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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
Est. Reading Time: 9.5 Mins

Choosing a new piece of furniture for your home can be a big investment, but it can also be daunting. Sometimes people get so excited about purchasing new furniture that they forget the most important rule of all: measuring your space!

Measurements are your best friend when determining if a new furniture piece will fit in your chosen room. 


Not only is it important to measure your room to see how the measurements compare to furniture dimensions, but there are also other measurements that you may not have even considered. For example, if your desired furniture item can’t match or fit through your front entryway, how do you expect it to get inside your home?


Although our La-Z-Boy furniture delivery service is good at doing what they do, there are limits to their skills in moving furniture into clients’ homes. 


Whether incorporating new furniture into your home or moving furniture that already exists, 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 and show you how to measure all access points in the home to determine whether the furniture can be successfully delivered. 


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In This Article…

  1. How to Measure Furniture
  2. Steps to Measure a Room
  3. Measuring the Entire Delivery Path


How to Measure Furniture


Furniture is measured at the tallest, deepest and widest points of the product, including overhangs, angles, outward curves and arms. La-Z-Boy’s e-commerce website will provide depth, height and width measurements for most pieces of furniture. 


Product furniture tags in any of our La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston stores will also detail the same dimensions.


To know if your furniture can fit through your entryway, the furniture width must be less than the height of any doorway, stairway or hallway that the item will need to pass through. The diagonal depth also must be less than the width of any relevant doorway, stairway or hallway.


Though not standard or included in most product details, diagonal depth considers how long the furniture is, if attempting to pass through an entryway at an angle.

To determine the diagonal depth, place a straight-edge ruler from the highest point of the back frame to the front of the arm. Then measure from the bottom rear corner of the frame up to the point that intercepts the ruler. That is how you get your diagonal depth!

Diagonal Depth

It is important to note, however, that with online purchases, the packaging size may be provided rather than the actual size of the furniture piece. 


Determine whether it is the packaged dimensions, and make sure to reach out to the vendor.  If delivered furniture arrives in pieces such as sectionals or dining table legs, use component measurements to determine the final size of the furniture.


Measuring is Not Only About Fit


Measuring serves to ensure that new furniture fits and suits your space. Because of this, 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, as well as existing pieces, to create balance. If your new furniture is too small or too big, you might risk your room looking awkward or off balance.


Once you’ve determined the dimensions of your new furnishings, map it out on the floor where it will go in the room. Marking the location with tape is a good idea to see if there’s enough space to move about freely. 


Good traffic flow is essential and allows the room to be used and accessed easily. If your furniture has a reclining functionality, ensure there will be enough space for the footrest to extend all the way out.  

Measure Your Room


How To Measure a Room


La-Z-Boy Kingston’s interior designer, Mary Lee Smyth, has made 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.”


Here is the step-by-step process that she goes through when properly measuring a room.


Create a Sketch of Your Room


Step #1: Gather Your Tools


 The tools you will need are the following:


  1. A tape measure with at least 25 feet of length. The tape itself must be wide enough to be stable if you measure yourself. Mary Lee cautions not to use a dressmaker’s tape because it stretches and does not give an accurate reading.
  2. A laser measuring tool to help make measuring easy and quick.
  3. A paper or 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 Mary Lee states that “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 Room


Stand at the main door or doorway of the room. It is easier to work in one direction, so going along the direction of your wall is a proper technique that should cover every inch of your floor.


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,” says Mary Lee. You can opt to transfer your drawing and measurements to an online 3D room planner.


Taking Your Room Measurements


Step #3: First Wall Measurements


Start with the side of your choice. 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 measuring tool by placing it against the wall and aiming the laser at the opposite wall. Ensure 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.


Your sketch should look a little similar to this one…

Wall Measuring Sketch

Step #5: Include Doors, Openings & Windows Measurements


Make sure to indicate where the doors, doorways, windows or any other wall openings are located. These are places you want to be aware of so your furniture doesn’t block those important spots.


You can either include this step while doing step 4, or you can start 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. The reason is 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 the 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 the top trim to the outer edge of the bottom trim (or the floor for a doorway/entryway).
  7. Height Excluding Trim/Frame: measure the height from the 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 the 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 the 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, you should 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 may include:


  • Ceiling fixtures or fans
  • Fireplace details/hearth
  • Light switches
  • Outlets
  • Ductwork
  • Floor or wall vents
  • Radiators
  • TV


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


Now that your simple room sketch is complete, it is now a valuable tool you can use when shopping for the right furniture for your space. You can also update this sketch whenever you purchase new furniture in the future, so keep it handy for the next time you might need it.


If you plan on including home furnishings as part of a larger renovation project, be sure to have your sketch measurements ready for accurate calculations. If you have flooring, carpet or tiling projects, input your measurements into a square footage calculator. This can also help you determine material costs.


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Measuring Points of Entry


One of the biggest challenges in measuring is ensuring you can get your purchase into the intended room of 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 through corners and narrow entryways


For this purpose, you must measure the length from the room's entrance 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 must move it vertically, meaning that the entryway height must exceed the furniture’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


Finally, once the delivery day is here, it is important to determine the best pathway from outside your home to the room where your furniture will reside. Once you figure this out, you will know what the easiest and fastest way to get your furniture into your home is.


From the outside of your home, make sure to plot out which entrance is faster to get to in your home. Is your destination closest to the front door, a side door or the backyard door? 


Will the furniture delivery service have difficulty getting through any of those entryways with your furniture? What kind of obstacles will you face when bringing your furniture to your home? These are important questions to ask yourself.


It is important to measure every doorway, entryway, staircase, hallway and elevator that the item must pass through. That way, you know what is easiest for the furniture delivery service and yourself on delivery day.


What's Next?


We hope after reading this article, you now know the best way to measure a room and can confidently choose the right furniture for your space.


With your trusty room sketch in hand, you're ready to welcome that new piece of furniture!


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.

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 & Kingston.


Our expert designers 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 any of our La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston Locations 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.  


While you’re checking out our online articles, get inspired by any new furniture pieces by checking out our best-seller pages:



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