With some of the largest dwelling sizes in the world, Australia can be considered a ‘lucky country’ in terms of housing. This paper investigates influences on growth in dwelling size from colonial settlement to contemporary times. A critical review of the literature shows that influences on housing size include governance and building practices as well as societal changes. The changes in the ‘4S’ lifestyle factors of shelter, storage, status and security have had a repeated and ongoing effect on housing preferences. Better understanding of emerging trends in these factors will thus enable clearer predictions of future housing needs.