mhines7748

Space allocation for 1500 sf ranch with basement

mhines7748
last month
last modified: last month

Space dedication for a 1500 sf main level...

hi everyone, we are in the design process of building our home and im trying to figure out what kind of room sizes I should account for.. we will have about 1500 sf on the main with 1,000 finished sf basement. I need a large chefs kitchen as it’s where I spend so much time. We don’t need a huge living room as we don’t even watch television in there, but would like a comfortable space for guests.

I need to design 2. rooms, one master with bath suite spacious enough for a freestanding tub, and one room for our Daughter to grow into with her own bath as well. A walk in or hidden pantry, a small laundry room and drop zone off the garage. Some non formal dining area as it will be an open floor plan. How much square footage is reasonable to dedicate to each of these spaces with what we have to work with? Thank you for any insight!


attached is a photo of my preferred kitchen layout


Comments (39)

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month
    last modified: last month

    That is the information you should take to a local architect. They will ask you some questions and come up with a design in a couple of weeks or so for you to review.

    Are you looking for someone to design a house for you for free?

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    last month
    last modified: last month

    That kitchen is about 18' wide, and that's already too big for a 1500sf main floor. I think ap 14 x 14 would be a good size for an open kitchen with an island--maybe in an L layout.

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  • B Carey
    last month

    I think that kitchen is minimum 17*11. Probably closer to 18*12. That much cabinetry will also blow the budget of tour 1500 sq ft main floor home. The Appraiser cares mostly about sq ft.

  • mhines7748
    last month

    it’s not the exact kitchen, it’s a preferred layout. Is that just your opinion or Do you have any input on how much square footage in a kitchen makes sense to dedicate to 1500 sf? What would some “proper” kitchen layouts for a 1500 sf ranch house plan Involve?

  • mhines7748
    last month
    last modified: last month

    No I’m not looking for someone to design a house for me for free... my Husband and I are are trying to come up with ideas in a design layout software program to take to the architect. I want to get a good idea of what I have to work with so I’m just looking for advice from people who have experience... isn’t this what this forum is for?

  • mhines7748
    last month

    I don’t want to present something that is impossible. I want to go into this meeting with a good idea already of what’s possible. I’m just looking for generalities here. Does that make sense?

  • cpartist
    last month

    You do not need to take ideas to the architect. What you need to do is prioritize like you did your needs, wants and wishes. You show them your dream kitchen layout and then show pictures of the style of houses you love and features you love. You need to tell your architect (not your draftsman) that your priority is the kitchen and then let him/her do their job.

  • cpartist
    last month

    I don’t want to present something that is impossible. I want to go into this meeting with a good idea already of what’s possible. I’m just looking for generalities here. Does that make sense?

    It's his/her job to make it work or to tell you what won't work. Playing with a computer program won't do that. It's no better than playing tetris. A LICENSED architect who understands residential architecture will be able to come up with ideas you may not have even thought of.

  • mhines7748
    last month

    Not planning on that much cabinetry. It will be combined with floating shelves. But the budget for our kitchen is high and we are cash Flowing a significant portion of our build.

  • mhines7748
    last month

    B.carey it’s a 2500 sq ft home. Which will end up right in line with other 2500 sf homes in the area. It’s just 1500 on the main... we don’t need a huge house for a family of 3. It’s not a budget issue. It’s a matter of priorities And the buildable area of the lot we have chosen in our desired neighborhood...

  • mhines7748
    last month

    Cpartist I hear what you’re saying, Im just someone who needs to be proactive. I am thinking about a space in which I am going to raise my Daughter and the kitchen is a very emotional component of my home. I am in a sense designing an entire home around a kitchen! May not make sense to some, but it does to us. from everything weve seen, architects in our area have a pretty limited... scope of vision... We live in a land of cookie cutters. There is little artistic element to design. But we have selected a great builder who probably uses one of the best. I am just trying to avoid being boxed in and if I have an idea of square footage that makes sense, I can research different design options myself so that when I’m told what my options are, I can ask questions.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Even though the advice is to take your list of wants/needs to an architect, I don't think there's any reason you can't look at some stock plans to get an idea of what kitchen size is expected in a 1500sf main floor.


    This plan is 1509sf with optional basement. The kitchen is 9'10" x 10'6".

  • mhines7748
    last month

    Mama goose, yes this sqftg is the same, but they are trying to cram 3 bedrooms in upstairs as well, and we only need two. It’s also much wider than it is deep and ours will be opposite. I appreciate the suggestion

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    last month
    last modified: last month


    This plan is ap 1400sf but no space allocated for basement stairs. The combined kitchen and dining are 18 x 12. If you added in the back porch sf you'd have 18 x 18--about the size of the kitchen you posted that didn't include the DR, but maybe the dining area could go between the kitchen and LR. This will get you closer to the size you want, and if you took the third BR on either of those plans as DR space (rearranged to flow, of course), you might be able to get the kitchen you want.


    Another one for which you could use the third BR for dining area and enlarge the 10 x 9 kitchen.

  • B Carey
    last month

    Are the other 2500 sq ft homes with 1500 above ground?

    How did you determine 1500 sq ft on the main floor? I started by making a list of rooms I needed/wanted and the sizes I wanted. Then I added a % for hallways/circulation plus a % that is actually just exterior walls.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    You should not have to tell an architect how big you want your kitchen. An architect should ask you, how many cook in your kitchen at one time? What did you cook last night for dinner? What are your favorite dishes to prepare? Do you keep kosher? Who washes dishes? How often do you entertain? Do you let anyone else use your favorite knife? How close is a fresh vegetable market? How close is a good butcher? Do you shop at Costco? How do you like to cook? etc.

    By the end of their last question, they will know how big your kitchen should be.

    The architect that designs a home with you needs to know you. There is no floor plan that will tell anybody who you are.

    Sorry to hear about limited architects in your area. I assume you mean licensed architects and not house designers.

  • mhines7748
    last month
    last modified: last month

    B Carey, yes, small ranch plans with mostly finished basements are very common here as our lots are narrow. Other Common options are two stories on slabs that are under 2,000 sqft and valued much lower. Lots of spec homes. We are working with a very reputable builder who isn’t going to risk building us a house that isn’t going to appraise. None of that has anything to do with the style and layout of the kitchen I want. there are a ton of variables that affect overall finished cost of a kitchen... size alone is not a determining factor.

    the list of rooms and sizes we want/need as well as our lot dimensions and neighboring property values led is to APPROX 1500 sq ft. its more like 1500-1600 flexibilty.


    If we were on acreage it would be a different picture

  • mhines7748
    last month

    B Carey, what % did you use for walls and hallways/circulation? That would be helpful to keep in mind. We‘ve calculated exterior/interior wall thickness and approx square footage of the hall (there would only be one) but maybe using a % would be more helpful

  • mhines7748
    last month

    Mamagoose that plan looks workable how you mentioned, thank you. I didn’t even think of looking at 1400 sq ft plans and adding from there. Ours would be flipped with the garage on the other side, but dining room/great room centered like that and basically the kitchen behind the garage is what I was thinking.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    That would be called a square footage "net to gross ratio".

  • B Carey
    last month

    If you have a list of rooms and a larger kitchen fits, go with it. I found a lot of space ended up in circulation and interior and exterior walls. Maybe Post a list of room sizes to make sure those calculate to your 1500-1600 sq ft?

    In the end, as long as you don’t have Appraisal issues, it doesn’t matter how much space you’d kitchen + pantry is. However, resale may be an issue. There is a huge difference between a 2 bedroom home versus a 3 bedroom home also. You are just minimizing your buyer pool.

  • A S
    last month

    I fully get how you feel! When we wanted to build I also really wanted to plan and go in with ideas. In the end what worked was focusing on what we really wanted.

    So image you attached of kitchen is a good start as it says this is a layout I love.

    Saying where you want master vs kid room is another.

    We looked at floor plans of houses in our area and brought in what we liked and why and what we didn’t want and why.

    The designer asked us a million questions about our needs and took the survey of the lot and then went to work.

    Then we got a draft and it was a start. It sparked the conversations about what to do with the limitations on our lot and how to move forward. It was a process but it worked and we are so happy we weren’t married to a set plan. It would have ruined it all.

  • mhines7748
    last month
    last modified: last month

    B Carey, we are building a 4 bedroom 3 bath home. we just only want two decent sized bedrooms on the main. We will also be in our home for 15-20 years and the location is AMAZING.... for where we are at Lol. I’m not worried about resale, keeping it in mind of course, but I want our home to fit OUR needs.

  • mhines7748
    last month

    AS I’m glad someone understands! 😅 lol

  • A S
    last month

    Lots gets lost in translation on a forum. Many people mean well but without more info get stuck into habits of attacking posters or just being rude. Many posters don’t persevere and then miss the valuable information the longer term members have. It’s worth it to stick it out.

  • cpartist
    last month

    Cpartist I hear what you’re saying, Im just someone who needs to be proactive.

    I do understand. I'm the same way. What you should be doing is creating a bubble diagram. Do yourself a huge favor and look up bubble diagram in this forum and read how to create one. That is what you should bring your architect.

    I am thinking about a space in which I am going to raise my Daughter and the kitchen is a very emotional component of my home. I am in a sense designing an entire home around a kitchen!

    And that's the wonderful thing about building a custom home. You can design the home around what is most important to you. (And quite frankly the kitchen is the heart of the home!)

    May not make sense to some, but it does to us. from everything weve seen, architects in our area have a pretty limited... scope of vision...We live in a land of cookie cutters.

    Builders and draftsmen create cookie cutter because that's what they think everyone wants.

    And yes some architects do too. There's one here in my neck of the woods who creates the same ugly house over and over, and yet he's considered a "star".

    Look a bit further. Look for an older architect who works for him/herself and not a big firm. Look for someone who will listen to you and your needs. Not a draftsman or a designer.

    If you can't find someone where you live, then maybe look to architectrunnerguy who works remotely. He's here on this forum a lot.

    But we have selected a great builder who probably uses one of the best.

    Is this a design/build firm? If so be really careful because in reality the architect (if it's truly an architect. Ask me about mine who claimed that at first) works for the builder when it's a design/build firm. He/she will do what's easiest and most convenient for the builder. Not necessarily what's best for you.

    I am just trying to avoid being boxed in and if I have an idea of square footage that makes sense, I can research different design options myself so that when I’m told what my options are, I can ask questions.

    If you haven't read it yet, do yourself a huge favor and read The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka

  • cpartist
    last month

    My main floor is 1900 square feet on the main floor. I do have a large living room because we entertain a lot and actually entertain indoors/outdoors. (I'm in FL)

    My kitchen/dining area is 15'8" x 22" and is plenty large enough for 2 or more people to work in at the same time. It also has wide 4' aisles and 60" between island and table. However I'm not a major cook so for me the drawer microwave, 36" integrated fridge, DW and single oven were enough for me along with a prep sink and cleanup sink.

    What exactly are your needs in the kitchen? What appliances? How many cook at the same time? Start with that.

  • artemis_ma
    last month

    I actually DID design my house around my kitchen, so I understand that - although I had more of a budget than you, and the reason I did so was because I could not tolerate the old 9' x 9' kitchen I came from - so my goals in the kitchen were more modest than yours, but definitely kitchen-focused. I do think many architects don't have a good flow idea on kitchens, and in my case, the architect I picked gave me just shy of a half million dollar home on paper - for a rural region of the state that won't support that sort of price tag. (Not that I ever want to sell, but I didn't want that sort of soaking if I ever did... which is why I went to a semi-pre-fab but modifiable log home plan - and modified the heck out of the kitchen!) Your situation is different.

    Collect as many photos of desirable kitchens, and of elements of said kitchen - as well as overall desired house style, and of the other rooms. Write down your list of MUST haves, and WANNA haves, and NEED TO avoids. For the whole house, not just the kitchen. It might even help if both of you write up separate lists and then combine them. Assuming you have the land, take photos of that and bring. Get any architect to understand your bedroom requirements - you said only two upstairs, would there be one downstairs? You may have to be firm.

    You could also talk to architectrunnerguy here on this site, he works remotely and by the accounts I've read here, does a great job listening and creating.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    last month

    I love my huge kitchen in my 1600 sq ft ranch with walkout basement so 3200 sq ft . total. I am a chef and run a catering bix from my home and would never have 10 x10 kitchen . That was what was in this house we just traded the DR for the kitchen space . I dislike walk in pantries but love a wall of true pullouts with the the fridge and wall ovens all on one wall.As for the rest I would not have a free standing tub they take up a huge amount of space for no real benefit. IMO a bathroom should be the size you can clean easily in 1/2 hr. I love walk in closets for both bedrooms, there is really no need for a sitting area in a bedroom especially a master none of my clients ever use them except for a spot to throw clothes .I love my main floor laundry but it is just in an over sized closet with shelves for all my table linens since it is near my DR. I go have a large LR which I love we entertain often and would not make it any smaller it is 25 x15 our house is a 1956 ranch is about 67 x25. I love the layout with the master all across the bac.k end which is like the LR at the other end. We have 3 brs so you could easily have the 2 with a nice walk in closet for your daughter we do have a main bath with tub/ shower but the master id just a nice shower.

    I do agree make a list of must haves and another of wants. I get my clients to do that everytime I design a kitchen BTW IMO the kitchen is the most important room if you love to cook

  • B Carey
    last month

    I also started my plan from the kitchen/pantry out. My kitchen/pantry space is 381 square feet. This does not include my large cold storage basement pantry not my basement bar/booth space. What everyone is telling you is that if you are wanting a kitchen like your photo, that you will very likely be above the 1500/1600 sq ft for a house that flows with the kitchen. You don’t want a 12*12 living room to raise your little family to compensate for a great big pantry. It is just fine to have only the 2 bedrooms on the main floor. My plan has all 3 kids in the walkout basement (with 10 ft ceilings).

    I am doing a C kitchen versus an L. Your photo is a C kitchen. It takes a different spacing than an L kitchen. My last home had a C kitchen and I loved it. I hate U kitchens, which are still easier to do than a C. Post the room sizes you have in mind, and everyone here will help give you an idea of the livability.


    Right now you plan to live there for 20 years, but it sounds like you have a young kiddo also. Life throws so many curveballs. Building a home with acceptable room sizes will help you if you have a great opportunity that takes you elsewhere.

  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Since no one is discussing actual sq. footage, here is a plan of a house with 1,560 sq. ft under AC. It consists of a living room, casual dining, kitchen, laundry/mudroom, three bedrooms & two baths. The rooms are not lavish in size. Merely acceptable.

    There is no room for a free-standing tub, large walk-in closets chef's kitchen, pantry etc. There's no space for any of these extras..........unless you add square feet to your build. That's the reality of 1,500 sq. ft.

    These are old pictures from 15 years ago, but I don't think the rooms are lavish in size.





  • Susan Murin
    last month

    Best of luck with your build! I did something like you have in mind- centered my smaller home around a huge beautiful kitchen. No regrets- I love it, I use it tons, everyone admires it. I think I will be fine on resale as kitchens sell homes. I gave up a formal LR but had no use for one (we are empty nesters, and can’t get guests out of our kitchen).

    Your inspiration kitchen is gorgeous. I do have a concern about the layout/function, though....the path from fridge to sink is long and arduous. Would read the forum here about kitchen design so as to have the right arrangement for easy movement from fridge to sink to prep to stove so that your kitchen works as well as it looks. I found it helpful.

    Would also consider another half bath on main level. It’s nice to have a guest bath that is not used by your child....esp once she’s a teen. Ask how I know!

  • mhines7748
    last month

    BeverlyFLA that space contains a formal dining room and breakfast nook and bedrooms that are larger than what we currently sleep in lol. There’s a ton of inefficiency in that floor plan...

  • cpartist
    last month

    BeverlyFLA that space contains a formal dining room and breakfast nook and bedrooms that are larger than what we currently sleep in lol. There’s a ton of inefficiency in that floor plan..

    That floor plan is designed by someone who is a draftsman and has no clue how to design a house that is well designed. The angled silly walls were the first clue.

  • mhines7748
    last month

    Okay... figuring up the minimum square feet we need to be comfortable, taking into account what we have NOW and are satisfied with and what needs to improve, and even being a bit generous (as to what we actually NEED) in some areas, rounding up, here is what I have...


    master bedroom : 154

    master bath: 80-100

    2nd upstairs bedroom:154

    2nd upstairs bath: 40-80

    bedroom closets: flexible, 80-90

    laundry room: 48

    mudroom (can just be a drop zone) : 30

    pantry (walk in or hidden) : 48

    upstairs powder room: 20

    some of these areas are flexible, like closets and size of pantry, but a pantry is definitely needed.

    Keeping in mind this is an open floor plan..


    dining area : 120

    living room/fireplace area: 255


    I’m coming up with 1,089.

    foyer doesn’t need to be any bigger than 6 feet wide and 8 feet deep I wouldn’t think so another 48...1137


    That leaves approx 363 sq ft of kitchen and flow space to work with. what am I missing?


  • mhines7748
    last month

    I realize I may have to give up my freestanding tub.... it’s a luxury item in my mind, but I can go with a deep soaking tub that fits into the end of a bathroom if necessary.

  • mhines7748
    last month

    We don’t need to account for much storage upstairs, other than food... I’m a home chef and I bake/cook for others on occasion as a side job. I actually need my kitchen to be organized enough that I can get it certified for home food production in our state. Otherwise we just need small convenient spaces like built ins for linens/board games/art supplies and adequate space for clothing. We are borderline minimalists who hate STUFF. we will have tons of storage in the basement if needed. We don’t even have a television in our living room and we never spend time there. We hang out in our dining area and bedrooms mostly and we will have a family room with a TV in the basement, so the upstairs living area will be for sitting down to have a cup of coffee in the morning, opening Christmas presents and reading a book in front of the fireplace, chatting with a friend and that’s about it. I prefer it to be an intimate space.


  • AnnKH
    last month

    Are you sure your state allows you to use your family kitchen for commercial use? When my SIL was baking professionally, she needed to put in a separate kitchen in her basement. She did it as a hobby - sold cheesecake and pies and and chocolates to local restaurants - it wasn't her primary job.

  • mhines7748
    last month

    Yep :)

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