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Understanding the Square Foot

square foot

When talking about buying or selling your home, different types of real estate lingo is tossed around and used. House descriptions are done in numerical terms. What is included in the description is the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, garage, and so on. These terms are vitally important for cost, taxes, and economics of the property and its value. The numerical term that mostly equates with size and space in real estate is the square foot.

The square foot is a measurement that is taken by multiplying the length and width of a room. If a room is 10 feet long and is 10 feet wide, then the room is a 100 square foot room. Not everyone can visualize what a 100 square foot room would look like. Here are a few tricks to help you visualize space and terms to watch for when reading descriptions about housing real estate.

Total Space vs Livable Space

These two slightly different variations on space can make a world of difference in what the actual size looks like. It is good to know what the difference is and what they mean. Total space includes closets, hallways, and stairways while livable space only refers to rooms that can be used for actual living. This value, when referred as total space, will help boost the overall square footage of a house or apartment. It can be deceiving when trying to figure out the actual size of a living room or bedroom. Make sure that it is clearly stated or explained which type of space is being measured for the square footage.

Visualizing Tips

When trying to figure out a size of a bedroom use a king sized bed as a visual tip. A king sized mattress takes up 42.15 square feet of space. A standard master bedroom will be anywhere from 200 to 400 square feet, which is roughly 5-10 king mattresses. A queen mattress, the most popular, is 33 square feet in comparison. It is suggested that the smallest a room should be, to fit a queen mattress in, is 120 square feet.

Garage Space

Most garages are usually referred by how many vehicles can fit in the space. Be sure to get the square footage though, especially on older homes where the type of garage might not necessarily fit a standard size vehicle. A typical 2-car garage is around 400 square feet.


Bathroom space can be referred to by how many fixtures are in the room. Fixtures commonly refer to sink, toilet and shower/bath unit. A standard 3-fixture bathroom is about 40 square feet. Visualize a bathroom by using a king sized mattress, again which is 42.15 square feet. It’s comical to think of a bathroom the size of bedroom mattress.


Trying to gauge size in square footage can sometimes be difficult when not in the physical space. Pictures can be misleading and 2-D drawings are sometimes difficult to bring a room concept to life. The best thing that can be done is tp schedule a showing with a C3 Real Estate Agent for the property you are considering. Fun facts – A NBA basketball court is 4,700 square feet. That is a huge property size! A standard 2 bedroom apartment is around 1,000 square feet. Don’t let the numbers and jargon confuse you when considering buying a new home. Call or email us today for assistance.