Sizing Conference and Education Space

Conference rooms and classrooms are typically sized based on the average number of people to be seated and the type of furniture and the seating arrangement. The use of ancillary chairs along the side walls ― for people who are not sitting at the table ― will result in a reduced net square feet (NSF) per seat for conference rooms. The outfitting of conference rooms and classrooms with sophisticated audio-visual equipment may also require additional space beyond that needed for seating alone. Also, additional space is required if food service and dining are to be provided ― including counter space for a buffet service and carts and bins for the collection of reprocessable materials and trash. Conference rooms with a central table and mobile, upholstered chairs require more space per seat than a classroom-style arrangement with stackable chairs aligned around a central lectern. Egress issues and the availability of convenient toilet facilities need to be considered when large groups are assembled.

General guidelines for several types of conference rooms and classrooms are included below:

Conference room (less than 25 people) — 15-25 NSF (1.39-2.32 NSM) per seat — the higher range is required with all chairs at the conference table, use of sophisticated audio-visual equipment, and accommodation for food service.

Conference room (25 to 50 people) — 12-20 NSF (1.11-1.86 NSM) per seat — economies of scale come into play as the number of seats increases.

Auditoriums include an elevated stage and the ranges listed below exclude adjacent entry/exit corridors, toilet facilities, and ancillary preparation and storage space:

  • 51 to 100 people — 12-15 NSF (1.11-1.39 NSM) per seat
  • 100 to 200 people — 10-12 NSF ( 0.93-1.11 NSM) per seat
  • 200+ people — 10 NSF (0.93 NSM) per seat

Note: Net square feet/meters (NSF/NSM) represents the inside wall-to-wall dimensions of individual rooms. More detailed information can be found in the SpaceMed Guide.

This article is an update from a previous post.