Layouts, square feet, living area

Square footageLiving area is a general concept that we understand when living in a house, apartment, etc., before we go out on our own. It is the “space” we have lived in.


Did you grow up knowing the “square footage” of your home or apartment? Did you have a clear concept of what kind of “layout” your home had? I certainly had no clear concept for what a layout was or what the square footage of any room in my house might have been. Rolling the term “square footage” in my mind might bring back nightmares of algebraic mathematics and “square roots”.


When considering a home’s layout, the following “rooms” come to mind:

  • the kitchen
  • the living room
  • formal dining room
  • bedrooms
  • baths (which are not included in square foot measurements)
  • other rooms: den, mud room, study/office/nursery, family room,


You don’t need rocket appliances to figure out the basic room configuration for a one bedroom apartment or condominium that has 3 rooms. Let’s break down the 3 rooms: bedroom, kitchen, and living room. Most likely, that is the configuration. However, what you don’t know is how these rooms are laid out or the proportions for each room. The square footage of the whole place will give you a good idea about how much space could be allotted to the three rooms.


Do you require a certain sized bedroom for your bed and stuff? If so, then get out the measuring tape and measure the length and width of the bedroom. Length x width = square footage for the bedroom. This will give you excellent information for understanding the minimum square footage for your next home. Make sure to also measure the height of the ceiling. People forget to consider the importance of the ceiling height of a home.


Off to a great start! At a minimum, you now have the confidence that 1 of the bedrooms for your future home must be at least the same size as your current bedroom. Is the bedroom 100 sf? Is it 150 sf? As long as you have the answer, then you can focus on the next steps. What are the next steps?


Next step is to measure the living room, dining room, and kitchen at your home. In fact, measure all of the rooms that you currently live within. Now, add the square footage for each of the main rooms in your home together and you will know the gross living area (GLA) for your home. This GLA number will give you a good idea of what square footage you are currently living within, and will become a very good baseline for the minimum space that you will need in your next home.


One thing to consider about the square footage number for homes that you find in your home search: this number will include bathrooms, closets, hallways, stairways. We become impressed by the square footage (as well as the price per square footage) that is being represented in an online rental listing or a home for sale listing.


A 1000 sf apartment or condominium may seem HUGE and quite adequate to meet your living and space needs. However, try to be curious about the “layout” of an apartment, condo, or other home for sale. The 1000 sf could have a layout that you did not consider, and you may find that there is a foyer, hallway, or other areas that eat up a decent percentage of that 1000 sf. The layout for an 800 sf unit may feel bigger and make more sense due to the proportions for the rooms, than a 1000 sf unit that wastes space in foyers and hallways. Overall, pay attention to the layout vs. the gross living area and square footage being represented in apartments for rental or homes for sale.





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