHO space allocation and usage is very important. 140sqm is what I thought we need, but I’ve stayed in much smaller Airbnbs with better usage of space/layout and 100sqm would have been fine as well. Check out apartment designs in Hong Kong, NYC etc. to see how well one can use space (when Real Estate is super expensive).

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We get along fine with 4 rooms and 100 square meters (family of 4 with kids under 10). Although we might have to split the kids room when they are older. Two toilets, a very small staircase, a cellar and a garden do help make everything seem more spacious, though!

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Interesting topic @Filosofen specially because there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.

Indeed, the pandemic made John and Jane Doe realise how limited and limiting are the typological solutions of their “typical” appartement but also how little inventive these typologies can be. Most of them are quite static solutions and don’t take enough advantage of (i.e.) seasons to ‘expand’ their living space. Nevertheless we should also acknowledge the strong efforts and attention that swiss contemporary architectural practices have been pouring into housing solutions.

It’s a common idea but it’s also linked to many factors, from the supply chain to the pragmatic choices of materials… and also the relation between seasons and living spaces.

To feed the discussion, here bellow a table with the benchmarks for collective housing (appartements) approved in 2011 in the Canton de Vaud. This document supported a housing norm established initially 1975.

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We are a family of 2 parents and 1 child. We live in a single family home of 4.5 rooms/100 m2 (and basement and a garden). I work only from home. If we had a second child it would probably get a bit cramped but I think it’s more due to the missing storage solution and the dedication of the second biggest room as an office and not the space itself.

Interestingly I grew up in a way bigger house. I don’t mind the smaller one. My brother has this house now (also family of 3) and it’s full.

The house was also relatively cheap. 5 years after we bought it, 1 salary of us would be enough for the mortgage (and mine is around 70000).

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We live in a 3.5 room 115m2 apartment. Me, my girlfriend and our 2 cats.

I guess we would move to a 5.5 room house/apartment if we had 2 kids. Probably 140+ m2 apartment or 800+ m3 house.

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We are a family of 3 (daughter, wife and I) and live in a 5.5 room 172 m2 maisonette apartment (with an extra hobby room and cellar).

The apartment was originally a 4.5 room with a separate kitchen, but we renovated it in 2020 and moved the kitchen into the living room (47 m2), thereby gaining an invaluable 4th bedroom. This turned out to be ideal as both my wife and I shifted to a work-from-home model in 2021 and the 4th bedroom really helped!

Its also the right size in case we decide to have a 2nd child. Maybe an extra bedroom would be perfect, but happy with our arrangement.

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