Size of rooms

House and Room Sizes

House size and sizing

One of the big questions new home builders have is “how much” is the house going to cost to build?  This question usually spawns another which is – how big a house do you want or need?

Size that makes sense

It is easy to become carried with the romance of a home, yet it is essentially a blend of functional spaces.

It has a space for a car, a bed, a lounge, some food and cleaning facilities.   

Together, each entity becomes bigger than itself as it creates an organic whole.

The choices you make about individual rooms impact on the total size of another as each is a part of the total development.

According to architects Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein and Barbara Winslow in the book Patterns of Home the proportions are an essential design solution to creating a welcoming home.

The home should be organised along paths of movement beginning at the main axis and spreading from that main point. The highest or open points of the house should be in the main living area, while the rest of the house should integrate structural elements to separate the main activities of the house and help create circulation movements. Thus, the overall form of the house will grow from its parts.

The classics

A classical home follows the theoretical perfect proportions of the length of a room being 1.5 times its width. This creates a comfortable space in all rectangular rooms and a good starting point for creating a balance in space.

Classical theorists also state that the height of the roof should be equal to its width. This would provide an interesting theory in modern open plan homes where rooms could easily reach 7m in width; however, the idea remains that a larger room lends itself to added height to reinforce the spaciousness and appeal of the room.

So can a room be too big or small? Yes. A room is meant to be occupied by people and it needs enough space for them to be comfortable and move freely. If it is too big, or the furniture seems to be islands in the floor space, then it will seem bewildering and overwhelming. Big rooms are still possible although they do need to be broken up with architectural features to create a feeling of intimacy within spaces while being part of a whole.

Think of a house like a garden and follow the same principles. A garden is a large room with a limitless ceiling which can be divided into rooms by plantings, pathways, furniture, retaining walls, water features, pavers or utility areas. Likewise, a large room can be broken up with furniture, half walls, fireplaces, rugs, benches, display areas, indoor plants or water features.


A welcoming house needs to represent proportion and size through balance and order.

Houses that provide a sense of balance and harmony provide a blend between public and private spaces and outside and inside spaces.

To help create the external and internal balance, you can bring the outdoors inside by the strategic placing of generous windows to capture vistas and green spaces while letting in welcoming light or add generous doors to disintegrate the delineation between the two.

Seamless blending of outdoor and indoor areas with open courtyard or sheltered areas help create extra living space while developing a sense of the house being a part of the land rather than being plonked unceremoniously on top of it.

In an ideal home, the design also links between private and public spaces with an architectural feature that delineates the two spaces. While there is a practical benefit of not having your guests having an unwanted glance into your bathroom or bedroom while they are sipping tea on the lounge, there is also a sense of balance in having a physical separation that leads you into a house drawing you into itself without revealing itself all at once.

For a house to work with proportion and balance there needs to be a sense of harmony and repetition to create seamless continuity. In other words, a house that makes sense.


The giant green backyard is no longer the family holy grail that it was in the 60s and 70s. Rather, the modern home provides a seamless link between the outdoors and internal spaces creating a shared dining and living experience for relaxation and entertaining.

The backyard climbing tree with its attached tree house remains a quaint symbol of the past, while a stretched out lounge, high-end barbecue and fully retractable glass door are now the must-have additions to the backyard.

This change in aesthetics also creates added proportions to the house and creates a feeling of spaciousness and light.

The modern response

Forget the nuclear family, only 1/3 of Australians live in a typical nuclear family and the most common household will be couple-only families in a short space of time. New home designs need to find solutions to create a sense of space and proportion that reflect changing living needs and circumstances.

Finding an adaptable and practical blend between open and private spaces has become the modern challenge for new home builders.

One of the biggest architectural responses is the changing needs of children within the house.  Planning needs to incorporate spaces that children can use that does not become redundant once they grow out of the toy cupboard. An adequate response to that is the children’s wing which extends from the public area gradually shifting into levels of privacy so a blended rumpus/teenage retreat adds space between the bedrooms. If children stay into adulthood the area can be re-visioned again into a study, sitting or media room depending on their changing needs.

Going Bigger

Given the option, most people will go as large as they can when they build a new house with the only restraints being budget and land space.

For some going bigger is not an option, it is essential. People with accessible needs through age and disability often need larger spaces to manoeuvre walking devices and wheelchairs, particularly in the bathroom.

Going bigger doesn’t have to mean having everything – it means using the extra space to meet your needs now and into the future.

Extra space used to mean formal dining and lounge areas, which remained untapped potentials of harmonic decorating with nobody eating or sitting for fear of damaging the furniture. In today’s climate extra space means living.

Retreats have also lost their golden edge on modern floor plans. They have gone the same route of formal areas due to their lack of purpose as they were often transformed into a home office which completely nullified its original purpose of peace and tranquillity.

Likewise pool rooms and rumpus room are facing the razor’s edge, and the new entertainment rooms are theatre or electronic based reflecting changing social patterns.

A modern floor plan usually reflects several shared spaces with multiple purposes such as the outdoor entertaining area will also be used as a children’s play area or an exercise area with its own lap pool.  

Kitchens are joined to family eating and living areas and often straight into the outdoor entertaining area to create a billowing open space.

Minimum Size

When planning your build, you need to ensure that all rooms meet a minimum size otherwise they will feel poky and will not easily perform multiple functions.

Obviously, a pool room must be large enough to not only hold a pool table; moreover, players must be able to move around the whole table and use a cue. A bedroom must be big enough to store a bed, wardrobe and dressing table. These are unexceptional thoughts in themselves, but it is important to note how each room reacts to the whole, how there needs to be a balance between the available spaces and recognition of the interplay between public and private spaces.

Contemporary Living

According to Shrink that footprint, these are the average room sizes for homes.

Single or Standard Bedroom

In newer houses, the average total square meterage of a single bedroom is 10.5 square metres with the standard dimensions being 3.0 metres x 3.5 metres

While in older houses, it can be as small as 7.5 square metres with the dimensions being 2.5 metres x 3 metres

Double or Master Bedroom

The average for a double bedroom can either be 14 square metres i.e. 4.0 metres x 3.5 metres or 16 square metres i.e. 4.0 x 4.0m

Again, in older houses they are can be smaller by up to 0.5 metres each way making it 10.5 to 12.25 square metres of space.


Usually the size of a bedroom includes the wardrobe. If it is a separate walk- in wardrobes then the wardrobe will be 4 square metres i.e. 2.0 metres x 2.0 metres.

Study and Family Rooms

  • Study 6.72 square metres (2.8 x 2.4m)
  • Family Room 18 square metres (4.5 x 4.0m)

Bathrooms, Toilets and Laundry

  • Ensuite 5.2 square metres (2.6 x 2.0m)
  • Toilet      1.4 square metres (0.9 x 1.6m)
  • Bathroom  7.8 square metres (2.6 x 3.0m)
  • Laundry 3.7 square metres(1.6 x 2.3m)

Dining and Kitchen

  • Dining room 9 square metres (3.0 x 3.0m)
  • Kitchen        10.8 square metres (2.7 x 4.0m)


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