It is not so much the cubic feet of space in a house as the way in which that space is used, which is important in a house of average size. Hence it is difficult to say what should be the minimum space required for a family of a given size. The extremely high ceilings of a few decades ago provided a lot of space which served no practical purpose. Modern housekeeping demands compact rooms, planned to make housework easier.
In most cities combating dust and soot is no small part of the housework, and other things being equal, the smaller the surfaces to be cleaned, and the easier the particular type of surface can be cleaned, the better. Plenty of closet space in all parts of the house is a great saver of work in housekeeping, and deserves important consideration in selecting a house plan or in purchasing a house.
Families that are rearing children ordinarily require three sleeping rooms. It is, of course, preferable if each child can have his own room. Though it be small, it is a place for the order of which he is definitely responsible, and in which he can study and play and read undisturbed. Where there are small children, many parents prefer to have the bathroom and one bedroom downstairs.
Every family wants to have an attractive living room in which the members of the family may gather and receive their friends. The need for a dining room is not so essential. Individual preferences and needs undoubtedly vary, ....
The kitchen should be very carefully arranged to make the preparation of meals and cleaning up afterward as easy as possible.....
"The more sunlight, the better" is a good rule for a house. In apartments there is usually not the same opportunity to have sunlight in every room as in a small detached house, but there ought to be at least one room which has plenty of it.....Many small houses are built nowadays with an enclosed sun porch, which is a valuable addition when it can be afforded. During the infant stage the child's needs for plenty of fresh air may be met by a porch where the baby may sleep or play during the day with his mother close at hand.
Good ventilation in a small house is not hard to obtain during cold weather when all that is needed in a single room is to open the window a few inches. The difference of temperature between the inside and outside air insures plenty of circulation. In hot weather, however, it is desirable to have room so arranged that the prevailing wind can blow through from one side to the other. This is not possible in many apartments, where electric fans are often used as a substitute. In many small houses, unfortunately, the interior arrangement is such that good ventilation during the summer is difficult. The kitchen, particularly, should have good cross ventilation and receive plenty of air from the prevailing wind.
A good heating system is one able to maintain the house at a comfortable temperature and proper humidity during the ordinary winter weather, and it does not often need supplementing by open fires (however desirable for making a room cheerful), or by portable heaters, although an exception may be made of the use of the latter in the bathroom during the early morning or when children are being bathed. It should be remembered that the expense of heating a house depends not only on the efficiency of the furnace or stoves, but on the weatherproofness of the house.