FAQs About Apartment Rentals and Square Footage

How much square footage do you really need? Apartment rentals come in an array of size options—ranging from micro-studios to spacious luxury floor plans. Whether you're a solo renter, have a roommate, or are searching for family-sized new apartments, take a look at what you need to know about selecting the just-right amount of square footage.

What Does Square Footage Mean?

You already know the obvious—the more square footage (or higher the number), the larger the apartment. But does that mean you need to look at 5,000 square-foot luxury apartment rentals just to have enough space? Even though a high number may seem ideal, you may not need an excessive area for yourself or your family. 

Square footage is the length times the width of a space. A perfect rectangle or square room is easy to calculate. Without bends, curves, or other obstructions all you need are the two (again, length and width) measurements. To calculate the entire square footage of an apartment, you would add the square footage of each room and usable space to get the total. 

While this simple multiplication and addition calculation may seem easy enough, many apartments and homes aren't made from perfect rectangles and squares. A real estate pro (such as a licensed agent or a building manager) can guide you through the calculation process for non-linear spaces. 

The realtor or manager can also explain whether the square footage of the rental includes extra spaces, such as closets and hallways, or starts from the exterior wall. Square footage calculations that begin at the building's exterior may make the rental seem larger on paper.

What Is the Average-Sized Apartment?

This common question doesn't have an exact answer. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2020 the median size of a new multifamily structure built to rent was 1,075 square feet. But this doesn't mean every apartment falls somewhere around this number. 

The average apartment's square footage number varies by geographic location, type of building, and the building itself. An apartment rental structure may have multiple units available in a variety of square footage sizes. This gives you choices and allows you to match the size to your budget.

Which Square Footage Should You Choose?

There are a few factors that can impact this decision. Budget is a major consideration for some renters. A larger (higher square footage) apartment may cost more to rent than something smaller. But the keyword is "may." A small-sized luxury apartment that comes with amenities galore and bonus finishes will have a higher price-point than a larger standard or basic unit.

Along with the price, consider how many people will live in the rental. A higher number of people often equals higher square footage. When you calculate how many square feet you would like per person, also think about how much furniture each person needs and whether some household members can share one space.

For more tips on apartment rentals, work with a realtor near you.