Survey: Comfort, Style More Critical Than Home Size

Survey: Comfort, Style More Critical Than Home Size

That's the conclusion of a newly released national survey of more than 1,000 Americans, which found that, despite the conventional wisdom on the popularity of larger homes, consumers really prefer a cozy, safe haven packed with luxury amenities.

The "American Dream House Survey," whose results were released in October, was conducted for the Pittsburgh, PA-based Hardwood Manufacturers Association by the independent market research firm, Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch, of Princeton, NJ.

The survey revealed the average dream-sized house of those questioned is a spacious, but not excessive, 2,500 sq. ft. And, almost half the respondents 49% characterized their dream house as a "safe, comfortable haven instead of a designer show house," according to a spokesperson for the Hardwood Manufacturers Association.

That cozy abode is certainly not a simple log cabin, however.

"When it comes to building materials, consumers don't want to stint," the Hardwood Manufac-turers Association said. "The finest authentic materials including marble, granite and real hardwoods like maple and cherry ranked high on the list of luxury elements fit for a dream house," the trade organization added. "In fact, only 25% of the survey's respondents would be willing to substitute less-expensive look-alikes if they couldn't afford the real thing. They'd rather postpone or redesign their projects, or trade off on home size to afford the best."

In terms of specifics, the nationwide poll found that:

  • Only one out of three people 35% feel that their current home measures up to the one in their dreams.
  • The high-end home improvements that consumers feel would bring their current home closer to the ideal, or impress family and friends, centered on the kitchen and bathroom. Half the survey's respondents said they want a custom kitchen that includes real hardwood cabinets. Other luxury elements such as professional cooking equipment and granite countertops scored high marks with more than 40% of the consumers contemplating their ideal living quarters.
  • Fifty percent of the respondents reported they would opt for a brand new house, built to their specifications, but 20% said they dream of a charming old restored period house.

When asked how their lifestyle would change with a move to their dream house, respondents were split with half saying they would spend more time on home entertaining, cooking and hobbies, and the other half saying it would have little or no impact on their lifestyle.