Calculating Living Area and Square Footage

Reference Number: KB-00309
Last Modified: March 4, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials


I see that Home Designer displays a Living Area label, but do not understand how this value is calculated.


The Living Area label displays the area of the floor platform for living areas in a plan. By default, it is found near the bottom center of the plan as soon as a room area is defined by walls and/or railing.

You can, however, choose to move the Living Area label by selecting and using its Move edit handle to click and drag it to another location on the plan.

The Living Area displays for an individual building if half or more of that building's area is living area.

For example, a Living Area label would not display for a detached garage that contains a bathroom, or a small shop.

The Living Area should not be mistaken for the footprint of the house. Only true livable areas are included in the Living Area calculation. Exterior and hybrid room types such as Garage, Deck, and Porch are not included. Neither are any rooms labeled as Open Below or Attic.

You can choose to include or exclude a room from the Living Area calculation by utilizing the settings in the room specification dialog.

To manually include or exclude a room from the Living Area calculation

  1. Use the Select Objects  tool to select a room.

  2. Click Open Object  to open the Room Specification dialog.

  3. On the General panel choose the option to Include in Total Living Area Calculation or to Exclude from Total Living Area Calculation.

  4. Click OK to save the changes.

Note: Living Area is measured from the outer surface of the structural layer of exterior walls. When walls separate the living area from exterior or hybrid room types, it is measured to the wall center line.

To calculate the area of the plan's footprint*

*Pro, Architectural and Suite only

  1. Once your floor plan is finalized, navigate to the floor that you would like to calculate the square footage from.

  2. Next, select CAD> Draw Polyline .

    In Home Designer Pro, select CAD> Boxes> Rectangular Polyline .

  3. Drag a rectangular marquee around the entire structure.

  4. Use the Break Line  and Change Line/Arc  edit tools to reshape the polyline around the main structure that you want to calculate the square footage from.

  • To use the Break Line  edit tool, click the edge that you want to break into two segments. Next, click the edit button, then click the edge to create a new corner edit handle at that location and two separate edges on either side of that handle.

    If you click and drag one of the edit handles on either side of the partial break, the edge moves at a right angle to itself and another edge forms, connecting the moved edge with the one on the other side that does not move.

    You can remove an edge from a polyline-based object by clicking and dragging a corner handle until it snaps to an adjacent corner handle.

  • Select an individual line-based or arc-based object or a segment of a polyline-based object and click the Change Line/Arc  edit button to convert the selected segment from a line to an arc or vice versa.

  • With the polyline selected, click on the Open Object  edit button to display the Polyline Specification dialog.

  • On the Polyline panel, the Area of the polyline is provided in Square Feet.

    Make a note of this area value, then click Cancel to close the dialog without making any changes.

  • Select CAD> Text> Text from the menu, then click once in your drawing area to open the Text Specification dialog.

    • In the Text field, type the Area value of the polyline noted above, as well as any other additional information that you would like to include with the square footage of the floor.

      Keep in mind that any changes made to your floor plan after adding this text box will need to have the square footage recalculated, and this text manually updated. It will not update automatically.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and create a text object.

    Note: Home Designer Essentials and Home Designer Interiors can use the Text Line with Arrow CAD tool to create an enclosed polyline.