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Cheat Sheet: How Much Conference Room Space Do You Need?

by James McDonald on September 30, 2019

When it comes to planning conference room space, it can be tricky to get it just right.

If you don’t allocate a large enough space, the room will feel uncomfortably overcrowded—and no one will want to reserve it. Plan for too much space, and it will sit half-empty the majority of the time. Either way, you’re left with a space that’s underutilized.

To help you avoid both of these costly scenarios, here are a few general guidelines you can use when setting up new conference rooms.

Calculating the Right Conference Room Space

Whether you’re revamping an existing space or planning a new office design, the first step is the same: calculating the proper ratio of table size to available space.

A good rule of thumb is to ensure there is approximately 10 feet of difference between the length of the table and the length of the room.

For example, if your large conference room is 20-by-20 feet, the maximum size table you should use is 10 feet. This allows five feet of space on either end for employees to comfortably walk through. You can certainly use a larger table, but it will likely mean you need to compromise in other ways —like having fewer chairs. You also need to consider the shape of the conference room table. An oval or boat-shaped table will occupy the space differently than a rectangular table.

If the room will contain a storage unit, be sure to take into account the clearance necessary to be able to open drawers or cupboards. Even a single standard four-drawer filing cabinet takes up at least 10-15 square feet of space when opened.

It’s also important to consider door swing clearances. Employees should be able to easily enter and exit the space without having to awkwardly shuffle sideways or press themselves against the wall to allow someone to pass.

In addition to these measurements, there are a few other measurements to keep in mind so your conference room doesn’t feel cramped. Here are a few standard guidelines:

  • Space between the edge of table and wall: 48-56”
  • Space to allow employees to walk between chair and wall: 16-24”
  • Space between table and TV or whiteboard: 56”
  • Space to allow employees to present material on display/whiteboard: 24-30”

Choosing the Right Elements for Different Meeting Spaces

Once you’ve established how to arrange a large, formal conference room, you can use the same practices and methods to guide your decision-making on other types of meeting spaces.

The largest set of variables you’ll need to consider when calculating how much conference room space you need for additional meeting spaces is which kinds of technology, assets and other furniture will reside in the room. These elements will be determined by the intended purpose of the room. Here are some examples:

One-on-One Workspaces

One-on-one rooms are designed to offer a place where an employee can take a call without being interrupted or two colleagues can meet behind closed doors for a private conversation. These spaces can be as small as 8-by-8 feet, as they don’t require a large table or display. For the most part, all you need to include in a one-on-one room is some cozy chairs with easy access to power outlets.

Huddle Room Workspace

A huddle room is a flexible, versatile meeting area intended for collaborative discussions. Since they’re designed to accommodate slightly larger groups, you should allocate at least 100 square feet (although closer to 120 square feet is ideal). Similar to one-on-one spaces, huddle areas should have comfortable chairs and ample outlets. However, because they’re meant to be used for collaboration and generating ideas, you’ll also need to include a whiteboard.

Small Conference Rooms

Design and architecture firm HOK recommends small conference rooms be about 150 square feet and designed to accommodate up to six people. In addition to a whiteboard, small conference rooms should also contain a table large enough for employees to place their laptops on, a TV for screen-sharing and video conferencing technology for client meetings and conversations with remote employees. (And, of course, plenty of seating and space for presenting.)


Improve Space Utilization With Room Reservation Software

After you’ve calculated the right amount of conference room space for your workplace, you need to make sure your employees are getting the most out of it.

The most effective way to maximize your meeting space utilization is with room reservation software. Room reservation software gives employees on-demand access to information about every conference room and meeting space in the office and allows them to easily locate and reserve the type of workspace that best fits their needs, right from their computer or mobile device.

Want to see how it works? Start your free trial today.


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