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Measuring to Fit: Making Sure That Your Furniture Fits Your Space

First and foremost, you must measure, measure - and measure again. The first thing you need are the dimensions of the furniture you plan to purchase. If you don't see the dimensions listed in the product description then you will need to contact a customer service representative to provide you with the precise measurements.

How to Measure Furniture In addition to height, depth, and width, you will also need to know the diagonal height, depth (and sometimes width) of the furniture to ensure that the piece will clear all points, should it need to be turned on its end or at an angle during product delivery.

Diagonal height is the distance from the top-right to the bottom-left of the piece. This is particularly significant when measuring tall bookcases and clothing cupboards, for example, which often require turning on end or at an angle.

Diagonal depth is the distance from top-back to bottom-front. Sofas, for instance, tend to run deep and thus require measuring from “head” (top-back) to “toe” (bottom of front leg) to anticipate success in clearing doorways and hall widths. If they are very heavy and there are close turns or corners to navigate, they will require angling or turning, in which case their diagonal length (also called “diagonal width”) must be less than the height of the hallway ceiling.

Secondly, take measurements of all spaces which need to be passed through during delivery. Imagine yourself part of the delivery team. Starting from the car park, traverse every square inch from the outside in. Measure the height, width, and depth of any outdoor fence, arch, and gate, as well as indoor elevators, entryways, doorways, hallways, stairwell bottom, staircase (does a banister limit you?), stairway top, turning corners, and room entrances. Ascertain that the diagonal distance between steps and overhead ceiling exceeds the diagonal measurement of the furniture by a minimum of 4 inches.

All along your route, take note of any wall or ceiling fixtures, fans, air conditioning/heating units, blinds boxes, decorative moldings, and heat convectors. Might any home furnishing positioned right behind a door prevent that door from being fully opened at delivery time? Be sure the new piece will not prevent free access to windows, light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, or vents. Does an entrance or closet door open into the chosen space?

It stands to reason that the measurements of the furniture to be delivered must be LESS than the measurements of all spaces through which it will be carried.

What if you're not sure? If the diagonal depth of the piece is less than the width of all your spaces, it may just get through on an angle.

Extra Tall or Extra Long Pieces

Two furniture categories deserve special mention: the extra-long and extra-tall pieces.

Sofas, long chests of drawers, and twin-size or daybeds must measure less in length (or “width”) than the height and depth of all the spaces through which they are carried. Their diagonal depth at its highest point needs to be less than the width of all the spaces. (Pillows may be removed prior to measuring and delivery.)

For tall bookcases, cabinets, high dressers and wardrobes, the diagonal height at its widest point must measure less than the height or horizontal depth of all the spaces to be traversed. Their depth needs to measure less than the width of all the spaces.

Assembly after Delivery

When you pick your new prized possessions, noting potential difficulties will save you disappointment in the future.

Large headboards, elaborate boudoir mirrors, and exceedingly deep furniture entail appropriate space accommodations. Low ceilings, narrow halls or doorways, and slope-roof garrets call for special attention. An exquisite furnishing may catch your fancy, but if it poses a major problem i.e. impossibility in delivery, the untold aggravation it will cause you in returning it to the store will just not be worth it. (And you’ll have to pay for the delivery just the same!)

On the other hand, some items can be delivered in two pieces for subsequent assembly to ensure successful delivery.

What if you are looking for an encasement or other furnishing to house a television, sculpture, tall vase, or collection of some sort? First purchase the television, measure the items, and only afterward find the piece of furniture to fit it.

So now that you’ve done your homework, go and get that beautiful piece you’ve had your eye on. After all - if you won’t treat yourself, who will? This newfound information should promote your living and delivering in comfort beyond measure.