For decades, the bigger is better trend has driven the new home market. In the US, the average and median size of new houses have increased by 62% since 1973.

John Sebastian, president of Sebastian Construction Group, recently pointed out the big exception to the “bigger is always better” rule, at a recent presentation for the Institute of Classical Art and Architecture (ICAA.)

Titled The Top 40 Misconceptions in the Planning of High-End Residences, the talk tackled some of most popular misconceptions that John has found (even among some of the top architects in the field of high-end residential design.)

Here’s a big one:

“For resell value alone, it always should be the goal to get as much square footage as you possibly can for your dollar”.

Sebastian Construction Group, premier luxury estate builder

Not so, says John.

As he told DHome magazine in the January/February 2017 issue, “If budget is a concern, build smaller to maintain a high level of quality. You will never miss the space, but you will enjoy the craftsmanship for decades.”

Sebastian Construction Group, premier Texas builder of luxury homes

Rather than square footage, Sebastian advises clients to invest in design.

“Great construction quality and great architecture are smart investments. These qualities will increase the value of the house – not the square footage.”

There’s one more benefit to trading footage for higher quality – when it comes time to sell the house, it often commands a higher price.

A February 2017 article in the Wall Street Journal’s Mansion section noted that some luxury homeowners are following John’s edict to choose quality over footage by reducing the number of bedrooms in their luxury homes. (“Some Luxury Homeowners Scale Back on Extra Bedrooms.“)

The article profiles several premier properties from Malibu, California to downtown Chicago, where owners have traded unused guest bedrooms for features like a 900-square foot home gym or a penthouse for entertaining. Homes with fewer bedrooms may take longer to sell, but they generally fetch higher prices by trading the seldom-used guest bedrooms for other amenities.