I’m often asked about the minimum comfortable or usable room sizes for a home. From utility rooms to walk-in wardrobes and larger spaces like open plan living areas, there are minimum sizes – below which the spaces simply won’t work. I’ve put together what I call my ‘Goldielocks guide’ to the ideal room size, where the rooms are not too big and not too small, but just right.
Room sizes for open-plan kitchen living & dining room
You see poor examples of open-plan layouts in a lot of showhouses where what is really displayed is only a kitchen-dining area, with a couple of armchairs to make it look like it has a living space. While this might look inviting in a showhouse setting in reality it isn’t going to work.
When planning a space that has more than one function, it’s important each area works well in its own right. By thinking about the layout as two or three different spaces it will make it easier for you to figure out the right room size and exactly how much space you need overall.
Typically for an open plan kitchen, living and dining area to feel spacious and for each space to function well in its own right, you should allow a minimum of 35 square meters.
How about the space needed to comfortably fit a dining table for entertaining? You should allow 800mm between the table edge and any walls. This is so people can still get past when there are people sitting on the chairs. Anything less than this will feel a bit too cramped.
Room sizes for utility rooms
A utility room is an important room in any home and one that needs to function extremely well. Big isn’t necessarily the secret to success but maximizing every inch of space is.
In terms of room size guidelines, the minimum functional width for a utility room should be the depth of a counter or appliance (600mm-650mm) plus enough space to comfortably move around (min. 1000mm). The length of the room should be a minimum of two appliances or 1200mm.
To make the most of the space that you have, try to get as much of your stuff up off the floor as possible. Things like ironing boards, brushes, mops and clothes-drying apparatus can all be hung up on the wall or backs of doors, freeing up valuable floor space.
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A walk-in wardrobe is probably on 95pc of my clients’ wish lists but, unless you have a good amount of space to devote to your walk-in closet, I would advise against it. Small walk-in wardrobes offer no advantage over traditional wardrobes and mean you often have to sacrifice space that would be better used elsewhere.
The ideal room size for a functional walk-in wardrobe needs to have a total width of 1600mm minimum, (the depth of the wardrobe, 600mm plus a minimum of 1000mm circulation space) and you should allow between 2500 – 3000mm in length.
I would recommend avoiding corner units, straight runs are the most efficient and bear in mind doors are going to take up space when opening so open systems will allow you to have a more compact space.
The minimum comfortable shower tray size I recommend is 900x900mm anything smaller than this is really compact.
You can get en-suites with very compact room size but for a space to feel comfortable there are a couple of layouts that work well. Option one with the sink, WC and shower all in one run or, option two with the shower on one side of the room and the WC and basin opposite it. Both rooms need almost exactly the same dimensions.
If you go for option one, you’ll need 900mm for the shower tray, and a further 1700mm for the WC and basin (2,600mm in total) and you’ll need 1700mm in depth over all. For option two, you will need 1700mm min in width, this will accommodate a 500mm wide basin and you should allow 2,500mm in length to accommodate a 900mm wide shower.
Room sizes for bedrooms
When planning a bedroom you want to make sure you have sufficient space on either side of the bed to take a bedside table. This means leaving a minimum of 500mm on either side of the bed.
You should also have enough space to walk around the bed, this means you’ll need to allow a minimum of 800mm free space at the end of the bed. You should also need at least 900mm clear space for entering the bedroom.
If you have wardrobes in the room you’ll need at least 800mm between the wardrobes and bed or wall to allow you to comfortably open the doors and have enough space to get dressed etc.
So a typical bedroom with a queen sized bed 1500 x 2000 should measure 3800mm including death of wardrobes (600mm) x a minimum of 2800mm in length.
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