The Ideal Home

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What is your ideal home? was kind enough to allow a full reprint of a fun article comparing what people want in their homes.  I can tell you that most Americans wouldn’t survive with the tiny closets found around the world but in some cases, everybody wants the same things.

So read on to see which of your favorite features are the most popular worldwide.

From “House Hunters” to “Property Brothers” and “Fixer Upper,” we enjoy watching other people shop for their dream homes, decide what (and how) to renovate older houses, and splurge on beachfront properties. Whether it’s loving it, listing it, or completely redesigning it, millions of people tune in every night to watch home improvement shows. Do most people prefer trendy designs and contemporary aesthetics in their real-life homes, or are shiplap and open-concept designs better left to the professionals on TV? To learn more, we surveyed over 600 Americans and Europeans about their ideal home designs, amenities, and locations. We asked them to describe their perfect kitchen, the most desirable features, and even their preferred square footage. Read on as we explore dream homes around the world.

Room with a view

The ideal home settings, by nationalityIf you’ve ever bought a home, you’ve probably heard that nothing matters more than “location, location, location.” Most real estate agents will agree that your home’s location is sometimes more important than its look or square footage. Having a home with the perfect view may be a dream rather than a reality for some people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have preferences. For nearly 45 percent of Americans and 52 percent of Europeans, the choice was clear: Waterfront views took home the grand prize. From lakefront properties to oceanfront real estate, views of the open waters can even help people feel more relaxed and active. Suburban and rural areas were also more popular than urban locations, and more than half of Americans and Europeans preferred a new construction. However, while the ideal home size for Europeans was nearly 1,590 square feet, Americans felt they needed a home over three times that size—4,982 square feet, on average.

It’s also what’s outside that counts

The ideal home styles, by nationalityHow you decide to decorate your home and the furniture you use to make it livable are just two ways to imbue an empty house with your sense of style. However, the exterior design of your home can say just as much about you. According to Americans and Europeans, the ranch house design was the most popular exterior style. Ranch-style homes are typically single-story dwellings and are known for seamlessly connecting the inside elements of a home to the outdoors, including a garage that blends in with the rest of the house. Perhaps as a nod to function over form, ranch-style homes also tend to have large overhangs perfect for a well-sized porch. The farmhouse and craftsman styles ranked highest for Americans (craftsman-style homes typically look more like bungalows and sport warm, natural materials), while Europeans opted for the cottage- and Mediterranean-style homes instead. The Mediterranean look—which originates from countries like Greece and Spain—is known for strong mosaic tile designs and heavy-handed texturing with colors and accessories for added depth.

Outdoor options

The ideal home exterior, by nationalityYou might not instinctively think about your roof when considering design elements, but the style and material you use can add both looks and value to your property. Over 29 percent of Americans preferred composition shingles, followed by tile, slate, and concrete. Composition shingles—also referred to as asphalt shingles—tend to be popular due to being economical and easy to install. While composition shingles typically don’t last as long as some other roof solutions, they come in a variety of colors that make them customizable. Europeans had a somewhat different perspective on exterior design. Nearly 1 in 4 preferred a wood roof, and while Americans favored a brick facade, Europeans preferred having stone walls.

Home is where the food is

The ideal home kitcehn, by nationalityIt’s probably difficult picking the most important room, but you most likely gravitate toward the kitchen. From a practical perspective, a kitchen is a place for nourishment. On a more emotional level, it’s also the room where families likely come together without the added distractions of the TV or other electronic devices. The look and feel of your kitchen matters just as much as the memories and meals you create there. Whether you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen or buying a new home, there are plenty of materials to choose from. While Americans and Europeans largely agreed that granite and marble countertops were more desirable than ceramic or wood, they had different tastes in flooring. Roughly 30 percent of Americans wanted tile in the kitchen, and nearly 16 percent preferred wood, compared to the 1 in 5 Europeans who opted for either marble or stone flooring instead.

From the floor up

The ideal home flooring and features, by nationalityLocation, size, and the overall exterior are all important elements of a home, but nothing sets the mood quite like your interior furnishings. From the floors to the foliage, how you decide to decorate and style your home from the ground up can transform it into a space you’re proud of. Both Americans and Europeans favored wood flooring over any other option, but Americans were inclined to prefer carpet, tile, and bamboo as well. You can customize everything about your hardwood floors, from the width of the boards to the color and texture of the finish. Global opinion on features and amenities varied more than flooring, however. Americans were more interested in having centralized air conditioning and a laundry room, while Europeans favored solar panels, swimming pools, and libraries.

Personal preferences

The ideal home bedroom flooring, by nationalityYour bedroom may not get as much foot traffic as other areas of your house, but it is the one place where you can (hopefully) escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Since most people don’t put their bedrooms on display the same way they do their kitchens or living rooms, there’s also a better chance for a personal touch. Wood flooring might be ideal throughout the rest of the house, but 2 in 5 Americans preferred carpeting in their bedroom. Europeans were more fond of wood flooring, but bamboo, laminate, and even marble were somewhat popular preferences. Americans were also more likely to prefer a walk-in closet in their bedroom, an ensuite master bath, a first-floor master suite, and a fireplace of their own. The only bedroom feature Europeans favored more was a balcony.

Turning your house into a home

There’s no perfect house design. Sometimes, watching popular DIY stars renovate a certain way or purchase a certain style of house can be good entertainment but not necessarily your cup of tea. Around the world, there were several commonalities between American and European homeowners and more than a few ways their opinions differed. For instance, Americans were more fond of bigger homes on more land, with a few upgraded amenities sprinkled in for good measure. No matter your style—or how much work you might have to do to achieve your dream home—let Porch connect you with the home improvement experts you need to get the job done. Our Porch Home Assistant is your go-to resource for finding certified pros in your area, whether you’re mounting a TV, installing a new floor, or just keeping up with the lawn mowing. Visit us to learn more.


For this project, we surveyed 335 Americans and 344 Europeans about their ideal homes using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. The average age of survey respondents was 37 years old with a standard deviation of 11.5. The respondents were comprised of 331 women and 349 men. This project relied on self-reporting, and the findings have not been statistically tested. Therefore, these results are intended for entertainment purposes only.


Fair Use Statement

Think your readers are dreaming about their own homes? Feel free to share the results of our survey on your own site for any noncommercial use. Be a good neighbor and ensure a link back to this page so that they can see our findings in their entirety.