Measure Up: Making Sure Furniture Fits Before You Buy
This step often gets overlooked, but it’s an important one. Shoppers typically measure the room where their new furniture will go, but they forget that the furniture has to get into the room through doorways and/or hallways. Measure the width, height, and diagonal length of the doorways and hallways (and write them down!) so you can compare these measurements to the items you like online and in stores. Common items that can be difficult to fit through small spaces are headboards, sofas, sectionals, and mattresses.
When looking at a piece, make sure you measure its length, height, width, and diagonal depth. Diagonal depth of a sofa, for example, is the measurement from one of the back feet to the middle of the armrest, measuring straight across the end of the sofa. Diagonal depth of a product needs to be smaller than the width of the doorway to ensure your furniture will fit.
While a well-lit room is a plus, it means there are a lot of windows you have to think about when selecting your furniture. No one wants a sofa to interfere with natural light, so if you plan to put a piece in front of a window, make sure you measure from the floor to the bottom edge of the window or windowsill to avoid any overlapping. If you do have a windowsill, measure how far it sticks out from the wall; if your furniture is going to sit up against the windowsill, it may not be flush against the wall and you’ll want to know that ahead of time.
Also think about if you are going to flank your windows with accents or furniture. Flanking is an interior design technique that means to place items on either side of the window. Items like accents chairs, end tables, and floor lamps are often paired on either side of a window. Make sure you measure the distance between windows and the distance between the window and the adjacent wall.
Investigate the Stairs
This is another seemingly obvious, but often forgotten, step. Before you get stuck repeatedly pivoting, make sure you measure the width of your stairwell. If there is a turn in your staircase, measure the width of the landing (wall to railing or railing to railing), the distance from the railing to the back wall, and the landing length. Also, measure the railing-to-ceiling distance in case you have to lift the furniture up and over the railing. If the landing isn’t long enough to fit the entire piece, you will have to lift your furniture over the railing. If your staircase leads to a blocked-off area (there might be a wall at the top of the stairs versus a room, for instance), measure the distance between the wall and the stairs. If you have an elevator, measure the doorways and the height once you’re inside the elevator.
Look for Lighting
The furniture may fit through the doorway, won’t interfere with windows, and easily fits up the stairs, but what if there’s a low chandelier hanging right where you want to put your counter-height dining table? Measure the distance between the bottom of any hanging light fixtures and the floor to ensure there’s enough space for your furniture. If the piece won’t sit directly under the light, think about whether or not the light fixture will get in the way when moving the furniture to its permanent spot.