How To Calculate Square Feet Of A House: A Beginner's Guide (2023)

Key Takeaways

  • Why is square footage important?

  • How to calculate square feet of a house

  • What’s included in home square footage

  • Measuring square footage FAQ

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established the standard on measuring square footage, but that’s all it is: a standard. For better or worse, the criteria outlined by ANSI are mere guidelines; no official laws govern the true regulation of a home’s gross living area (GLA). As a result, complications arise time and time again as homeowners attempt the process. Learning how to calculate square footage of a house can seem more difficult than many might like it to be.

Fortunately, there is a way for you to make sure your specs are accurate, and it’s in your best interest to learn it. Knowing how to calculate square footage can save you from making some sizable, expensive mistakes.

Why Measure Square Footage?

Homeowners should measure square footage to get an accurate assessment of their property’s size. The most obvious reason homeowners will need this information is for a property value estimation when they sell their house. The square footage will directly influence the purchase price, and it could make a big difference when marketing the property.

(Video) How To Calculate Square Footage

Even if you are not selling your home, it can still be helpful to measure square footage. Some cities will require homeowners to disclose this information when applying for renovation or building permits. Square footage can also be helpful in the event your property value assessment comes out too high. In these cases, homeowners will want to accurately re-measure their homes’ square footage to get their property taxes lowered.

[ Want to maximize your property value? Download this step-by-step guide to making "high-ROI" home improvements. ]

How To Calculate Square Feet Of A House: A Beginner's Guide (1)

How To Measure Square Footage Of A House In 3 Steps

To calculate the square feet of a house, you will need to determine each room’s area and add it together. It sounds easy, right? We’re going to try to keep it that way as we walk you through the process. Gather a few tools before getting started:

  1. Tape Measure

  2. Notepad and pen/pencil

  3. Calculator

You may also want someone to assist as you measure, especially in larger rooms. While it all depends on the shape of your house and the complexity of your floor plan, sometimes it’s a good idea to start this endeavor with a helping hand. When you are ready to get started, there are three steps to follow:

  • Measure the length and width of each room and hallway in your house.

    (Video) How to Calculate Square Footage | The Home Depot

  • Multiply the length and width of each room separately, which you can write down before your final calculations.

  • When you are done measuring and multiplying, add the area of each room together.

Square Footage Of A House Example

For example, pretend you live in a ranch home in the shape of a rectangle. The length of the house is 70 feet, and the width is 50. This means to calculate the square footage, you will multiply 70 by 50, resulting in a final calculation of 3,500 square feet. Of course, not every home is a perfect rectangle — making it more time-consuming to get accurate numbers. That’s why going room by room is often the most practical method. With the proper measurements and some addition, you can still calculate the square footage of your home.

What Is Included In The Square Footage?

In measuring the square footage of a house, it is crucial to know what can and can’t be included in the calculations. Not every foot of your home enclosed by walls will count towards total square footage. Instead, you are trying to determine the gross living area — or the livable parts of your home. Keep reading to learn more about the specifications for measuring square footage:

Height Requirements

There is one measurement far too many inexperienced “appraisers” forget about: ceiling height. That’s not to say you measure the area as a three-dimensional space, but rather that the ceiling is one of the criteria I already alluded to. You see, for an area’s square footage to count in the home’s overall square footage, the ceiling above it must be a certain height. According to ANSI’s American National Standard For Single-Family Residential Buildings, finished areas must have a ceiling height of at least seven feet, “except under beams, ducts, and other obstructions where the height maybe six feet and four inches.” On the other hand, Angled ceilings must rest at the previously discussed seven feet for at least half of the room’s total floor area. If the ceiling is at least seven feet for at least half of the room’s floor area, total square foot calculations should include every area where the ceiling is at least five feet tall.

Garages, Protrusions, and Unfinished Areas

No matter how much you may wish your garage was included in the total square footage of your house, it’s not. I repeat, garages are not included in the total square footage of a property, even if they are finished — that’s because they are not the same level as the home itself. Similarly, chimneys and window areas are not included in a home’s square footage; not only are they not finished, but they are not on the same level.

Finished Home Connections

If you have a finished area connected to the house by a finished hallway or stairway, the subsequent area may be included in the home’s total square footage. However, finished areas connected in any other way (like by an unfinished hallway or staircase, for instance) won’t be included in the home’s total square footage.

Basements & Attics

Basements do not typically count towards a home’s gross living area regardless of whether they are finished. Since they are below the rest of the home, basements can’t be included in the total square footage. That said, homeowners may note the size of a finished basement in a respective listing elsewhere. On the other hand, attics may be counted in a home’s total square footage if they are finished and meet the height requirements stated above.

Covered, Enclosed Porches

Covered, enclosed porches may be included in a home’s gross living area if they are finished, and they are heated using the same system as the rest of the house.

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How To Calculate Square Feet Of A House: A Beginner's Guide (2)

How To Measure Square Footage Of A House: FAQ

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the square footage of a home, likely because of misinformation and a lack of well-known guidelines. That being said, if something seems unclear, more often than not, someone has probably wondered the same thing. Below are some commonly asked questions about how to measure the square footage of a house.

What Is Finished Vs. Unfinished?

Generally speaking, unfinished areas of the home are not to be added to its total square footage. To be included, the area must be finished. For example, you can list unfinished areas — like basements — as unfinished bonus spaces, as long as you leave them out of the overall finished square footage calculation.

Are Basements Included In House Square Footage?

Basements have become the subject of many heated debates surrounding a home’s square footage. At the very least, the answer is, well, yes and no. You see, basements — whether they are finished or not — should not be considered in a home’s total square footage, according to ANSI. That said, it is completely acceptable for homeowners to list the size of their finished basement in a separate part of the listing (separate from the home’s actual gross living area). So while today’s standards advise against adding the square footage of a finished basement to the home’s GLA, there’s no reason you can’t include the actual size of it somewhere else in the listing.

Does House Square Footage Include Garage?

Whether it’s finished or not, a home’s gross living area does not include the garage. According to ANSI, “garages and unfinished areas cannot be included in the calculation of finished square footage.” Most garages can’t count towards the square footage of a home because they are not typically on the same level as the home; they are usually lower.

How Many Square Feet Are In The Average House?

The average house has about 2,400 square feet. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the average square footage in 2017 was 2,426 square feet. In contrast, the average square footage was 1,660 in 1973. The number has steadily increased over the decades, reflecting Americans’ desire for more rooms and larger homes.

What Is The Square Footage Of A 12 X 12 Room?

A 12 X 12 room has 144 square feet. Simply put, square feet are calculated by multiplying the width by the length of a given room. Each room is then added up to get the total square feet of a house. Things can get complicated with add ons and other features that take away space from rooms. A good way to overcome any structural issues is to break each room into squares. Look for where walls line up and divide things in a way that makes square footage easier to calculate. You can then add up your smaller numbers to get a more accurate total.

Do Closets Count In Square Footage?

Closets do count in square footage, so long as they meet requirements applied to other areas of the house. What I mean by this is as long as closets are finished and meet the ceiling height requirements I mentioned above, they will count towards total square feet. The same logic can be applied to stairways, which are another gray area for calculating house square footage.

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What Is Total Area Vs Living Area?

The total area refers to the full amount of space in a property, while the living area only includes rooms that rely on the main heating and air system. Living area is essentially another way to say square feet. On the other hand, total area will include garages, basements, balconies, and any other spaces that fall under the same roof. It is not uncommon to see both measurements given in a property listing or during an open house.

What Is Considered Livable Square Footage?

Livable square footage includes any room or space that uses the main heating and air system in a property. This includes bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, and more. The exact definition of livable square feet may be different from state to state. However, as a general rule, livable square footage refers to usable, heated spaces in a property. Keep this in mind as you calculate your house’s square feet, and ask a realtor or appraiser if you are unsure of your estimates.

Ask The Pros

Learning how to calculate the square feet of a house can be a challenging task. Thankfully, there are experts to help you. It is common practice to hire a professional appraiser to accurately measure your home. Depending on the property’s size, the cost of an appraiser to measure the square footage can range from $100 to several hundred dollars. When an appraiser calculates the square feet of a house, they also only include areas that are heated and cooled. While two different appraisers will sometimes have different measurements on square footage, there is usually only a 1-3% variance. Appraisers will do their best to calculate square footage with scientific accuracy.

Considering Square Footage When Buying

There are a few critical components to consider before buying a property, and size is one of them. While you can add on to a property, this type of renovation can be costly and challenging to manage without the right experience. In some cases, you may even be limited by the lot size or by building permits. Always consider the ideal square footage as you view different properties. For homebuyers, think about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and if that meets your needs. Pay attention to the neighborhood, amenities, and more alongside your considerations. You may find the house has the right balance of what you need.

Investors looking to buy a rental property should review other homes in the area. Is the house you are looking at comparably to other units in the neighborhood? The size of the property will directly impact how much you are able to charge in rent, and in turn your return on investment. Consider the average rental price for homes of a similar size and make sure the numbers line up. Square footage should not be the only deciding factor, but it is certainly an important consideration.


Those that know how to find the square footage of a house carry an inherent advantage in every deal they work on. Of particular importance, however, is accuracy. Those who can accurately learn how to calculate square footage of a house stand a better chance of realizing success. At the very least, they will know exactly what they are getting into (or out of).

Have you ever run into questionable home measurement calculations? Would it have helped if you knew the standards used today? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below.

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How do I calculate the square footage of my house? ›

If the property is a perfect rectangle, simply measure the length and width and multiply those two numbers together. For example, if your one-story house is 60 feet wide by 40 feet long, then your property is 2,400 square feet (60 x 40 = 2,400).

How do you calculate square footage for dummies? ›

Basic formula for square feet

for short), determine the length and width of the area you are working with, measured in feet. Multiply the length by the width and you'll have the square feet. Here's a basic formula you can follow: Length (in feet) x width (in feet) = area in sq.

How many square feet is a 12x12 room? ›

How many square feet is a 12x12 room? The square footage of a room 12 feet wide by 12 feet long is 144 square feet. Find the square footage by multiplying the width (12 ft) by the length (12 ft).

How many sq ft is a 10x12 room? ›

Bedroom 1: 10 feet x 12 feet = 120 square feet.

Do closets count in square footage? ›

Stairways and closets will usually be included in the square footage length. When it comes to porches and other outdoor spaces, they're usually only included if they use the same heating system as the rest of the house.

How many square feet is a 3 bedroom house? ›

The average 3-bedroom square footage for a home is around 1,300 square feet in the United States. However, the area you are looking to buy a home may have a 3-bedroom square footage average that is higher or lower than the national average.

How do you calculate square footage by hand? ›

How to Calculate Square Footage | The Home Depot - YouTube

Are stairs included in square footage? ›

Stairs: Runs/treads and landings both count in square footage totals. They are measured as a part of the floor “from which they descend,” so are generally counted twice in a typical two-story home with a basement.

What is included in square footage of a house? ›

When an appraiser calculates the square footage of a home, it will only measure interior spaces that are heated and cooled. This includes bedrooms (and closets), bathrooms, hallways, a kitchen, living areas, enclosed patios, and finished attics.

How many square feet is a 12x24 foot room? ›

Square footage: 288 sq. ft.

What size is a 200 sq ft room? ›

A 200 square foot space is about the size of a one-car garage. In other words, the average car could fit into 200 square foot place with a small amount of wiggle room. Imagine a space smaller than a bedroom for 100 square feet.

How many square feet is a 12x32 room? ›

12x32 Tiny House -- #12X32H1C -- 384 sq ft - Excellent Floor Plans | Tiny house floor plans, Shed homes, Tiny house plans.

How many bedrooms is 1200 square feet? ›

1,200 square foot homes can easily accommodate two or three bedrooms.

How many square feet is a 12x13 foot room? ›

You times 12 x 13 which is 156 square ft, but you already knew that. You should be working in metric, as most flooring is sold in metres.

How many square feet is a 10x20 room? ›

Like the name suggests, a 10x20 storage unit is 10 feet wide by 20 feet deep or vice versa for a total of 200 square feet. To give you a better idea of what that size looks like, imagine a one-car garage.

Why is basement not included in square footage? ›

If a room is below ground level, even if it's finished, it cannot be counted towards your home's square footage according to Fannie Mae and ANSI guidelines.

Is Garage counted in square footage of house? ›

Garage space is not included in square footage, and many standards do not count basements (even if they're finished) in overall square footage. Either way, make sure to measure the basement's square footage for your records — you can still include it in any future property listings.

Does a 12x12 bedroom include the closet? ›

No, bedroom dimensions do not include the closet. A closet is typically considered to be part of the layout of the room, rather than an individual measurement. However, there can be variations in this based on the design or layout of a specific home.

What is a good size for a 2 bedroom house? ›

A 2 bedroom house plan's average size ranges from 800 - 1500 sq ft (about 74-140 m2) with 1, 1.5, or 2 bathrooms.

Is 1500 sq ft a small house? ›

A 1500 square feet house is not a very large house. Most houses in America are 2000 square feet and over. Although it is possible to live well with a small family in a 1500 square feet house, you should moderate your expectations as to how big such a home will feel.

What is a good size for a 4 bedroom house? ›

For a family of four, the ideal house size is between 2,400 – 2,800 square feet and so forth. It's up to you to decide how much space you're most comfortable with up to 3,027 square feet (if you consider yourself middle class).

Is house square footage measured inside or outside? ›

Calculations for the square footage of a home are taken from the outside dimensions of the structure (so exterior and interior wall thickness is included). If your home exterior is easily accessible, you can do it yourself with a 100-foot tape measure.

How can I measure my floor without a tape measure? ›

Measuring stuff without a ruler. A Mere Mortals woodworking quick tip.

How do contractors measure square footage? ›

Measure the length and width of the building's walls. Multiply the length and width measurements to find square footage. Remember to multiply the square footage times the number of floors in the building if your facility has more than one floor.

Is a laundry room considered living space? ›

If your laundry room is a finished room under the main roof of your home, which means it has floors, ceilings, finished walls, and heating and air-conditioning, then it can be counted. In addition, if you have a laundry closet, it will also be counted if it meets the above requirements.

Is fireplace included in square footage? ›

Any space that has walls, flooring, ceiling and heat would count as finished square footage.

Does basement count in square footage? ›

Does a basement count toward overall square footage? As a general rule of thumb, listing agents and appraisers don't count a finished basement toward the overall square footage, especially if the basement is completely below grade—a term that means below ground level.

What is the most common square footage of a house? ›

The average house size is right around 2,500 square feet, but that doesn't mean you should aim for the middle and hope for the best.

How do you count rooms in a house? ›

Generally, it is agreed that bedrooms, living rooms, dens, kitchens, and dining rooms are counted as rooms. However, if the dining “room” is a space in a larger living room with a table chandelier, it may not count as a separate room.

Is the square footage of a house the same as the roof? ›

After stepping off the length and width of your home, you'll multiply the two numbers to get your home's footprint. Your calculations are going to be off, but measuring this way can give you a basic idea of your home's footprint. Keep in mind, square footage of a house does not equal the square footage of a roof.

Is a 10x10 room 100 square feet? ›

100 sq ft. It's the size of a medium sized bedroom, not including the space the inside the closet. If you are renting a 10x10 (100 square feet) bedroom, you will have plenty of space for a bed, side table and dresser… but not much else. Most second bedrooms are between 100 feet and 144 feet (12x12).

What size is a 500 sq ft room? ›

Measure each room's length and width and add up all the square footage for a total count of the entire space. In an apartment, that may mean measuring the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area all separately. However, the basic dimensions of a 500-square-foot space are 25 feet by 20 feet.

How much is a 20x20 room? ›

A 20 foot x 20 foot room equals 400 square feet.

For example, if the room is 20 feet long and 20 feet wide, then the square footage equals 400 square feet.

How big is a 2000 sq ft house? ›

In meters, 2,000 square feet would equal 185.8 square meters or 24.38 meters by 7.62 meters. Expect a 2,000 square feet home to contain three large or four average-sized bedrooms with a kitchen, living room, dining room, walk-in closets, and at least two bathrooms.

What is the perfect size of a room? ›

An optimum size for a master bedroom would be around 4 x 4m up to around 4.5 x 4.5m (20.25m²). This would allow enough space around the bed and also room for a sitting and/or dressing area.

What is the average size of a room in a house? ›

Average home size in the US is roughly 2,000 square feet. The average bedroom size is 200 square feet. Your bedroom size depends on the size of your home. You don't want your bedroom to be bigger than your kitchen or living room.

How many boxes of flooring do I need for a 12x12 room? ›

Quick Reference Chart – How Many Boxes of Flooring Do I Need?
Room SizeSq. ft. of PlankBoxes Needed (30 Sq. Ft./Box)
12 more rows
12 Oct 2021

Is 250 square feet a big bedroom? ›

The standard size of a master bedroom should have at least 15 feet on every side as it'll yield 200 to 250 square feet of overall space. This is the ideal size of a master bedroom.

How many square feet is a 14x32 room? ›

The expanse of a 14×32 storage shed provides a multitude of possibilities. This extra-large portable storage building is an excellent solution for seasoned homeowners. With its quality construction and 280 square feet of internal storage room, it can serve a variety of purposes.

Is 900 square feet a small house? ›

A 900 square foot house is a small to medium-sized home, typically square or rectangular. The average size of a 900 square foot home is about 15 feet wide by 60 feet long, although the size can vary slightly depending on the specific floor plan.

How many rooms will 1500 square feet make? ›

You'll notice with home plans for 1400 to 1500 square feet that the number of bedrooms will usually range from two to three.

Is a 1000 sq ft house small? ›

In general, a 1,000 sq. ft. home is one where you can comfortably fit a kitchen, dining area, and two to three bedrooms. 1,000 square feet is a bit smaller than the average size of a standard American home, which is 2020 was 2,333 square feet according to census bureau data.

How many square feet is a 20x20 room? ›

The calculation for 20x20 room square feet:

In simple terms, 20x20 is 400 sq. ft.

Is 10x10 a big room? ›

10ft by 10ft (305 cm x 305cm) is a small-sized room and measured 100 square feet.

What size bed can fit in a 13x12 room? ›

There is a king bed. A king size bed at 76” x 80” is the same size as two Twin XL beds placed side by side. A 13' x 13' or larger room is recommended for an open, spacious feel after adding some furniture and accessories.

How many square feet is a 20x15 room? ›

To get a rough estimate of the amount of square footage of flooring that you will need for that room, multiply the length of the room by the width of the room. For example, if your room is 20 ft. long by 15 ft. wide, multiply 20 x 15 = 300 square feet.

What is the square footage of 14x20? ›

14x20. A 14x20 parking space has 280 square feet of space.

How many sq ft is a 10x15 room? ›

This unit is 15 feet long and 10 feet wide, giving you 150 square feet of space.

How do you calculate length width height and square feet? ›

Calculate the Area as Square Footage

If you are measuring a square or rectangle area, multiply length times width; Length x Width = Area. For other area shapes, see formulas below to calculate Area (ft2) = Square Footage.

What is the formula for area? ›

Area and Perimeter Formula Chart
FiguresArea FormulaVariables
Area of RectangleArea = l × wl = length w = width
Area of SquareArea = a2a = sides of the square
Area of a TriangleArea = 1/2 b×hb = base h = height
Area of a CircleArea = πr2r = radius of the circle
2 more rows
30 Sept 2020

How many square feet is 15 feet? ›

Square feet to Feet Calculator
1 ft2 =1 feet1 ft2
12 ft2 =3.4641 feet144 ft2
13 ft2 =3.6056 feet169 ft2
14 ft2 =3.7417 feet196 ft2
15 ft2 =3.873 feet225 ft2
25 more rows

How do you find the area of an irregular shape with 4 sides? ›

Use the formula below: Area = (Side 1 × Side 2) × sin (angle) or A = (s1 × s2) × sin(θ) (where θ is the angle between sides 1 and 2). Example: You have a kite with two sides of length 6 feet and two sides of length 4 feet. The angle between them is about 120 degrees.

What comes first length or width or height construction? ›

Measurements always go in the following order: length x width x height. For example, if a product is 12" x 6" x 8", it is 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 8 inches tall. If there is a fourth number, that is for the depth or thickness of the item. Knowing how measurements work makes it easier when purchasing an item.

Which goes first length width or height? ›

What is the standard? What comes first? The Graphics' industry standard is width by height (width x height). Meaning that when you write your measurements, you write them from your point of view, beginning with the width.

How much drywall do I need for a 1500 square foot house? ›

How much drywall do i need for a 1500 square feet? You would need 47 sheets of drywall for 1500 square feet.

What is the rule of area of square? ›

A square is a 2D figure in which all the sides are of equal measure. Since all the sides are equal, the area would be length times width, which is equal to side × side. Hence, the area of a square is side square.

How do u find the area of a square? ›

Area of a Square | - YouTube

What is 8ft by 8ft in square feet? ›

A = 3.14 x 8 ft. x 8 ft. = 200.96 sq. ft.

How many sq ft is a 20x20 room? ›

The calculation for 20x20 room square feet:

In simple terms, 20x20 is 400 sq. ft.

How many square feet is a 14x40 building? ›

The expanse of a 14×40 storage shed provides a multitude of possibilities. This extra-large portable storage building is an excellent solution for seasoned homeowners. With its quality construction and 280 square feet of internal storage room, it can serve a variety of purposes.

How do you calculate square feet with different sides? ›

How to Calculate the Square Feet of Odd Shapes
  1. Measure all the dimensions or sides of the area.
  2. Divide the drawing into shapes. Squares and rectangles are easiest, followed by triangles and then circles.
  3. Figure the area of each shape. ...
  4. Add the areas of all the individual shapes to find the total square footage.

What is an uneven square called? ›

Rhomboid: a parallelogram in which adjacent sides are of unequal lengths, and some angles are oblique (equiv., having no right angles).

How do you find area with different dimensions? ›

Calculating the Area of Shapes - YouTube


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