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NAHB survey looks at finished space usage by room


If you keep a close eye on housing news, it seems each week there is a new story claiming the average single-family home is growing or shrinking. But as a data point, total square footage really doesn’t tell us much about how space is being utilized within a floor plan.

Recently, the National Association of Home Builders polled its single-family builder members on their use of finished space. The survey included smaller homes (less than 2,000 square feet) and larger homes (more than 3,000 square feet). The graphic above combines percentages from both groups of respondents, but somewhat surprisingly, the survey revealed proportions remain relatively consistent regardless of a home’s size:

  • Bedroom space accounts for just under 29% of floor space in new homes, irrespective of the overall size of those homes.
  • Bathroom space is allotted 12.3% of total floor area on average, with more space allocated in larger homes, and less in smaller ones.
  • The share of space covered by the laundry room—which is present in the vast majority of homes, irrespective of their size—is 3.7% and varies only to a minor extent with the size of the home.
  • Entry foyers account for 3.4% of the finished area on average.
  • Kitchens get about 11.9% of the space in small homes, versus 11.1% of the space in larger ones.
  • Dining areas account for 7.8% of the space in small homes and 7% of the space in larger ones.
  • The family room accounts for just over 11% of floor space in small, average, and large size homes, while the living room accounts for nearly 12% of the space in the small home and 7.5% in the large one.

We found this to be a very interesting study and hope the NAHB repeats on an annual basis to capture trends in the way finished space is utilized.