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How to properly measure your space before you buy furniture

The new sofa you bought has finally arrived, and as you open the front door for the delivery people to carry it in, you suddenly realize it’s not going to fit through the door frame. With the seemingly endless number of measurements you took, how could you have forgotten about the front door?

Don’t worry — you aren’t alone. Forgetting to measure entry points is one of the biggest mistakes people make when buying furniture. Yet, while measuring your space is the least-fun part of buying new furniture, it undoubtedly is the most important step and one that should be done before you buy.

A floor plan is the easiest way to get a handle on how much space you have, as well as that space’s strong and weak points. Here are some helpful tips on how to properly measure your space before you buy new furniture:


Measure entries and passages

It’s important to get accurate measurements of entries and passages because your furniture has to pass through these first in order to get to where you ultimately want it to be.

  • Go to your home and measure all the entries, passages, stairways and doorways through which your furniture has to travel to get to its destination.
  • When measuring, make sure you have all the accurate widths, heights, and diagonal widths.
  • Note any corners that will need to be turned in a hallway or on a staircase. Measure diagonally on the staircase, too.
  • Make a note of any light fixtures, railings or any architectural impediments along the way, as these can potentially create problems in moving the furniture
  • Any furniture you buy should have some clearance around it and should be at least 4 inches less than the passage measurements. This will allow you or the furniture delivery people to move it easily.

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Measure your rooms

Measure all of your rooms in detail so that you are aware not only of the size of the room but also of windows, doors, fireplaces, etc. in the room, as well.

  • First, measure the door that you’ll be using to bring the furniture into the room, measuring the height and width, as well as diagonally from the top left to bottom right. Be sure to get measurements from inside the door frames too.
  • Next, measure the length from the entrance of the room to the far wall. You need this measurement to know if you will be able to bring the furniture into the room and be able to maneuver it easier to place it.
  • Measure the length and width of the room.

  • Then measure the height of the walls. Most homes have a standard height for ceilings around eight feet, but your ceiling may be higher or lower. This is a helpful measurement when you want to bring in taller pieces such as book shelves or armoires .
  • Measure all doorways, windows, radiators, fireplaces and any other architectural features.
  • For windows, measure the height from the floor, along with the width and total window height. You’ll need this measurement if you’re placing any furniture against the wall with windows.
  • Make note of the locations of electrical outlets.
  • Note the location of wall studs — you will need to know this for when you hang art or mirrors .

If you are struggling to understand how the pieces of the floor plan translate into your room, consider taping off the dimensions of your furniture on the floor. This will give you a to-scale feel for the flow and spacing in the room.

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Measure your furniture

  • Measuring a sofa  You’ll need to measure the width, height, depth and diagonal depth. For width , measure at the widest point of the sofa , from arm to arm. For example, if your sofa has rolled arms, measure from outside the widest part of one arm to the other. For height , measure the back, at the highest point, to the floor. Depth is one of the most important measurements to take and is done by measuring from the outside edge of the seat all the way to the back. Diagonal depth is measured by placing a straight tape measure from the top back of the frame to the bottom front.
  • Measuring a sectional sofa  Overall length:  Total measurement of the love seat right arm (or left arm) plus the corner chair for the combined length of both components. Overall width:  the total measurement of all the components along the back of the sofa.
  • Measuring a cabinet  Measuring for most cabinets/ dressers involves height, width, and length, always at the highest or widest points. Height is the vertical measurement of the cabinet from floor to top. Width is measuring the cabinet from front to back. Length is measured from one side of the cabinet to the other.
  • Measuring a bed frame  When measuring a bed frame , the natural instinct is to measure for size – which you absolutely need to do. Measure it the same way as the cabinet listed above. What most people forget is height. Make sure the headboard, etc. are not taller than your ceiling or in a position to interfere with any ceiling fans, etc.
  • Ask an associate  You can always ask a Morris Home sales associate for help measuring! They can supply you with accurate measurements and show you how to do so properly yourself.

With a little bit of advanced planning, your new furniture will be adorning your home in no time.

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