Builder's Focus: Spaces in New Homes

2013-10-12T11:45:00Z Builder's Focus: Spaces in New HomesMichelle Krueger Times Correspondent
October 12, 2013 11:45 am  • 

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), how space is distributed in a new home is a frequently asked question.

While the NAHB summarizes data from the standard source on characteristics of new homes, the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC), each year, the results really don’t answer the questions of how large the rooms are or how much square footage is allocated to specific spaces.

The SOC reports that that the median size of a home started in 2012 was 2,315 square feet, with, on average, 2.56 bathrooms, and 3.38 bedrooms.

However, to get more specific data on the average percent distribution of finished space in a typical new home, NAHB surveyed its single-family builder members and released the following results:

Along with a 2-car garage and miscellaneous finished space including breakfast nooks, closets and hallways accounting for 12.7 percent of an average new home, the space in most floor plans is divided between ten different defined areas ranging from 16.8 percent in other bedrooms, 12 percent in the master bedroom, 11.6 percent in the kitchen and 11.5 percent in the family rooms to 8.6 percent in living rooms, 7.4 percent in dining rooms, 6.3 percent in other baths, 6 percent in the master bath, 3.7 percent in the laundry rooms and 3.4 percent in the foyer.

In addition to the average breakdown of space in all new homes, NAHB also looked at the breakdown for a small home (based on averages for homes under 2,000 square feet) and a large home (based on homes with at least 3,000 square feet).

Here are a few highlights of what they discovered:

• Bedroom space accounts for just under 29 percent of floor space in new homes, irrespective of the overall size of those homes.

• Bathroom space is allotted 12.3 percent 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 varies only to a minor extent with the size of the home.

• Entry foyers remained very close to the same percentage of finished area in all home sizes.

• Kitchens get about 11.9 percent of the space in small homes, versus 11.1 percent of the space in larger ones.

• Dining areas account for 7.8 percent of the space in small homes and 7 percent of the space in larger ones.

• The family room accounts for just over 11 percent of floor space in small, average and large size homes, while the living room accounts for nearly 12 percent of the space in smaller homes and 7.5 percent in larger ones.

Complete details, including tables showing how often builders include various types of rooms in new homes and the size of the rooms in square feet, are available in the October 1 Special Study published by NAHB in

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