Choosing Your House by Floor Area – What does a Sqft and a Sqm Look like?

I’m the typical 20+ year old, nearing my thirties and checking out housing options in Singapore, itching to move out of home. Inspired by talks with peers and this post from The Woke Salaryman, it’s now a habit to check out Propertyguru, 99.co, SRX from time to time get a sense of the real estate here.

Photos give me a clear picture of what living in the place will be like.

The dollar price tells me how much I’d be sacrificing monthly on a mortgage or rent.
Floor Area though, in the form of sqft or sqm, doesn’t ring any intuitive bells. I can’t really ‘feel’ what a 45sqm studio or a 700sqft HDB flat looks like.

So I thought it would be helpful to feed this intuition by starting with relatable lego blocks, then scaling them up to fit some common floorplans in Singapore. Hope this helps you!

So first the basics. A Square Meter (sqm) is nothing but unit of area (Length x Width) defined as the area of a 1m x 1m square. In imperial units, the same square would be 10.76sqft.

1m = 3.28ft

1sqm = 1m x 1m = 3.28ft x 3.28ft = 10.76sqft

And now for the intuitive lego block – mattresses!

Enter the royals.

A Queensize would serve the superstitious numbers person well.

Maybe the decimals are too much, but I’ll round them later. In a nutshell,

  • Super Single beds round down to 2sqm,
  • Queens round up to 2.9sqm,
  • Kings round up to 3.5sqm.


You could round off further to say Super Single, Queen and King-sized mattresses are 2, 3 and 3.5 sqft respectively for a nice, intuitive trio.

On to the houses!

Singapore’s housing sizes change over time, so I used the amazing Teoalida’s research to narrow down a rough floor area size for 5 types of flat:

  • 1 Room / Studio Apartments: 36 sqm / 388sqft
  • 2 Room HDB: 45sqm / 484sqft
  • 3 Room HDB: 65sqm / 700sqft
  • 4 Room HDB: 95sqm / 1023sqft
  • 5 Room HDB: 115sqm / 1238sqft

Immediately, before going into pictures, we can divide these by mattresses to get a rough sense of their size:

  • 1 Room / Studio Apartments: ~10 Kings + 1 Super Single (36.6sqm/394sqft)
  • 2 Room HDB: ~13 Kings (44.95sqm/483.9sqft)
  • 3 Room HDB: ~18 Kings + 1 Queen (65.13sqm/701.1sqft)
  • 4 Room HDB: ~27 Kings + 1 Super Single (93.95sqm/1011.3sqft)
  • 5 Room HDB: ~33 Kings + 2 Super Singles (115.29sqm/1240.9sqft)

And now for some viz!

For this one, I think it helps to simply think of 35 sqm as 10 king sized beds.

Roughly 3 more kingbeds equate to 9 more sqm!

Things start to get huge for the 3-rooms, the main difference being the twinning of the bathrooms and the bedrooms. Here, its easiest to think of it as 65sqm ≃ 700sqft ≃ 18 King beds.

With an additional bedroom and extension of the livingroom space, the 4-roomer is about 1000sqft, which is roughly 27 king-sized beds.

For the luxurious 5-room flat, the living room gets an extra space in this project, which is roughly 115sqm, about 33 King beds plus 2 Super Singles.

Hope the pictures above and the lists help you visualise floor areas for your own home searching! if you have suggestions or comments to make this more helpful, type them to me in the comments or contact page. Cheers!

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