Over the last several years, downsizing has been a predominant trend in housing. This is due to a number of factors, but largely the economy and the aging of the Baby Boomer population.

Is this a bad thing? Is bigger always better?

LGA Studios would say no. Sometimes, small can be the best solution.

For America, this is an extreme example: see this 10-minute video to learn how a family of three lives comfortably in a 320 square foot shot-gun style home. The house was built specially for the family at a price they could afford without a mortgage. Their creativity and appreciation of both financial freedom and family togetherness makes the home perfect for them.

And perhaps even more extreme: this woman chose to live in a 90 square foot micro-studio in New York. The reason? Location! She has affordable rent and is just across the street from Central Park. The video linked shows how she maximizes the space she has. Things are snug, but she certainly isn't living in poverty and squalor.

Small can be stylish and sleek. Just look at this winner of the AIA's Small Project award in Wisconsin and this loft-style house in Japan. Of course, the Japanese have much practice in the art of small dwelling spaces.

Small can also be cozy and traditional, like a cottage. And it can always be very personal.

Small homes aren't for everyone, but they may be for you if you value these things:

-Lifestyle: If you want to spend more time and money on travel, hobbies and other activities, then you may consider spending less time and money on home upkeep.

-Location: By reducing building cost by reducing square footage, more building budget is available to spend on the ideal lot.

-Ecology: The building and powering of larger homes does take its toll on the environment. Literally minimizing your footprint uses fewer resources during construction and for the life of the building.

-Simplicity: If you don't like clutter or cleaning, a smaller home can help you get rid of excess and free up your time.

By having your home custom designed by a professional, you can make sure that all of your essentials (and even luxuries) are still there, that your home meets building codes and that it appears more spacious than it may be. You can explore using one room for multiple purposes and coming up with unconventional solutions for your unique patterns of use.

Is a small home in your future?

Aspen View Plan, #1576.2