how to measure furniture for a room

July 21, 2010

A helpful guide to making sure that new sofa will actually fit in your space.

Buying large furniture, like a sofa or a bed, is a mix of art and science. The ‘art’ part is usually easier: Do you love it and does it coordinate with existing pieces? But the ‘science’ part is more calculating. Does it functionally meet your needs? Is the price right? Will it fit in the space—and through all the entryways? We rounded up a few helpful tips to consider when purchasing a new piece, like how to calculate whether it’ll fit through your front door.

  1. For all doors and hallways the item will have to travel thru, measure the heights and widths (A,B) and the entry clearance (C). Don’t forget any other obstacles, such as ceilings, unremovable lighting fixtures, stairwell banisters, and tight turns.
  2. Make sure that the width of the furniture piece is less than the entry dimensions A or C and the diagonal depth is less than B. Hint: CB2 specs dimensions in this order: width x depth x height. For example, the movie sofa shown above is 88” wide x 40” in depth x 26” high.
  3. To determine diagonal depth, place a straight edge from the highest point of the back frame to the front of the piece. Then measure from the bottom rear corner up to the point that bisects the straight edge. Example: The sofa shown below has a diagonal depth of 25.5”.

To help you decide if the footprint of a piece fits the floor space, try one of these three options:

  • Sketch the room onto graph paper and include existing pieces that will also be in the room.
  • Use blue painter’s tape and mark the floor space using provided dimensions.
  • Tape newspaper together to create a full-size footprint of the piece, position it in the room, on the floor. Lastly, “build” it in 3-D by placing objects to fill in the height such as plastic storage boxes, etc.