First of all, the question is which type of column you are using timber, concrete etc.
Nowadays RCC columns are widely used, here is the detail about it.
1- The size of the columns depends on the total load on the columns.
2- The minimum size of the column should not be less than 9”x9”.
3- 9”x9” columns are to be used for a single storey structure with M15 (1:2:4) (cement: sand: aggregate ) grade of concrete.
4- In case, 9”x9” column size is to be used for 1 and a half storey structure, then it is advised to use M20 (1:1.5:3) (cement: sand: aggregate ) grade concrete. If you use M15 concrete for one and a half story structure the column size should not be less than 12”x9”.
Distance between the columns
Try to maintain an equal distance between the centres of two columns. Always plan a column layout on a grid.
The distance between two columns of size 9”x9” should not be more than 4m centre to centre of the column.
If larger barrier-free distances are required then going for larger column size is to be used. The size of the columns increase because of two factors
1- Increase in the distance between two columns (This increases the dimensions of the columns as well the depth of the beam.)
2- Height of the building (Increase in the number of floors is directly proportional to the dimensions of the columns.
Alignment of Columns
A rectangular grid is to be made for placing the columns. This helps in avoiding mistakes and placing in columns can be done in the right way.
The columns can preferably be arranged in two different fashions:
1- In a straight line with the help of a grid
2- In a circular fashion for circular buildings.
Zigzag arrangement of columns is an absolutely wrong way of working out Structural design. It should be remembered that when columns are erected, beams are laid connecting the columns.
The Zigzag column placement causes three major issues
1- Unbalanced load transfer
2- Problems in wall construction
3- Problems in laying beams
The below table shows a rough estimate of column sizes for multi-story buildings.