How to Calculate the Total Heated Square Footage of a House Plan

house plan’s total square footage tells you how many square feet of finished space a plan offers. The finished space is the heated living area of the house. Finished space usually has floor coverings such as wood, vinyl, ceramic, carpeting or tile.

Unfinished square footage such as garages, porches, decks, attics, bonus rooms, courtyards, and driveways are typically not included as part of the total heated living space of a plan. A basement is not included in the finished total square footage unless the basement is finished. A 3-season porch is not considered finished square footage because it is not heated and cooled space.

Total heated square footage is not the same as the total heated floor space. Typically the total heated square footage is calculated by using the dimensions starting from the outside studs of the home’s exterior. The heated square footage doesn’t include exterior wall coverings such as brick, stucco or siding. The square footage does include space that is taken up by walls.

Cantilevered floor sections also affect the total heated square footage. A cantilevered room such as a bay window is counted as finished square footage if the floor joists are part of the cantilever. If a cantilevered space does not include floor space, then the cantilevered area is not counted as part of the square footage. If a fireplace cantilevers then the square footage of the cantilever is counted as finished square footage on the floor that has the fireplace but not on other floors.

For stairways in a two-story home plan, usually the space occupied by the staircase is counted once when calculating total square footages. However a few house designers or homebuilders consider a stairway transitional space and sometimes count it as square footage on both floors (call to verify if the home plan you are interested in is calculated this way).

If you are comparing two home plans that have the “same” total finished square footage you may want to remember that the wall space is part of the square footage. For example, if you see a one-story house that has the same finished square footage as a two-story house, then the one story house will actually have more interior space. This is because the two-story house has another floor of exterior walls that are considered part of its total square footage. Also a two-story house needs more space for hallways and stairways and the useable square footage of a two-story house is usually less when compared to a one-story house that has the same total square footage.

Square footage needed for the marketing of new single-family dwellings. 

The competition among residential homebuilders is very keen, and it is in their interest that they and their competitors use a uniform method of computing floor areas in their advertising and marketing. 

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed a standard method for calculating floor areas in single-family dwellings, “Square Footage – Method for Calculating,” ANSI Z765-2003. Copies may be purchased from National Association of Home Building, Research Center, 400 Prince George’s Boulevard, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20774. This standard is not suitable for use in apartment buildings or multiple family dwellings. 

The National Association of Home Builders has supported this voluntary standard among its members since its inception in 1996. The second edition was promulgated in 2003. Although some of the largest homebuilders have adopted the standard, many have not. Some builders publish and use their own standard.

As a final note, be aware that owners and agents may not report the square footage of a home in the same way. Many real estate agents merely represent “total heated living area” and do not provide a complete breakdown of how living area is calculated leaving it up to the buyer or buyer agent to determine. A “breakdown” of living area is important because often times, there are quality differences between finished basements, finished attics, conversions, etc. and “above grade” finish. Appraisers, on the other hand, are usually more consistent in the reporting of “living area” due to secondary market (lending) guidelines that require them to distinguish between “above grade”, “below grade”, “converted areas”, and so forth.

New 4 Bedroom Traditional Style Home Plan With Bonus Room

Traditional Style Home Plan 60110 | Total Living Area: 2066 | Bedrooms: 4 | Bathrooms: 3 | Garage Bays: 2 | Dimensions: 56′ Wide x 64’8 Deep

Traditional Style Home Plan 60110 is a great choice for new construction when you’re building a house for a large family. A covered rear porch, a bonus room over the garage and lots of storage will put this architectural design at the top of the list for your future home.

This home provides a very functional split-floor plan layout with many of the features that your family desires

  • Expansive master bedroom / bath and plenty of storage space in the large master walk-in closet. Enjoy a whirlpool tub and separate shower.
  • Large open floor plan with vaulted ceiling over the kitchen and great room.
  • A fourth bedroom / bonus room is located above the garage with its own bathroom.
  • Front and rear covered porches.
  • Laundry Room with counter for folding clothes.
  • Basement foundation option.

On the left side of the house, the 2 children’s bedrooms share the guest bathroom. This bathroom has a combined tub / shower and double vanity to help with getting ready quickly in the mornings.

Extra storage space in the garage leaves room for seasonal sports equipment or gardening supplies.

The main level is 1672 square feet of living space, and the upper level bonus area is 394 square feet of living space.

This home plan is a great value with a wide variety of innovative features. Make this your home today!

4 Bedroom European Style House Plan With Walkout Basement

European Style House Plan 82401 | Total Living Area: 3713 SQ FT | Bedrooms: 4 | Bathrooms: 3.5 | Dimensions: 78’6 Wide x 95’5 Deep | Garage: 4 Car

This wonderful open floor plan offers plenty of space, including a 4-car, side loading garage and an optional daylight basement for even more potential space.

The massive great room of this home features a vaulted ceiling and a fireplace, flanked by doors that lead to the large outdoor living/grilling porch.

The great room is also open to the breakfast room and kitchen that features a large eat-at island bar, a prep island bar, a large walk-in pantry and a butler’s pantry.

Beyond the butler’s pantry is the dining room with the front wall having arched windows to allow for maximum natural light.

The very spacious master suite boasts a corner fireplace and vaulted ceiling, further adding to the feel of space.

The master bath will spoil you with a raised corner whirlpool bath with a gas fireplace behind it, a large corner glass shower with a seat, and a giant walk-in closet.

Just down the hall is the large laundry room with extra features. Here you have room for a deep freezer for food storage. A pet shower is immediately accessible when you enter the side door.

Off of the foyer and great room is the office/media/theater with its front rounded wall of floor to ceiling windows, again, for maximum natural lighting.

Bedrooms 2, 3, and 4 are on the left side of the home with a Jack and Jill bath between bedrooms 2 and 3 and another bath next to bedroom 4.

The optional daylight basement would offer a huge game room, complete with a kitchen and a safe room, a huge storage/workout room, and access to the rear covered patio.

Click here to see the specifications and pricing for European House Plan 82401.

6 Bedroom French Country House Plan With In-Law Suite

French Country Home Plan With In-Law Suite 82488 has 5106 square feet of total living space, 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms including an in-law suite with 686 square feet.

There is plenty of space for the whole family in this luxury multigenerational house plan.

The open floor plan design creates the perfect gathering area for friends and family where conversation and laughter can flow uninterrupted from the kitchen and breakfast room into the great room, all of which is accented by beautiful 10′ ceilings and foe timber beams.

On either side of the foyer you’ll find dual purpose rooms that can be used whichever way will best fit your family.

On the left is the formal dining room that can be used as a study if formal dining is not your style.

On the right is the beautiful office or study with the large rounded wall covered in windows.

Three large rooms are located behind the great room, each boasting an en-suit bathroom and walk-in closet.

Tucked away on the other side of the home is the spacious master suite with a huge walk-in closet and direct access to the outdoor living porch.

Upstairs you’ll find a game room and guest room allowing your visitors their own private space.

Attached to the home but separated by one of the garages is the in-law suite complete with a kitchen, den, spacious bedroom and bathroom with a stacked washer and dyer.

Click here to see the plan specifications and pricing for this luxurious French Country Style Home Plan with attached In-Law Suite.

3-4 Bedroom Craftsman Cottage Style House Plan With 1912 SQ FT

Craftsman Cottage Style House Plan 81248 | Total Living Area: 1912 SQ FT | Bedrooms: 3-4 | Bathrooms: 2.5 | Dimensions: 40′ Wide x 47′ Deep | Garage Bays: 2

When someone mentions the word cottage, the frequent assumption is that the home will be too confined for comfort. However, Craftsman Cottage Style House Plan 81248 is a cottage house that feels spacious. Think cozy, not cramped. You will see what we mean as we take an imaginative tour of the construction plans.

“Cottage” refers to a home of modest size, at least in the U.S. Appropriately, as we walk up, you will notice that the home does not take up too much space – its overall dimensions are 40 feet wide by 47 feet deep. Still, the home packs a host of wonderful features into a small footprint.

Three roof peaks add interest to the façade. On the left, a two car garage. On the right, a columned covered porch.

Right in the middle is the front door, which leads into the combined great room, dining and kitchen area. An open floor plan helps the communal living area feel expansive.

The kitchen is on the right, toward the front of the home. You might imagine washing dishes at the sink while keeping an eye on the young ones playing in the front yard. The U-shaped counters are extended on one side to create a convenient bar-level dining space. A built-in pantry helps keep the counters clutter-free.

The dining room, adjacent to the kitchen, has two large windows onto the side yard. It is open to the great room, which has sliding doors to a covered patio facing the backyard, and graced with a column. A corner fireplace adds elegance to the great room.

Directly opposite the dining room is a hallway leading past a convenient half-bath, the doorway to the garage and, at the end of the hall, a utility room with washer and dryer.

Finally, on the right side of this hallway is the vaulted master bedroom and bath, found in the left rear of the home. You will love the master bedroom with double doors, natural light and vaulted ceiling.

The bathroom suite here includes a walk-in shower, twin sinks and a large walk-in closet.

As we return to the great room and climb the stairs, you will appreciate that one side of this floor is open to the floor below, adding another layer of spaciousness.

The loft area at the top of the stairs here is open to the great room below. This would make a great office or guest room – or a fourth bedroom.

The other two bedrooms on this floor face the street, each with a generous closet and a large window.

This floor also contains a linen closet and a bath with a shower – tub.

They say good things come in small packages. This is certainly true. Cottage may describe this style, but it does not fully express how roomy it feels to its occupants.

If you are looking for a compact home that will be inexpensive to heat and friendly for the environment but still require an airy, flowing floor plan, this plan could be your best bet.

Click here to see the specifications and pricing for the construction plans for Craftsman Cottage Style House Plan 81248 at COOL House Plans.

3-4 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath European Manor-Style House Plan With 2281 Square Feet

European Manor-Style House Plan 65233 has the look of a modest castle from Europe, but thankfully it’s available in a manageable scale with modern amenities! This English manor-style house has up to 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms in a total of 2281 square feet of living space. Keep reading for more details about this miniature castle home plan below:

A false balcony on the upper level lends a bit of nostalgia and romance to the front façade. Stone siding and a steeply-pitched roof puts us in mind of a medieval castle. Over the windows and doors, graceful arches add just the right amount of classic style.

Snow blankets the ground, and as you look up, a steady stream of smoke wafts from the chimney. It’s a promise of warmth and comfort inside. Standing under the glowing porch light on this frosty evening, you reach for the brass handle on the heavy set of double doors. Imagine if it was your manor house…the butler would be there to usher you inside!

The foyer is closed off from the main house to prevent the wintery wind from following you all the way inside. Here you have a convenient place to leave your boots and coat in the closet.

Once inside, comfortable rooms are strategically organized around a central staircase, thus minimizing hall space.

We first enter a vast family room adorned with a cathedral ceiling and warmed by a fireplace, an indispensable amenity in a room this size.

We step through to the kitchen which has a central cook-top lunch counter and a very original dining area with plenty of natural light.

An independent half-bath and a laundry room are always appreciated on this level.

Last, but not least, is a most enviable home office space occupying the turret at the front. This room can become your fourth bedroom / guest room if desired.

On the second level, we are charmed by three beautiful bedrooms. The very comfortable master suite boasts a very large walk-in closet and a spacious bathroom.

Two secondary bedrooms share a full bathroom of their own, an amenity most appreciated by families with teenagers.

Distinctive Elements:

  • Abundant windows
  • False balcony
  • Home office (or 4th bedroom)
  • Corner bath with dual sinks
  • Cathedral ceiling in family room
  • Built-ins
  • Oversized garage
  • Special ceiling treatments
  • Closed foyer
  • Powder room

Click here to see the plan specifications and pricing for European Manor-Style House Plan 65233 at COOL House Plans.

Ranch Style House Plan With In-Law Suite Attached

Ranch Style House Plan with In-Law Suite 76572 | Total Living Area: 1948 SQ FT | Bedrooms: 2 | Bathrooms: 2.5 | Dimensions: 71′ Wide x 46′ Deep | Garage: 1 Car

Ranch Style House Plan With In-Law Suite is an intergenerational home with 1284 square feet for the main family living space and 664 square feet for the attached in-law living space. The exterior spaces of the two dwellings are opposite one another, thus allowing the occupants to experience daily privacy.

The main accommodation has all the elements required for a couple or a family looking for comfort: a garage, a large laundry room, a powder room, and all the common spaces are open concept and have 9’ ceilings.

The master bedroom also has a 9′ high ceiling and is set back from the common areas. It is a good size, and includes a walk-in closet with bench, as well as a large private bathroom with separate bath and shower and two sinks. In addition, the master bedroom has private and direct access to the large sheltered terrace at the back of the house.

The kitchen is open to the living room and dining room and adjacent to a large pantry. The door providing access to the in-law suite could also accommodate a decorative bench or simply a work table for those who wish.

The living room has a fireplace and space to install shelves on each side. Several windows are fitted therein bringing a beautiful natural light to this space. In addition, the living room also offers access to the private and sheltered terrace via patio doors or garden doors, at the owners’ convenience.

The daylight basement portion of the main accommodation can be converted into additional bedrooms, or else, according to the needs of the family. And the grandparent housing portion (unit # 2, in-law suite) offers a crawl space-type foundation.

The grandparents’ accommodation is open concept, offers 9′ ceilings throughout and is private thanks to its recessed access to the left. It offers a bedroom and a bathroom with stack washer and dryer.

In addition, the in-law suite kitchen has an island, a pantry and is open to the living room and dining room. A wardrobe is also positioned not far from the side entrance to store coats, umbrellas and boots. Finally, a large side gallery is covered and large enough to accommodate a few chairs.

Click here to see the plan specifications and pricing for this Ranch Style Home Plan with in-law suite at

Energy Efficient Traditional Style Home Plan With Sunroom and Outdoor Kitchen

Energy Efficient Traditional Style Home Plan 65974 | Total Living Area: 2500 SQ FT | 4 Bedrooms | 2.5 Bathrooms | 2 Car Garage | Dimensions: 65′ Wide x 84′ Deep

This home is a super energy saver with lots of options. Fine details such as arches over the windows and garage doors, gable accents, cupola and stone give this home an attractive appearance.

The plan is designed with a bonus future space above the garage that can be used as a bedroom, game room or office. The bonus space has a private bath and convenient entry from the main level.

An outdoor living room and kitchen is available as an option making this a perfect home for enjoying outdoor dining and entertainment.

The home is designed to capture free energy from the sun with the right orientation. The sun room allows one to be warm and cozy on those cold winter days, but it also serves as a passive solar collector to lower those heating bills. The home is fully energy efficient featuring 2×6 exterior walls and loads of other energy features that cost very little extra.

The master suite features include a cathedral ceiling, a glorious master bath with twin walk-in closets and an adjoining swing room that can be used as an office, den or nursery.

Two other secondary bedrooms have large walk-in closets and share a Jack & Jill bath. One of the bedrooms has a large built-in desk which is perfect for that diligent student.

The living room features a window wall, fireplace and 12′ ceilings. The dining room has cathedral ceilings and a china hutch niche. Typical ceiling heights are 10′ and 9’.

Be sure to save the picture below to your Dream Home board on Pinterest. See the plan specifications and pricing at COOL House Plans.

3 Bedroom Modern Farmhouse Plan With 1878 Square Feet

Modern Farmhouse Style Home Plan 81205 | Total Living Area: 1878 SQ FT | Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 2 | Garage Bays: 2 | Dimensions: 52′ Wide x 61′ Deep

Those of you who are looking for a small contemporary home with modern farmhouse styling will enjoy everything that this design has to offer.

It all starts with a beautiful outdoor living space to the rear of the house.

Here, a built-in barbecue will keep you grilling all summer long. Access to the kitchen through the dining area makes entertaining easy. Plus, the outdoor living space is covered, so guests will be shady and cool even on the hottest summer days.

From there, you can move the party into the vaulted great room. Wide windows make this space a year-round attraction. Enjoy greenery in the summer, and in the winter, to the warmth of a fire crackling in the fireplace, you can wrap up in blankets and watch the snow blanket the fields and forest behind your home.

Even though the layout is economical on space, it gives you plenty of modern amenities to make life easy. From the garage, you’ll have access to a small mudroom where you can kick off boots and hang up jackets.

The pantry and kitchen are only a few steps deeper into the home, which will makes unloading groceries after a long day at work less of a chore.

Because this home is a single-level home, the laundry area is on the same floor as the bedrooms—no more hauling heavy laundry baskets up and down the steps!

And there is plenty of room for the family too:

The master suite will lavish you in comfort. Here, vaulted ceilings enhance the sense of space, and a private bath with a walk-in shower and a tub give you a place to unwind and ease the stresses of the day.

There is also a walk-in closet complete with shelving, so your clothes and accessories will be ready and waiting on those busy weekday mornings.

Elsewhere in the home, two bedrooms are ideally suited to children. Both feature their own closet space, and there is a bathroom for these two bedrooms so that the kids have a place to get ready in the mornings too.

Click here to see the plan specifications and pricing for Modern Farmhouse Plan 81205 at COOL House Plans.

4 Bedroom Craftsman Ranch Style Home Plan With 2708 Square Feet of Living Space

Craftsman Ranch Style Home Plan 41318 | Total Living Area: 2708 SQ FT | Bedrooms: 4 | Bathrooms: 2.5 | Garage Bays: 3 | Dimensions: 78′ Wide x 67’6 Deep

A Ranch Style home blended with craftsman accents makes the exterior charming and inviting. We love the cedar shingles in the eaves paired with blue siding and stone.

Through the front door is a vaulted entry. The ceiling slopes up towards the great room, giving a grand feel to the entrance.

The dining room is well defined yet open, separated from the great room by a stylish wet bar that will impress any guest.

The great room is spacious with a bay of windows to let in natural light, and a cozy fireplace is nestled in the corner for the chilly winters.

The kitchen is large and functional, with a peninsula providing ample workspace and a corner walk-in pantry for storage. The peninsula separates the kitchen from a nook for a breakfast table or informal dining.

Down the hall from the kitchen and dining room is a functional utility room with a lot of counter space and a utility sink.

Down the hall a little more is the owners’ suite which is privately located from the rest of the house. The owners’ suite has its own access to the covered patio and a luxurious bath. A soaking tub sits in the corner under a window for a relaxing retreat. There is also a sizeable shower, dual vanity, private toilet, and an immense walk-in closet.

The opposite side of the house has two additional bedrooms, and just off the entry is a fourth bedroom which could function as an office as well.

The plan also has a three car garage with extra space for storage.

Click here to see the plan specifications and pricing for this handsome Craftsman Ranch Style Home Plan at COOL House Plans.