How to Measure Your Home for a Sofa

You’ve been browsing on line for ages and like a bolt out of the blue there it is! The new sofa that you must have for your home. It’s just the right colour, the fabric looks really plush, soft and comfortable and lounging back on that chaise end with that special someone will be the bomb, but, here’s the million dollar question, will you get it in?

This is not an uncommon scenario and often when buying an emotive (and often quite expensive) purchase like a sofa one’s heart can rule the head which often as not leads to a great deal of heartache when the delivery guys turn up and they can’t get that beautiful new sofa through the door or up the stairs and you have to send it back after a very stressful day of trying to fit a camel through the eye of a needle.


But you need worry not, if you carefully read this step by step guide and temper the emotions of the heart with just a little thoughtful planning you can be certain that you’ll get that new sofa into your home.

How to measure your sofa

To begin with you need to work out what the dimensions of the sofa that you intend to move or purchase are, with any luck these have been provided to you by the retailer in a way that makes sense to you, if they don’t have a good chat with the retailer to make sure that you have a good understanding of what the dimensions are and where they are measuring from.

If you can’t get a good understanding of the dimensions from the retailer you should get your tape measure out and measure the sofa yourself.


Begin by removing the back cushions from your sofa if these are detachable and then measure the height (H), depth (D), length (L) and diagonal width (DW) as detailed in the diagram below.


If you have fixed back cushions then you need to modify the measurements for the height (H) and diagonal width (DW) so that they include the back cushions.

How to measure your sofa
The diagonal height (DH) of the sofa is another useful measurement, this can be calculated as detailed in this image.
Measure sofa - orthographic

If you have a corner sofa

Things are a little more complicated if you are looking to get a corner sofa into your home, but exactly how complicated they are will depend on the type of corner sofa that you are buying, as a general rule corner sofas come as one of two types, firstly a two piece corner sofa and secondly single piece integrated corner sofas.

1. Two piece corner sofas

The first type of corner sofa is relatively straightforward to measure as for all intents and purposes you can view it as two individual sofas for which you need to measure the length, depth, height and diagonal width, the great news with this type of corner sofa is that if you can get the larger part of the corner sofa into your home you are almost certain to be able to get the smaller part in too.
Two piece corner sofas
Top Tip:
Think of this as two separate sofas and measure them one at a time.

2. Single piece/Integrated corner sofas

Things get a little more complicated if you have a single piece or integrated corner sofa but not that much more complicated, the diagram below shows you the measurements that you need to take.
Two single piece/Integrated corner sofas
Top Tip:
Line up a friend or family member to help you, measuring large dimensions is much easier with two people.

How to measure your obstructions

Once you’ve got a good grip on the dimensions of your sofa or corner sofa you need to measure the obstructions that it will face on its way through your home.
The most obvious obstructions that a sofa is likely to face are:
  1. The front door and subsequent doors
  2. A narrow or tight hallway
  3. The stairs
  4. A lift
We will now walk you through each of these obstructions and how you should measure them, if you have any obstructions that we have not covered here you should follow the same procedures that we have detailed below.

1. The front door and subsequent doors

The first obstacle that your new sofa is likely to encounter is the front door to your home, the diagrams below explain how to measure the door and it’s maximum aperture.

Measure the height (L) by measuring from the ground level to the lowest point of the top of the door jam, points A to B in the diagram below.


Measure the width (D) by measuring from inner most point of the door when it is fully open to the inner most point of the opposing door jam, points X to Y in the diagram on the right.

The front door

2. The hallway

Measure the height (L) by measuring from the ground level to the ceiling in the hallway, as indicated in the diagram below.


Measure the width (D) by measuring from the inner wall or staircase to the outer wall, as indicated in the diagram on the right.

The hallway
Top Tip:
Make sure you measure from the innermost surface of the door jam and the door.

3. The stairs

You need to consider the dimensions of an individual flight of stairs and if the sofa is going up many flights of stairs, the dimensions of the stairwell.

For an individual flight of stairs measure the height (L) by measuring from one of the steps to the ceiling above the stairs at the lowest point, as indicated in the diagram below and measure the width (D) by measuring from the opposite wall to the inside of the stairs remembering to measure from the outside of a handrail if there is one, as indicated in the diagram below left.


With the stairwell you need to measure the height (L), width (D) and depth (H) as shown in the stairwell diagram below right.

Flight of stairs

Flight of stairs

Stairwell

Stairwell
Top Tip:
Make sure you measure from the outside of a handrail if there is one and enlist the help of a friend if at all possible.

4. The lift

For the lift door measure its height (L) and width (D) as indicated in the diagram below.


For the interior of the lift measure the height (L), width (D) and depth (H) as indicated in the diagram below.


Perhaps most importantly for a lift you need to make sure that when you are riding up in the lift the combined weight of the sofa and the lift occupants do not exceed the maximum rated weight of the elevator, if you are in doubt as to the weight of your sofa you should consult the sofa retailer.

Lift door

Lift door

Lift interior

Lift interior
Top Tip:
Make sure the weight of the sofa and the lift occupants does not exceed the rated weight of the elevator!

Compare the measurements

Now that you’ve measured your sofa and all of the obstructions its time to cross your fingers and compare the two to see if your sofa will fit.
To help with comparing the two we’ve created the simple table below, just print this guide out and enter your measurements into the guide as you go.
Obstruction L(1) D H
Front Door
Hallway
Stairs
Lift
Largest measurement
Sofa
Corner Sofa
(1) Larger of L1 and L2 for corner sofas

As long as the largest measurement that you’ve taken at each of the obstructions that you’ve encountered is greater than the corresponding measurement for your sofa or corner sofa then it will fit.


If one of the measurements for the sofa is greater then you need to consider the diagonal width and diagonal height measurements that you took, and compare them with the corresponding L, D and H measurements for the obstructions above, it may be that you can get your sofa to fit by using these measurements instead, this will involve manhandling the sofa through the obstructions at an angle.

Measuring up your room

The final obstacle that you are likely to encounter with your new sofa purchase is making sure that you have enough space in the room where you intend to position the sofa.
You need to think about:
  1. Space for you and your other furniture
  2. Will you be blocking any plug sockets, radiators, windows or shelving
  3. Skirting boards

1. Space for you and your other furniture

Now that you’ve got the measurements for your sofa you could just measure the space in your room to make sure that once you get it into the room it will fit, however, this could be a big mistake, you need to make sure that not only will if fit but that once it does you can live with it from day to day.
Space for your furniture
The easiest way to do this is probably one of the oldest tips out there, all you need to do is work out the footprint of your new sofa or corner sofa and then lay some newspaper sheets on the floor that correspond to the space that the sofa will take up, you can even use a few old boxes to get a feel for how high the sofa will be in the room and whether or not you are comfortable with it.
Top Tip:
Get creative with some boxes and newspaper to make sure that you can live with your new sofa from day to day.

2. Blocking any plug sockets, radiators windows or shelving

Once you’ve mapped out the space that you will use for your new sofa using newspapers take a good look around.

If you are blocking any plug sockets you need to consider whether or not you will need these plug sockets or whether a small purchase like an extension cable that could be put in place before you move in your new sofa will do the trick, re-routing a plug socket can be expensive and will damage your home decoration.


If you are planning on backing your new sofa up against a radiator you need to think carefully for two reasons, firstly it may make your room colder if the radiator is blocked and not able to function correctly and secondly there may be safety considerations if the sofa is right up against a radiator, if this is the case you should talk carefully with the sofa retailer and any safety information that they can provide before positioning the sofa.


The boxes that you used at step 1 above should give you a good feel about whether your new sofa might block any windows or shelves.

3. Skirting Boards

One important tip that you need to think about when measuring the space that you have in your room for your new sofa is the impact of skirting boards.
When you are measuring you need to remember that you need to measure from the outside of the skirting board to the outside of the corresponding skirting board and not from wall to wall, this point is best explained by reference to the diagram below.
Skirting boards
Top Tip:
Take your measurements from the outside of your skirting boards.
For help and advice visit www.nabru.co.uk or call 0800 0420266