By Kirya Duncan
Living rooms, once considered the formal counterpart to the dining room, are anything but formal these days. They are more relaxed now and are used as a part of daily activities in the average home; in addition, they are also considered to be family rooms these days. The names have become interchangeable to many homeowners, so this could explain the gradual shift of this space from a formal room to a casual one.
One of the most challenging aspects of designing the size and shape of livings rooms, or any room for that matter, is to provide enough wall space for furniture placement. Rectangular rooms are ideal in general due to the ease of furniture planning; whereas, square rooms present a tougher challenge due to equal length walls. Since this is the area where the family unit would spend a significant amount of time, it is important to make this room one of largest; if not the biggest room in your house.
Living rooms vary in size and are governed by the overall heated square footage of your house. For the purpose of this article, we will take into consideration the use of the living room as a formal space for guest and a so-called family room for casual daily uses.
Minimum Suggested Measurements
Possible dimension arrangements: 11 to 12 feet in width, 15 to 16 feet in length (165 to 192 sf)
[12 ft is a better option as a minimum but if it’s not possible, try to add inches between 11 and 12 ft to maximize the width.]
Ideal sizes for use in small one story homes or two-story homes with a small footprint. Also good for a formal room where there is ample square footage for a separate and slightly larger family room.
Possible dimension arrangements: 13 to 14 feet in width, 16 to 18 feet in length (208 to 252 sf)
Ideal measurements for a family room in a small to midsize home. These dimensions are also a perfect guide for a separate formal living room in larger more luxurious homes with the additional square footage
Possible dimension arrangements: 15 to 18 feet plus in width, 20 to 22 feet plus in length (300 to 396 sf plus)
Ideal size for the purpose of a large family room in midsize to luxury homes.
These guidelines will serve you well whether you plan to build a small retirement home or you are about to plan the construction of your dream home. How you plan to use your living room will be the main governing factor along with furniture and overall square footage. It is best to have one large space rather than having two small rooms. For smaller homes, try to go with a medium to large size room instead of chopping up valuable living space. For the lucky among us who will build midsize and large homes, you have an added advantage of additional square footage. This extra area will allow for a large and small living room for formal and casual family use. Nonetheless, using the aforementioned ideal dimensions for a living room should give you an upper hand on utilizing your living space more efficient.
About the Author: Determining the appropriate scale and dimension of a living room is just one of many
home design ideas
that a building designer must consider.
Kirya J. Duncan is a building designer and the owner of Design Evolutions Inc., GA (designevolutions.com). He specialize in custom home designs
and stock house plans.