How to calculate standing capacity

Updated June 05, 2017

When planning an event, it's important to make sure you have the space to accommodate your guests. Calculating standing capacity will help by revealing how many people can stand in a room with ease. The fire marshal assigns a maximum capacity to all spaces. However, the driving factor in these calculations is safety. According to meeting planners surveyed by, the amount of space needed for each person's comfort differs based on estimated attendance and event type. Therefore, calculating standing capacity allows you to take your specific needs into account when planning your perfect event.

Calculate the area of your space. Doing this for a standard rectangular room involves multiplying the length of the room by its width. Equations for calculating the area of unique shapes are available online.

Calculate the area of any sections of the room that will not be open to guests. For example, if the room has a stage or bar, then you would calculate the area of these. Add up the area for each unusable section to calculate the total amount of space that will be off-limits to guests.

Subtract the total unusable area from the total area of the space. This will reveal the total amount of space available for standing.

Decide how much space each guest will need. Some things to consider when making this decision are the type of event being held, the average number of guests you'd like to attend and the personalities of your guests. According to, guests will need between 10 and 35 square feet.

Divide the total amount of standing space available by the total amount of space needed per guest. Your answer will be the standing capacity for your space.


Always check your space's maximum occupancy requirement before having an event. The standing capacity that you calculate must not exceed the approved maximum occupancy.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape Measure
  • Calculator
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About the Author

Kelli Karanovich was internationally published for the first time in "Adbusters" in 2006. She teaches online at the Christa McAuliffe Academy and contributes to the blog Mama's Musings. Karanovich holds a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism from the University of Georgia and a certificate to teach from Shorter College.