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How to Measure a Room To Buy the Right Furniture

June 6, 2020

How to Measure a Room To Buy the Right Furniture


How to Accurately Measure a Room To Buy the
Right Furniture


Choosing a new piece of furniture for your home can be daunting and is a big investment. It is essential to know how to accurately measure a room to ensure you buy the right furniture.  It will also help you avoid the most costly furniture buying mistake (but it isn’t the only necessary measurements)!


Picture this…you’ve done your research and have determined what sofa features, quality, size and style will meet your household’s needs.  You’ve visited the floor model to inspect construction, choose your fabric and make sure the seat was the perfect fit. You’re feeling confident about your final purchase. You count down the days until delivery and picture yourself lounging on the new sofa in your space. 


Unfortunately, even if the sofa dimensions are perfect for your room, if it can’t fit through the door or gets stuck in the hallway you did not buy the right furniture!

You need to measure all points of entry and the delivery path.  Hence, the path the furniture will travel in your home to get to its final destination must allow adequate passage.  Our La-Z-Boy delivery service team is one of the best in the industry, but there are limits to their skills in maneuvering furniture into clients’ homes. 


Furniture sometimes just doesn’t physically fit due to its dimensions! 

Whether incorporating new furniture into your home or relocating existing furniture, you need to take the right measurements to avoid disappointment and financial loss.  This article will provide you with a detailed step-by-step process for accurately measuring a room. 



Plus, show you how to measure all access points in the home to determine whether the furniture can be successfully delivered. 


How To Measure Furniture


Furniture is measured at the tallest, deepest and widest points of the product including overhangs, angles, outward curves and arms. The La-Z-Boy website will provide depth, height and width for most pieces of furniture. Product furniture tags in any of our La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston stores will detail the same dimensions.

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Diagonal depth (dd) measurement for furniture is not standard nor included in most product details. It can be vital to determine if the piece can pass through tighter entryways at an angle.

To determine the diagonal depth, place a straight edge from the highest point of the back frame (not including pillows) to the front of the arm. Then measure from the bottom rear corner of the sofa/chair up to the point that bisects the straight edge.


This measurement is your diagonal depth. 


Measure criteria: furniture width must be less than the height of any doorway, stairway or hallway that the item will need to pass through. Diagonal depth must be less than the width of any relevant doorway, stairway or hallway.


Note that with online purchases, the size of the packaging and not the actual size of the furniture piece may be provided. Determine whether it is the packaged dimensions that are important. Make sure to reach out to the vendor if you have concerns. Moreover, if delivered furniture arrives in pieces such as sectionals or dining table legs, use component measurements.

Measurement Not Only About Fit


The purpose of measuring is to get new furniture to fit into your room and make sure it is the right furniture for the space. Thus it is not only about the dimensions.


Whether you are placing a sofa against a wall or centred in an open space, it is important to have a plan for furniture placement. Consider how you will use the room and what kind of mood you would like to create in your space. Match the proportion and scale of new furniture to the size of the room and existing pieces to create balance.


Once you’ve determined the dimensions of your new furnishings, map it out on the floor where it will go in the room. Mark the location with tape, so you can walk around and see if there’s enough space to move about freely. Good traffic flow allows the room to be used and accessed easily. If the sofa or chair has reclining functionality, make sure there will be rough clearance for the footrest.  

How To Measure a Room


Having a good layout of your room with dimensions is immensely helpful when shopping for furniture for your home.

La-Z-Boy In-Home Designer Mary Lee Smyth has been making her client’s apprehension about furniture buying disappear by walking them through the design process step by step.  She explains, creating a simple sketch to record your room’s measurements is not difficult and will take about 20-30 minutes.

Create a Sketch of Your Room



Start by gathering your tools. You will need:

1. A tape measure, preferably at least 25 feet. It is chunky, and the tape itself is wide enough to be stable if you measure yourself. [Tip: Mary Lee cautions not to use a dressmaker’s tape because it stretches and does not give an accurate reading]

2. If you have one and are solo for this task, a laser measure can make measuring easy and quick.

3. You’ll need paper or a notebook and a pencil. Grid paper can make sketching easier but unnecessary, as creating the drawing to scale is not initially required.

4. A handy helper (if possible) can be useful, especially if you have a lot of furniture and accessories in your way. [Fun fact: The tape measure body is often referred to as the “Smart End” of the tape because the one who holds the toggle must do all the running!] 

STEP #2: Make a Rough Outline of the Shape of the Room


Stand at the main door or doorway of the room. It is easier to work in one direction.  So a proper technique would be to proceed from left to right and top to bottom.


Make a rough drawing of the room’s shape as if looking down from a bird’s eye view. Don’t worry about producing precise straight lines. You can polish this sketch at a later time. Furthermore, you can opt to transfer your drawing and measurements to a 3D online room planner.


Taking Your Room Measurements

STEP #3: First Wall Measurement


Start to your left. Measure the first wall by putting the toggle of the measuring tape into the corner and measuring along the wall to the next corner.  Alternatively, measuring corner to corner along the floor can be easier, especially if you do not have a helper.  


Use the laser distance measurer, by placing it against the wall and aiming the laser at the opposite wall.  Make sure the laser is visible and not aimed at a window or mirror.  Now press the measure button, and the measurement will appear on the LCD screen. 


Write down the measurement on the corresponding wall/line drawn on your sketch.  Always measure the full length and height of the wall. Most homes have a standard-sized ceiling height of around 8 feet, but your ceiling may be higher or lower.


Mary Lee explains it is best to measure in feet and inches (not meters) to match furniture measurements.

STEP #4: Repeat Wall Measurement


After recording the length and height of your first wall, repeat the process until you have measured and recorded all the walls in the room on your sketch.

STEP #5: Include Doors, Openings & Windows Measurements


Now you will indicate where the doors, doorways, windows or any other openings in the walls are located. 


Start once again at the main doorway. Move along the room to the left until you reach an opening or window. 


You want to record these measurements in two ways, (1) with the trim and (2) without the trim. Why? If there is a sill or trim on the bottom of the window, it might impede furniture placement.  It is crucial with door measurements to know the width of the opening (without trim) to determine if the furniture can pass through.  Lastly, you want your sketch to illustrate the location of the opening on the wall.


As you face the door or window, you will need to record the following measurements:


1. Left wall placement: measure from the left corner of the wall to the edge of the opening or trim
2. Width including trim/frame: measure across the opening from outside edges of the trim
3. Width excluding trim/frame: measure across the opening from the inside of the trim (door: inside door jambs)
4. Right wall placement: measure from the right side of the opening trim to the right corner of the wall
5. Top wall placement: measure from the ceiling to the top of the trim
6. Height including trim/frame: measure from the outside edge of top trim to outer edge of bottom trim (or the floor for a doorway/entryway)
7. Height excluding trim/frame: measure the height from inside edges of trim (for a door from the head, the interior top frame, to the door sill, the inside bottom frame)
8. Bottom wall placement: measure from outer trim to the floor
9. Diagonal Depth excluding the frame (important door measurement): measure from the inside top left corner of the door frame to inside bottom right.

Continue around the room to each wall and proceed to record the above measurements for all windows, doors and openings.


It is important to note when measuring the opening of a door (width, height and diagonal depth excluding frame) to factor in objects that can affect furniture passage through the doorway. These include door swing, how wide the door(s) open, door strips, doorknobs, handles, hydraulic door closers and hinges. 

Adding Additional Details to Your Sketch

STEP #6: Documenting Additional Details


Lastly, you will want to take note of specific details in the room and indicate their location on your sketch. These include:

• Ceiling fixtures or fans
Fireplace details/hearth
Light switches
Floor or wall vents

These details can be critical to the overall design or furniture placement. It is beneficial to take measurements of larger fixtures if they are close to the furniture.

Your simple room sketch is now complete! Considering all pertinent room measurements are recorded, it is a valuable tool you can use when shopping for the right furniture for your space.

Should purchasing home furnishings be part of a more extensive renovation, you’ll need your sketch measurements for further calculations. If you have flooring, carpet or tiling projects, input your measurements into this square footage calculator. It can also help you determine material costs.

Measuring Points of Entry 

One of the biggest challenges in measuring is making sure you can get your purchase into the intended room in the home.

How to Measure Entryway Clearance


We have previously covered the measurement for doorways. Another related room measurement is the clearance from the hallway. You need this measurement to know if you will be able to bring the furniture into the room and be able to maneuver it easily. For this purpose, you need to measure the length from the entrance of the room to the far wall.

If the entryway clearance (C) exceeds the piece’s width, you can move it horizontally.  Alternatively, if the entryway clearance (C) is less than the piece’s width, you will need to move it vertically, meaning that the entryway height must exceed the piece’s width. 


WARNING: You’ll find yourself in a real pickle if the piece’s width exceeds both the entryway clearance and height.

Measuring Entire Delivery Path


Determine the best pathway from outside your home to the room where your furniture will reside. Measure every doorway, entryway, staircase, hallway and elevator that the item will need to pass through.


Coming Soon – In-depth Furniture Delivery Guide, a checklist including essential measurements to ensure your new furniture is delivered successfully. 

Next Step


Now you know it’s crucial to accurately measure a room in which you are introducing new furniture.  Plus, you know it’s imperative to measure major transition points along its delivery path BEFORE you purchase to avoid an expensive oversight. 


With your trusty room sketch in hand, you’ll be armed with the information needed to ensure you welcome the right furniture into your home!


Consider taking photos to augment your sketch. Capture photos of the room from various angles, as shown in the below image. Additionally, take pictures of any furniture pieces you would like to remain in the room.


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If you’d like some help measuring your room, you can meet with Mary Lee or any one of our interior designers at La-Z-Boy locations in Ottawa and Kingston.


This free service includes in-home design consultation, so our expert designers can measure your room and observe traffic patterns. They will guide you through every step and create a 3D room design using the latest digital tools to bring your vision to life.


Alternatively, you can visit your closest showroom and share your sketch with one of our design consultants.  A member of our team would be happy to help you pick out a new piece of furniture customized to meet your style and preferences.  


Related Links:

Repair vs. Replace Damaged Furniture: How to Decide
4 Designer Tips: How To Mix And Match Furniture
How Much Does a Sectional Cost?

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