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house look small



Help! Why does my new house look small!


So, your builder has just been and banged some pegs into your land of where your new home is going to be built … and it looks tiny! In fact, something looks horribly wrong!


If this is you, then you’ve just experienced what is sometimes known as the small home in the great outdoors syndrome. And you know what, you’re not alone in your panic – in fact it happens to many people every day around the world.


This blog is to briefly explain why it happens and what you can do about it.


The first thing to be aware of is that the builder hasn’t somehow halved the size of the footprint when they’ve measured it out – they simply go by the plans. Of course, you should always double – and triple – check the measurements against the plans to make sure it’s accurate. And also be aware of what the measurements refer to; are they taken off the corner of the verandah or house; do they include the garage, etc.


But after checking it all, you stand back and it still looks like the whole house is not going to be much bigger than your current lounge room. Oh dear. Why?


Human Perception

house look small

Human perception is a funny thing!

It’s because the human eye needs to reference things when formulating size. When you walk into a room, your brain is processing heaps of info, including lots from what your eye picks up. The brain then uses all of that data to put together an idea of the size, using comparisons to help you.


So when the eye looks at a few pegs or some spraymark on the ground, the brain has limited data to reference against to come up with a comparison of size. So without any vertical data close by to bounce off (walls, etc) and no ceiling, furniture, and other items that help it develop a sense of size, the brain then references other things such as nearby trees, the clouds above, and other distant things, and ends up creating an image of a much smaller house footprint than it really is.



The principle behind it is that there’s no absolute definition of big and small – it’s all relative to something else. Put a car beside a toy one and it will look huge. Put the real car beside the Titanic and it looks tiny! Compare a footprint of the home with the huge sky above and the fence over the other side of the block – and yes, of course the house will look small!


So the simple answer is to go back to the plans. Work with your architect and builder to make sure the plans are what you want. Get them to draw the furniture in at the correct size. Ask them to add lots of dimension lines so you can measure things out in your current home to compare.


And then force yourself to run with the plans – don’t let your eyes device you. If you’re happy with the plans and the builder sticks to the plans, then everything will work out great!

Keen to find out more?

Reach out to us. We’re here to help.

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