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Out of all the updates we made to our homes during the pandemic—adding a Peloton room, building an outdoor pizza oven, letting our lawns run a little wild—there is one change we thought would stick: Our desire for more space. In June 2021, Zillow reported that U.S. movers relocated to zip codes with homes 33 square feet larger than where they came from, on average. Now it looks like buyers are doing a 180. Its new research finds that the market for homes under 1,000 square feet is outperforming the market for spaces larger than 3,000 square feet, meaning small homes are “in.” 

This surprising shift boils down to many people prioritizing their wallets over square footage. Smaller houses are more affordable, and given the typical monthly payment on a home is about 45 percent higher than just a year ago, according to Zillow, that’s a huge focus for most right now. The demand for small homes can be seen by looking at year-over-year growth in median list prices. Those numbers are climbing faster for small homes than for large ones (13.2 versus 5.2 percent, respectively), plus the share of smaller listings with price cuts is fewer compared to their spacious counterparts. 

If budget is top of mind for you, too, then get inspired by these four under-1,000-square-foot homes that go big on design. 

Think of Your Fireplace as an Accent, Not the Star

While her Hamilton, Canada, home is only 750 square feet, Stefanie Dollak was still able to squeeze in a fireplace by situating a teeny gas version from Barbas Bellfires off to the side of her TV, freeing up room for extra built-in seating below. 

Pair Your Dinner With a View

Only two chairs fit around the itty-bitty dining table in Julie O’Rourke’s 600-square-foot Main home, but the dining nook feels expansive thanks to the big picture window next to it. “This is both a good design hack and a budget hack. We only have three new operable windows in the space and the rest are fixed, which saved us so much money,” says O’Rourke. 

Don’t Crowd the Kitchen With Dark Wood

The cooking zone in this 512-square-foot cabin is roughly 80 square feet, but light Baltic birch plywood cabinets, an island with open shelving, and an airy paper lantern make the space feel breezy. 

Make the Most of Any Mattress

Twin beds are not just for kids’ rooms. Designer Sheila Bridges shows us how to adult-ify a small guest bed in her 800-square-foot Hudson Valley home by using a dynamic mix of bedding consisting of floral and geometric prints, all within the same blue-green palette.