This article was coauthored by Mario Banuelos, PhD. Mario Banuelos is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at California State University, Fresno. With over eight years of teaching experience, Mario specializes in mathematical biology, optimization, statistical models for genome evolution, and data science. Mario holds a BA in Mathematics from California State University, Fresno, and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Merced. Mario has taught at both the high school and collegiate levels.
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The words "square feet" in a real estate listing and other ads can sometimes be confusing. It's hard to get a rough picture of how much space a certain number of square feet takes up. To visualize square feet, use a few rough rules of thumb when imagining space in an apartment or home or use your hands, feet, or other objects to measure.
Steps
Method 1
Method 1 of 3:Getting a Mental Picture of Square Feet

1Picture a typical floor plan for 500 square feet. If you see an ad for an apartment, house, or land that's 500 square feet, this would be a relatively small space, but still have separate rooms. A 500 square foot home has a separate kitchen and dining room, a living room, a bedroom, and a bathroom. A closet is also usually included in a 500 square foot space.^{[1] X Research source }
 The dining room will be relatively small, while the kitchen and bedroom will be spacious.
 Not all 500 square feet spaces will be laid out in exactly this fashion, but this picture should give you a rough idea of how much space 500 square feet is.

2Picture 400 square feet as a twocar garage. A 400 square foot space will be roughly the size of a typical twocar garage. You can imagine the space being large enough to fit two cars with a small amount of wiggle room.^{[2] X Research source }
 When it comes to ads for apartments or homes, a 400 square foot place typically does have a separate kitchen and bedroom, but these rooms are often very small.

3Subtract the size of a bedroom to imagine 300 square feet. Imagine a space of roughly 400 square feet. Then, subtract a space around the size of a small bedroom. This is a 300 square foot space.^{[3] X Research source }
 With an apartment of this size, you may have to do some clever maneuvering, like tucking your bed into a corner or using the same piece of furniture as both a table and a desk.

4See 200 square feet as a onecar garage. A 200 square foot space is about the size of a onecar garage. In other words, the average car could fit into 200 square foot place with a small amount of wiggle room.^{[4] X Research source }

5Imagine a space smaller than a bedroom for 100 square feet. A 100 square foot space is very small. It's generally smaller than the average bedroom. Usually, real estate listings advertising a space of 100 square feet or less are for rooms in a home rather than a home itself.^{[5] X Research source }
 It can also help to picture the average double mattress, which takes up about 27 square feet. This is about a third of 100 square feet.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:Using Your Body to Measure Square Feet

1Multiply length and width to calculate square feet. It's important to understand what a square foot is so you can use your body to draw out an imaginary square foot. A square foot is basically a square that's 12 inches (30.5 cm) on each side. To measure the approximate square footage of a space, you measure the length and width of a space. Then, you multiply the numbers to get the total square feet.^{[6] X Research source }
 For example, a table that's 4 feet (122 cm) by 3 feet (91 cm) would be about 12 square feet.
 Rooms in odd shapes, however, often have special considerations to take. These calculations are to help you roughly picture or estimate square feet and shouldn't be used to give an exact value.

2Use your height to visualize square feet. If you don't know the rough measurements of your hands, feet, and other body parts, you probably know your height. You can use your height to approximate square feet in a space. If you need to estimate your apartment's precise square feet, you can lie down against the walls to measure the length and width.^{[7] X Research source }
 For example, if you're six feet tall, and you can lie down twice along the shorter wall of your apartment, its width is 12 feet (3.7 m). If you can lie down four times along the longer portion, the length is 48. Multiply the numbers to get approximately 576 square feet.

3Measure your stride. You can also try measuring the space between steps in your stride. You can lay a measuring tape on the floor to get a sense of the length of your strides. If you're trying to measure room space, you can walk along the wall and see how many strides you can step to measure the length and width of a room.^{[8] X Research source }
 If you average about a foot between strides, and can make 15 strides along one wall and 12 along the other, the rough length and width of the room is 10 by 5. Multiple this to get 180 square feet.

4Try measuring with your feet. A lot of people know the length of their foot offhand. If you've ever had to measure your feet at a shoefitting, and remember their length, this can be used to picture or estimate square feet.^{[9] X Research source }
 Say you're buying an end table that will allegedly take up 3 square feet. You can't know the exact length and width, but for a rough idea of how much space the table will take, imagine a table that's 1.5 feet (0.5 m) wide and 1.5 feet long. If your feet are 9 inches (22.9 cm), that's about two of your feet for either side of the table.

5Use your hand to measure smaller objects. If you're measuring very small objects, you can use your hand as a guide. If you know the rough measurement from the tips of your fingers to your palm, you can place your hand along the side of objects to get a sense of their rough square footage.^{[10] X Research source }
 If you're measuring an end table, for example, say you can fit three hands along one side and three hands along the other. Your hands are about six inches each, making the table 1.5 feet (0.5 m) by 1.5 feet. It takes up about 3 square feet of floor space.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:Using Objects to Take Rough Measurements

1Use a floor tile. If you have a floor tile on hand, left over from something like renovating your home, see if you can figure out its measurements. If your floor tile is one square foot, you can use this to visualize square feet for homes and furniture.^{[11] X Research source }
 You can also just look at a 1 ft × 1 ft (0.30 m × 0.30 m) piece of paper, if you prefer.^{[12] X Expert Source Mario Banuelos, PhDAssistant Professor of Mathematics Expert Interview. 11 December 2021. }
 For example, a mattress is listed as 30 square feet. Place your tile on the floor and imagine 30 tiles spread out along the ground to get a sense of mattress's size.

2Measure space with a dollar bill. A standard dollar bill is about six inches long. If you're trying to gauge the square footage of a smaller object, you can measure with a dollar.^{[13] X Research source }

3Use a piece of standard paper. Most pieces of paper are about 11 inches (28 cm) long. As this is roughly around a foot, you can use a paper to help get the rough length and width of something in feet. If about four pieces of paper fit along the long side of a table, you can estimate the table is a little under four feet long.^{[14] X Research source }
 Keep in mind, this is the standard length of paper in America. Lengths will vary by region and not all paper is exactly 11 inches long.
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QuestionHow do you picture square feet?Mario Banuelos, PhDMario Banuelos is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at California State University, Fresno. With over eight years of teaching experience, Mario specializes in mathematical biology, optimization, statistical models for genome evolution, and data science. Mario holds a BA in Mathematics from California State University, Fresno, and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Merced. Mario has taught at both the high school and collegiate levels.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics 
QuestionWhat are the dimensions of a rug that is 11 square feet?DonaganTop AnswererAssuming a rectangular rug, the dimensions can be any two numbers whose product is 11: for example, 3 feet by 3 2/3 feet, or 4 feet by 2¾ feet.

QuestionSo that I can get an idea of what is 4 square feet, can you show me the dimensions?DonaganTop AnswererFour square feet can be visualized as a square with sides two feet in length or a rectangle four feet long and one foot wide.

QuestionWhat is 32 square feet in inches?DonaganTop AnswererThere are 12x12 or 144 square inches in a square foot, so multiply 32 by 144.

QuestionWhat are the various room dimensions that 40 square feet of hardwood will cover?DonaganTop AnswererThere is an almost infinite number of dimension combinations that would multiply to 40. The most likely is 5 x 8, but also 4 x 10, 6 x 62/3, 7 x 5.7, and many others.

QuestionWhat would be the dimension of 850 square feet?DonaganTop AnswererThe dimensions can be any two numbers that multiply together to make 850. Divide any number (the divisor) into 850. The quotient and the divisor will be one pair of dimensions that will work. Examples: 85 and 10, or 50 and 17.

QuestionHow big of a room will 115 square feet cover?DonaganTop AnswererA 115squarefoot room might measure 5' x 23' or 10' x 11½' (or any number of other combinations).
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References
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/whatdoes100squarefeetreallylooklike240247
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/whatdoes100squarefeetreallylooklike240247
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/whatdoes100squarefeetreallylooklike240247
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/whatdoes100squarefeetreallylooklike240247
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/whatdoes100squarefeetreallylooklike240247
 ↑ https://enhanceyourhome.stainmaster.com/howbigissquarefootcarpet/
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/howtomeasurewithoutatape76516
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/howtomeasurewithoutatape76516
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/howtomeasurewithoutatape76516
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/howtomeasurewithoutatape76516
 ↑ https://www.quora.com/Whatisthebestwaytovisualizesquarefootage
 ↑ Mario Banuelos, PhD. Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Expert Interview. 11 December 2021.
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/howtomeasurewithoutatape76516
 ↑ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/howtomeasurewithoutatape76516
About This Article
To visualize square feet, keep in mind that a small bedroom is about 100 square feet. A onecar garage is about 200 square feet, and a double garage is about 400 square feet. You can also estimate the square footage of a space by measuring your stride. First, lay a tape measure down and measure the length of your stride by stretching your legs about a step apart. When you know your stride, use it to calculate the rough length and width of a room. For example, if your stride is about a foot and you can make 15 strides along one wall and 12 along the other, the rough length and width of your room is 15 by 12. Then, multiply them together to get 180 square feet. For more tips, including how to use a piece of paper to help you visualize square feet, read on!
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