As anyone who has looked for a new home or watched a marathon of Property Brothers can tell you, shopping for a new home can be stressful. You have to decide on budget, location, floor plan, and if you have the money for renovations.
Another topic to add to the real-estate shopping list? Square footage. Space isn’t just a design or budget issue, though. According to a new study, it can also be the secret to marital bliss. And the amount of space needed for bliss varies by generation.
For a new study conducted by the lighting brand Sofary, researchers surveyed over 900 couples and grilled them about the details of living with their significant other. They found that the difference between a happy marriage and a relationship on the brink of collapse could all come down to 100-square feet. Based on their calculations, couples who shared 1,800 square feet or more of living space had higher levels of relationship satisfaction, compared with those who shared smaller spaces.
As the study states: "The more space couples had to share, the more likely they were to feel satisfied with their relationship.”
The amount of space required for a happy relationship varied with age. For instance, baby boomers who were satisfied with their significant others lived in 1,835 square feet of space, compared to 1,733 square feet for unhappy couples. Gen X couples found their happy place in 1,969 square feet, while millennials needed 1,810 square feet of space to share, on average, to avoid feeling dissatisfied with their partner.
Of course, couples that can afford a home with greater square footage tend to have more money and, unfortunately, anxiety about money is still one of the greatest causes of marital stress and disagreements about money can lead to divorce. It’s not to say everyone who lives in a small home is unhappy—far from it—but those with larger homes may have slightly fewer financial concerns, which can lead to a happier relationship.
In short, if you’re in the market for a new home and trying to choose between a better location and more square footage, that extra hundred feet of space may just be the key to keeping your relationship happy.