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Top 4 Differences Between American & Mexican Housing

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When planning a trip to Mexico, one can likely anticipate encountering different practices concerning culture, language, and lifestyle. On the other hand, what many Americans might not anticipate are the differences in typical housing units between Mexico and the United States. Read below to learn about how they differ: all the way from décor and facilities, to security.

1. A/C and Heating

One element of Mexican housing that is difficult for many to adjust to is that most properties do not have central heating or air conditioning. One might assume that central heating would be necessary in Mexico due to the belief that it’s consistently hot, but on the contrary, many parts of Mexico average moderately mild temperatures year-round. For example, Mexico City (the nation’s capital) lies among mountains, which causes its temperatures to be colder and fluctuate significantly. In Mexico, the most substantial equipment that one is likely to find in regard to temperature regulation is a space heater that warms a single room, rather than an entire dwelling. Correspondingly, heating an entire home in Mexico is not easy to do since most are built with single-pane windows and have light insulation. In many cases, Mexicans will wear layers to accommodate varying temperatures, instead. According to Homero Aridjis, one of Mexico’s most revered poets, Americans heat the whole house, whereas Mexicans simply heat the body. Ultimately, artificial temperature regulators have a lot to do with culture: Americans consider them very important, while Mexicans do not.

Image of Hands Wearing Gloves

2. Apartment Security

Many apartment buildings in Mexico maintain a much higher level of security than in the United States. For example, it’s more common for complexes to require a key pass to operate elevators and access residential floors. Security guards that monitor apartment building foot traffic are utilized more frequently, as well. Although these security measures are not uncommon in the U.S., their prevalence is especially high in many locations throughout Mexico.

Image of a Security Guard

3. Laundry Machines

The need to do laundry is a universal chore, but some cultures practice different methods of doing so. In Mexico, while it's common for washers and dryers to either be in an apartment complex, or within a home, many Mexicans line-dry their clothes as it uses less energy, is subsequently cheaper, and helps clothes last longer than if they’re machine dried. Additionally, there are “lavanderias”, or laundromats. They’re different than American laundromats because instead of being “self-service”, customers drop off their clothes and an attendant does the washing, drying, and folding for them. The price usually depends on how much the load weighs per kilogram (about 2.2 pounds).

Image of Drying Laundry

4. Décor and Furnishings

Traditional Mexican homes:

Traditional Mexican décor involves a variety of vibrant colors and primitive patterns. Turquoise, terracotta, yellow, red, and orange compose most tile, pottery, and textile patterns. This greatly contrasts the typical practices of American homes where neutral and faded colors are most common, besides pops of color on accent features. Additionally, Mexican furniture contrasts American furniture due to its simplicity and modesty. For example, a couch in an American home tends to be large, decadent, and as plush as possible. Americans attempt to achieve the ultimate level of comfort with their leisure furniture items, whereas, furniture pieces in a traditional Mexican home are usually smaller, firmer, and more rustic. They often contain some sort of wooden element and either woven cotton or wool.

Modern Mexican properties:

Modern Mexican properties, on the other hand, are not strikingly different than most updated properties in America. Many have neutral, earth-tone colors throughout, and do not utilize patterns. Their furniture tends to be sleek, simple, and nearly minimalistic in design. They still maintain an artistic appeal, but in a less vibrant and extravagant way. The concentration turns to crisp, geometric shapes, rather than embellished ornamentation. This is helpful in making it easier to style them into one’s own personal space.

 Image of a Dwellworks Corporate Housing Unit in Mexico


Spending time in a foreign country can involve making a lot of adjustments in daily tasks. Learning about differences in attitudes, procedures, and practices can help travelers anticipate those adjustments and will make transitioning to life abroad smoother! Consider reading our other blogs about business travel and international housing:

Top 4 Differences Between American and German Housing

5 Tips to Avoid Getting Sick on Business Trips

What Comes in a Corporate Housing Kitchen

5 Business Travel Myths Debunked

 


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