How To Calculate Square Feet of Your Property: Ultimate Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to calculate the square feet of a home. Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or homeowner, understanding how to determine the square footage of a home is essential. Knowing the square footage of a property can help you determine its market value, plan furniture layout, and estimate costs for renovations and construction projects.

Understanding the Square Feet Formula

The square footage formula is a simple mathematical equation used to calculate the area of a given space. The formula involves multiplying the length and width of a room or area to determine its square footage. This fundamental formula can be applied to measure the square footage of an entire home as well.

When using the square footage formula, if the measurements are in different units, convert them to the same unit before applying the formula. For instance, if the length is measured in feet and the width in inches, convert the inches to feet before calculating the square footage.

Note: The formula for square footage is different from the formula for cubic footage, which involves multiplying the length, width, and height of a space. The cubic footage formula is often used to determine the volume of rooms or areas, such as for HVAC or air conditioning sizing.

Here’s an example of how to calculate the square footage of a room using the formula:

Length12 feet
Width10 feet

To calculate the square footage, multiply the length and width:

12 feet x 10 feet = 120 square feet

Additional Tips for Using the Square Feet Formula

  • When measuring irregularly shaped rooms or areas, divide them into smaller rectangles or squares to make the calculations easier.
  • Be sure to measure all living spaces, including hallways and closets, when calculating the square footage of a home.
  • Double-check your measurements and calculations to ensure accuracy. Even small errors can significantly impact the final square footage result.

Converting Other Units to Square Feet

If your property measurements are expressed in units other than square feet, you’ll need to convert them to ensure consistency. The most common units of measurement that may require conversion are square meters (sq m), square yards (sq yd) and square inches (sq inch). You can use the following formulas:

UnitConversion Formula
Square Meters (sq m)Square Footage = Sq m × 10.764
Square Yards (sq yd)Square Footage = Sq yd × 9
Square Inches (sq inch)Square Footage = Sq inch ÷ 144

For example, if your property measures 75 square meters, to convert it to square feet, you would multiply 75 by 10.764, resulting in a total of 807.3 square feet.

Keep in mind that conversion factors may vary depending on the units of measurement used. Be sure to double-check the conversion formula you use to ensure accurate calculations.

How to Calculate Square Feet from Inches

To calculate square feet from inches, you need to understand that one foot is equal to 12 inches. Therefore, if you have measurements in inches, you need to convert them to feet before calculating the area.

Here’s how you can do it:

Convert the Length and Width to Feet: Divide each inch measurement by 12 (since there are 12 inches in a foot).

Calculate the Area: Once you have both measurements in feet, multiply them together to get the area in square feet.

For example, if you have a rectangle that is 60 inches long and 48 inches wide, you would first convert those measurements to feet (60 inches ÷ 12 = 5 feet and 48 inches ÷ 12 = 4 feet). Then, multiply the length and width together to find the area (5 feet x 4 feet = 20 square feet).

So, the formula you would use is:

Square Feet = (Length in inches ÷ 12) x (Width in inches ÷ 12)

How to Calculate Square Feet of a Room

Calculating the square feet of a room is relatively straightforward, especially if the room is rectangular or square. Here’s how you do it:

Measure the Length and Width: Use a tape measure to measure the length and width of your room in feet. It’s best to measure from wall to wall for an accurate calculation.

Multiply Length by Width: Once you have the measurements, multiply the length of the room by its width. The result is the area of the room in square feet.

For example, if your room is 10 feet long and 12 feet wide, the area would be 120 square feet (10 ft x 12 ft = 120 sq ft).

If your room is not a perfect rectangle or square, you may need to divide it into smaller sections that are squares or rectangles and then add those areas together. For example, if you have an ‘L’ shaped room, you can split it into two rectangles, calculate the area for both, and then add them together.

Remember to always double-check your measurements for accuracy!

How to Calculate Square Feet of a House

Calculating the square feet of a house involves summing up the area (length times width) of each room or section of the house. Here’s a step-by-step guide:  

Measure Each Room: Measure the length and width of each room in feet.

Calculate Area of Each Room: Multiply the length and width of each room to get the area in square feet. This is done by using the formula: Length (in feet) x Width (in feet) = Area (in square feet).

Sum Up the Areas: Add up the calculated area of all rooms or sections in the house. The total is the overall square footage of the house.

For example, if your house has three rooms with areas 200 sq ft, 150 sq ft, and 250 sq ft respectively, the total square footage of your house would be 600 sq ft (200+150+250).

Remember, this method assumes that all rooms are perfect rectangles or squares. If any room has an irregular shape, you might need to divide it into rectangular sections, calculate the square footage of each section, and then add those together.

Also, keep in mind that the square footage of a house usually includes only the living areas. Garages, unfinished basements, and porches are typically not included unless otherwise specified.

How to Calculate Square Feet of a Wall

To calculate the square feet of a wall, you need to measure the height and length (or width) of the wall in feet. Once you’ve got these measurements, multiply them together to get the total square footage.

Here’s the formula:

Square Footage = Height (in feet) x Length (in feet)

For example, if a wall is 8 feet high and 12 feet wide, the square footage of the wall would be 96 square feet (8 ft x 12 ft = 96 sq ft).

This method assumes the wall is a perfect rectangle. If the wall has any irregularities like doors or windows you want to exclude, calculate their area separately and subtract from the total wall area.

Importance of Measuring square feet and when it’s required

1. Determination of Rent and Property Value

Square footage is crucial when determining the rent or the value of a rental property. Typically, properties with larger square footage command higher rents and a higher market value. Real estate agents, property appraisers, and potential tenants often use the square footage of a property to compare its value or rent with similar properties in the same area. 

2. Obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is a critical document that confirms a building’s compliance with local building codes and declares it legally suitable for occupancy. One of the fundamental parameters often considered when issuing a CO is the property’s square footage. This measurement helps ascertain if the property meets specific space requirements, especially concerning safety and inhabitability standards.

2. Applying for a Mortgage

When property owners apply for a mortgage or any other type of loan using their rental property as collateral, square footage is a key consideration for financial institutions. Lenders evaluate the value of the property, among other factors, to determine the loan amount, interest rate, and terms. The property’s size, represented by its square footage, is an influential factor in its market valuation. Accurate square footage allows lenders to assess risk and determine the property’s worth in the current market, ensuring that the loan amount is proportionate and fair.

3. Listing Your Property Online

In today’s digital age, most property searches begin online. Potential tenants often use square footage as a filter when looking for rental properties that suit their needs. Listing accurate square footage not only helps attract the right tenant demographic but also builds trust. Misrepresentation can lead to disappointment during property viewings, waste time, and might even harm the landlord’s reputation. 

5. Planning and Future Modifications

Square footage is a fundamental factor when planning any modifications or renovations to a rental property. Whether a landlord wants to add an extra room, divide a large space, or make any structural modifications, knowing the exact square footage is vital. It helps in estimating costs, determining feasibility, and ensuring that any modifications don’t adversely affect the property’s functionality or value.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Calculating Square Feet

1. Incorrect Measurements

Using the Wrong Tools: Using a regular tape measure for large spaces can lead to inaccuracies. A laser distance measurer or a long, sturdy tape intended for architectural measurements can offer more accurate results.

Not Double-Checking: Just like the carpenter’s rule of “measure twice, cut once,” you should always measure at least twice to confirm your figures. Small discrepancies can significantly impact the total square footage.

2. Ignoring Non-Livable Spaces

While it’s correct that certain areas, like unfinished basements or garages, aren’t traditionally included in the livable square footage, they still have value. If you’re calculating for purposes other than selling a home – like for cleaning estimates, painting, or flooring – you’ll need to factor in these areas. Make sure you’re clear about which spaces to include based on your specific purpose.

3. Overlooking Irregular Areas

Properties are not always perfect rectangles. There may be alcoves, bay windows, or other architectural features that disrupt a straightforward length x width calculation. Overlooking these irregularities can result in significant inaccuracies.

4. Not Including Second Stories or Multi-level Spaces

If a home or building has multiple floors, each level’s square footage must be calculated separately and then combined for the total. Missing out on measuring any level or considering only the footprint of the base level is a common oversight.

5. Relying Solely on Previous Records or Deeds

Previous records can be outdated or based on inaccurate initial measurements. While they’re a good starting point, it’s always wise to do your measurements, especially if any modifications or renovations have been done since the last record.

6. Disregarding Unfinished Spaces that Add Value

While unfinished spaces might not traditionally be counted in the “official” square footage, they can add value in specific scenarios. For instance, an unfinished but insulated attic can be presented as potential additional living space, adding appeal to potential buyers or tenants.

7. Forgetting Built-in Spaces

Areas like built-in bookcases, window seats, or permanent fixtures occupy space. They might not take up a significant amount of square footage, but for precision, they should be deducted from the room’s overall square footage.

8. Confusing Square Footage with Total Area

Especially in properties with outdoor spaces like balconies or terraces, there can be a mix-up between the total area of the property and the livable square footage. Make sure to clearly distinguish between the two to avoid overestimations.

9. Misinterpreting Building Codes and Standards

Some regions or housing associations have specific guidelines on what can and cannot be included in official square footage calculations (e.g., areas with ceilings below a certain height). Misinterpreting or not being aware of these can lead to incorrect figures.

Ins and Outs of Square Footage: A Comprehensive Guide on What’s Included and What’s Not

When measuring square footage for a property, it’s important to know what elements are typically included and what are not in the calculation. 

Here are some common elements that are typically included in the square footage measurement:

Finished AreasFinished areas include living spaces that are heated, cooled, and insulated. This can include bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen areas.
BasementsIn some cases, finished basement areas that are accessible from the main level of the property and meet certain requirements, such as ceiling height, are included in the square footage calculation.
AtticsIf the attic is finished and has the required height and flooring, it can be included in the square footage calculation.
Closets and Storage SpacesClosets and storage spaces that are finished and have a minimum ceiling height are typically included in the square footage calculation.
GaragesIf the garage is attached to the property and has finished walls and ceilings, it can be included in the square footage calculation.

These elements are usually included in the square footage measurement because they contribute to the overall size and livable space of the property. 

Not Included Elements in Square Footage Measurement

While certain features and areas of a property are included in the square footage measurement, there are also elements that are typically not included. It’s important to be aware of these exclusions to avoid misunderstandings in property transactions.

Here are some examples of elements that are not included in square footage measurement:

ElementReason for Exclusion
Garages and storage areasThese areas are typically not considered living space and therefore not included in the square footage measurement.
Outdoor patios and decksThese areas are not enclosed and are not considered part of the interior living space.
Attics and basementsIf these areas are unfinished or used primarily for storage, they are not included in the square footage measurement. However, if they are finished and used as living space, they may be included.
StaircasesThe area taken up by staircases is not included in the square footage measurement, as it is considered a passageway rather than usable living space.

It’s important to note that not all regions have the same exclusions. Some areas may include certain elements in the square footage calculation while excluding others. It’s best to consult local regulations and guidelines for specific exclusions in your area.

Importance of Hiring a Professional for Square Footage Measurement

Professional measuring companies have years of experience and expertise in determining square footage measurements. They know what elements to include and which ones to exclude, and they have access to the latest tools and technology to ensure precise measurements. Hiring a professional also reduces the risk of discrepancies and legal issues that may arise from inaccurate square footage measurements.

When you work with a professional measuring company, you can have peace of mind knowing that the measurement will be accurate and reliable. It can also save you time and effort compared to trying to measure a property on your own.


Calculating the square footage of your property involves measuring the length and width of each living area, and then multiplying these figures together to get the area in square feet. This process should be repeated for all rooms or sections of the house, and the results summed up to get the total square footage.

Remember, for irregularly shaped rooms, you may need to divide them into rectangular sections and calculate the area of each before adding them together. Also, areas such as garages, unfinished basements, and porches are typically not included unless otherwise specified.

Understanding the square footage of your property is crucial as it can have significant implications, including property valuation, marketing for sale, planning renovations, or calculating the amount of materials needed for a project. Accuracy in measurement and calculation ensures that you have a precise understanding of your property’s size, allowing for informed decision-making.