Translating square footage into actual space can be pretty tricky. This is why just about all real estate listings will have pictures for you to look at. Better to actually get a glimpse of the space you’re considering than to just read off a number for square footage. With a wide angle lense and proper staging, you can easily be tricked into thinking that a listing is a lot bigger than it actually is. Since it’s just impractical to visit every listing you come upon in person, here are some quick tips to help you get a get a better sense for space before you actually make the trip out.

Be skeptical
One of the cardinal rules to browsing anything on the internet applies here. Be skeptical. No matter how honest a listing might seem, remember that someone is trying to sell you on a space. Whether it’s a landlord looking to fill a space or an agent looking grab their next commission, the things you see in a listing will often be presented in the best light possible. Take a skeptical look at the info that’s presented to you and take a second to look past all the polish someone might have thrown into a space. If you’re looking for pure space to stretch out, look out for design techniques that are used to make you think that there is actually more space than there really is. We’ve actually covered some of these techniques here.

Establish a baseline that you’re familiar with
The best way to get a feel for a space is to actually stand in it and see for yourself, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is about filtering things out before you actually set out for a viewing. Stand in a room that you’re familiar with and bust out the measuring tape. Everyone perceives space a little bit differently, so it’s good to establish a baseline for yourself to compare against potential spaces. Measure out a room that you’re comfortable in and use that to your advantage. Combine your personal preference with the knowledge that an average non-master bedroom measures about 12ft x 12ft or 144 square feet and you should be well on your way to visualizing a space for yourself.

Don’t forget about height
Just about every listing you’ll see for a space will list square footage, but more often than not height is usually left out in most descriptions. While there is no set standard height for a space, the average tends to lean towards 8ft. If you’re looking for something more open or would like to have hanging lighting fixtures or a ceiling fan, a 10ft tall space will make for a better fit. Just know that a space with more overhead room will require more energy to keep climate controlled.

Look out for odd nooks and crannies
The practical space that you’ll actually use versus the listed space won’t necessarily be the same. Odd nooks and crannies in a space can factor into the listed square footage of a room so watch out for this when you’re on the hunt. If you see any odd nooks in listing pictures be prepared to knock off a few square feet off of what is listed when visualizing if a space will work for you.

Don’t get us wrong. You can do plenty with limited space (just check out these awesome microapartments for some examples), but hopefully these tips will help to improve your space sensing skills the next time you’re on the hunt for a new place.

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