How to Calculate the Square Feet of a Living Area

Square footage, abbreviated as sq ft, is used throughout the United States, Canada and other parts of the world to measure living space. One square foot is an area with a length of 12 inches and a width of twelve inches. Square footage is important in home sales, ordering paint or wallpaper, and carpeting a living space. Calculating the square footage of square or rectangular shaped rooms is relatively easy, but becomes more complicated when calculating triangular or circular shaped rooms.

Calculating the Square Footage of a Living Area

Calculating square footage is moderately easy and does not require any special skills or tools.

Step 1

Measure the length and the width of the room.  The square footage of a square or rectangular living area is calculated by multiplying these two measurements.

For example, a room nine feet in length and six feet in width is 36 square feet. 

Step 2

Measure the base and the height or a triangular shaped living space to calculate the square footage.  Multiply half the length of the base by the height.

For example, an eight feet long by six feet high triangle is 24 square feet. 

Step 3

Measure the square footage of a circular shaped area by measuring the radius, the length from the center of the room to the outer perimeter.  Square this number, that is, multiply it by itself.

Then multiply this number by pi, or 314.  For example, a room with a radius of four feet is (4 x 4 x 314 =) 5024 square feet.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Calculator

About the Author

Alex Taylor has been a freelance writer since 2004. He has written for the "Daily Free Press" as well as a variety of online publications. Taylor has also worked in public relations and fund-raising for nonprofit groups in the United Kingdom, Africa and Hong Kong. He holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Boston University.

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