As the needs of the family have changed over the decades, so too has the blueprint of the average home – with newer builds exhibiting features and technological advancements to suit a rapidly progressing society. What did the average home look like before the post-industrial boom of the 1950s, and what do todays homes have in common – or how do they differ? Room by room, let’s learn how the make-up of a house has changed over the years.


Interestingly enough, the size of the average UK home has fallen since 1970, with homes built today below the average home size in the 1930s. This may seem counterintuitive, with a booming economy, expanding population and revolution in building materials making larger and more economically viable homes possible – but an explosion in high-rise contracts and apartment-conversions of townhouses may be responsible. This overall trend spells change for buyers on the housing market, as well as housing culture: though mortgage values are unlikely to decrease with square footage, the cost of retaining a professional conveyancing solicitor may well do, with the reduction in space potentially reducing survey costs in comparison to yesteryear.

Living Spaces

Living rooms appear to have shouldered the brunt of this overall decrease in size, with a 32% reduction in size since homes built in the 1970s. However, newer trends have emerged which seem to negate this encroachment. Open-plan living spaces have become more and more popular over the years, with homeowners across the country knocking through to dining spaces and even kitchens, providing airflow throughout the property and a line of sight which promotes a sense of space.


The aforementioned study suggests that kitchens have suffered least, with newer homes building kitchens still larger than those built in the 1930s. The revolution in kitchen appliances could be partly responsible, with the introduction of modern-day mainstays such as the microwave and dishwasher – as well as the combination of kitchen and washroom into a single space. Larger kitchens also enable a trend which began in the 1960s, wherein worktop islands were installed in the middle of the kitchen space to enable a more social kitchen experience than its purely utilitarian pre-war function.


Though the average number of bedrooms included in newer home builds has decreased, the vast majority of homes overall enjoy a number of rooms for sleeping – as opposed to a single room, in which entire families would often sleep at the turn of the 20th century. Economic progression has enabled the average family to make the most of larger, private spaces, previously the haunt of the wealthy, as the need for personal space has grown ever more culturally important in the last few decades.