Ive never gone in for elaborate chicken accommodations. I lean towards tractors and other mobile housing; this means I also use fences, sprays, traps and guns to keep predators away. As my friend Larry says, "Oh, yeah... if you have chickens in the country, you gonna shoot something,"
It does help that I live in a moderate climate and so I generally give chickens shelter, but little more. Think "fresh air housing" and you get the idea.
However, even in pretty severe northern climates the right birds can do well with just the basics.
(if you live in the arctic ice, well, you are in a special class altogether. For the rest of us, keep reading)
In the olden days, it was universally recommended that what we might call "hobby" chicken houses should be mounted on skids, and so mobile. You hauled them from section to section on a property so the birds could take advantage of the outdoor air and surrounding forage. Naturally this meant housing that was not elaborate, nor permanently situated. The idea of yarding, or paddock rearing also favors this sort of arrangement.
Too, the sort of bird you select matters. Back then there were only a few that were even considered, in contrast to today's range of 'yard confetti' breeds. For the North, Wyandottes, RIR's and some "exotics" like the feather-footed Frenchies or Chantaclere's were about it. Most literature of the period only recommended the first two and the Wy was preferred up north.
Certainly you can cram as many birds as you see fit, into whatever space you have. You can build a rigid coop with wired run and let everything turn funky with mud, chicken filth and disease. These things have been part of the experience for a long time and many, many people have viewed them as normal - so much so that they have become the standard.
Personally, it does me good to see so many people concerned about the right amount of space. The next step is to open up the available space and think outdoor living, as opposed to how many can be crammed into a coop. Get the right "pasture" set up first, whether it be suburban yard or farm field. Then resolve you predator issues, whatever they might be, without sympathy or regret. Finally, get the right number of the right birds for your climate and the actual housing situation can become less of a worry.