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How Much Square Footage Will I Need?

One very important thing to consider when looking at buying a home, is the amount of space you'll need. If you're a single person or young couple, the amount of space needed will be less than someone who has three kids. It can be easy to walk into the home of your dreams and think this is the one! However, a few weeks later you might wish the pantry was a little bigger or wish the ensuite had room for a jacuzzi tub.

By looking at the amount of square footage you would like, you may be able to circumvent these kinds of issues. It sounds more difficult than it is, and we want to help you find a house you will be happy with years down the road.

By looking at the rooms that you want and the space they take up, you can get a general estimate of what will work best for you.

Here are some things to consider:

Attached or Detached Garage

There are many pros and cons for both types of garage, which we have covered in a previous blog. However, if you are looking for more space in your home, you might want to opt for a detached garage.

By doing this you can build more living space where the garage may have been.

With a detached garage, it’s easier to build a loft above where guests can stay, again saving you room in your house.


A small mudroom would be 5 feet by 5 feet or 25 square feet. This would allow two adults and a child or a pet in the room at the same time. The average mudroom size is anywhere from 36 square feet to 60 square feet.

Number of Bedrooms

The size of the beds you and your family use can have an impact on how much room you need in your bedrooms. If you have a king-size bed, it will take up about 42 square feet. Your end tables or dressers will also take up valuable space, potentially another 15 square feet.

An average bedroom closet will take up about 16 square feet. If you’d like a walk-in closet, you’re looking at probably 83 square feet minimum. This means your master bedroom will have to be at least 9 feet by 9.5 feet, or 85.5 square feet just to fit your furniture in. If you’d like to have three feet of walking space around your bed and furniture, the size of the bedroom would need to be 12 feet by 12 feet or 144 square feet.

If you want additional bedrooms, you’ll need to apply the same principles to figure it out.

Number of Bathrooms

The number of bathrooms you will need in your home can all vary in size from a half bath (a toilet and sink) to a full bathroom, which includes the tub, shower, toilet, and standard sink.

A half bath takes up significantly less space than a full bath, however, you’ll want another bathroom where you can at least shower. A full-sized bathroom will have some of its dimensions decided by the size of tub and vanity you plan to include. A standard tub will take up just over 13 square feet in your bathroom. A corner tub with a jacuzzi will use about 25 square feet.

Then you’ll want to decide if you want a standard vanity or a double sink vanity. An average full bath with only one sink will be about 160 square feet.

All this square footage can add up quickly so you will have to prioritize the rooms you absolutely need. Then, if there is wiggle room in your budget, you can decide if you want additional or bigger rooms.

Everything Else

The average size of a kitchen is 100 square feet to 175 square feet depending on the layout of your home. A living room is around 320 square feet. If you want an additional flex room or more bathrooms, you’ll have to take those numbers into consideration. Having a main floor laundry room can also take up valuable space.

Going by our calculations, if you had a three-bedroom home with a full bath and a half bath, as well as a flex room (or large pantry), you’d be looking at 1,045 square feet without considering hallway sizes, additional storage, or a main floor laundry room.

The average size of homes in Canada is 1,792 square feet. The question is whether or not this fits in your budget. The average home cost in Alberta is around $400,000. So, if you have a smaller budget you might need to get a smaller or older home.

Another thing worth considering is the layout of the house. If the space isn’t being used to its maximum, you will end up with a lot of unusable dead space.

One common example of dead space in homes is the space above the staircase. Often the ceiling above the staircase can be quite high and it could be used for additional storage space. The same goes for under the stairs.

Do your Homework

When deciding whether a home will work for your family, don’t just consider the layout on paper. Get into the house and get a feel of the size. You might find a lot of dead space or poorly planned out rooms that take up additional space. Perhaps the mudroom room is too small, or maybe you’re looking for a larger master bedroom.

If you have a smaller budget for your home, you’re going to want to make sure every square foot is being fully utilized. Adding a basement might give you more space for storage, but the staircase will also take up room on the main floor.

At Active Homes, we are always happy to help you find a house that works best for you, so feel free to ask questions when deciding on your new home.

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