Measuring the room is an important part of buying furniture or planning a room. This can help one avoid costly mistakes like buying the wrong size sofa; makes it easy to casually decline Aunt Mabel’s offer to let you have her 1980’s bulky armoire, “I would love to have it, but it just won’ t fit in the room;” or avoid the continual moving the furniture syndrome like Daphne & Milly in “Because I Said So.” 🙂
Taking the measurements and roughing it out on paper is simple way to guarantee the furniture fits in a room. Here are the exact steps to follow. 1. Measure ceiling height – bottom of floor to top of ceiling.
2. Measure the length and width of the room, end to end and side to side.
3. Measure window opening sizes – inside of molding to inside of molding, width and height.
4. Measure door width and sizes.
Knowing these basics will help answer the “will if fit” questions and avoid costly mistakes. Keep these basic dimensions handy for shopping excursions. For clients I keep them in a notebook. For myself I put them in the Notes app on my iPhone. It is not any fun to have the delivery truck at your front door with a non-returnable sofa and not be able to get it through the door!
5. Measure each wall exactly, transcribe to paper adding all architectural details such as doorways, fireplace and windows.
Once you have the general dimensions of your room, it is easy to sketch out a floorplan. This is where the graph paper comes in handy to make a drawing to scale. Architects and designers typically use 1/4″ = 1 foot which is small enough to fit rooms onto a standard piece of paper.
I like to note additional items such as heating and air conditioning vents on the wall or floor and the location of any wall or floor outlets. This is a great help for furniture placement or just knowing where one can plug in a lamp. Using the floorplan to work out a furniture plan is also advantageous for those who find it difficult to visualize. Just measure the length, width and height of each piece and begin placement on paper. Avoid an aching back by trying out multiple furniture arrangements on tracing paper laid over your floorplan before moving any furniture – super helpful!
Floorplan measurements are also a great tool when visiting estate, garage or tag sales to assess if a piece will fit before you get it home. Measure twice, move it once.