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How to measure for a sofa – The oliver matthews guide

Here at Oliver Matthews, all of our sofas are custom-made. One of the benefits of going custom is getting a sofa designed and built to your size specifications. In order to produce what you want though we have to know the measurements. We encourage our customers to measure two things.

First is the actual floorspace your new sofa will occupy. You need to know just how much space you are working with so you can figure out how large, or small, a sofa you need. Second, you have to measure for delivery. You need to make sure that the sofa you order can actually be manoeuvred from the street to the space it will occupy. 

For the purposes of this guide, we are concerned with three main measurements:

width

This is a measurement from corner to corner, along the longest line of the sofa. We call these two corners points A and B.

depth

This is the measurement from front-most surface of the seat to the rear-most surface of the back.

height

This is the measurement from the floor to the highest point, usually the top of the back.

Measuring for a standard sofa

The standard sofa is the easiest to measure for. You are measuring all three measurements in a straight line – so width, depth, and height. Be sure to measure width and depth in relation to the rest of the room and any other furniture you plan to put in the space. If it helps, putting masking tape on the floor will give you an approximate footprint of the sofa you are thinking about.

measuring for a corner sofa

A corner sofa is delivered in 3 sections, a corner box and 2 sofa sections with 1 arm.

When measuring width, it is not enough to measure just one section. We need the measurements for both. For the first section, you are measuring the equivalent of point A to point B. The 2nd section is measured from point B to point C

If one side is longer than the other then note which side it is as you face it. For example point A to point B would be classed as left hand facing and point B to point C would be right hand facing. Your depth and height measurements will not change. They are measured the same as a standard sofa.’

measuring for a u-shape sofa

If you're ordering a U-shape sofa, you are doing the same thing as you would for corner sofa except that you are adding a fourth point. Measure from A to B, then from B to C, and finally from A to D. You should now have three width measurements. Again, your depth and height measurements are measured the same way.

measuring for a curved sofa

Measuring for a curved sofa is the trickiest of all. The easiest way to do it is to measure the entire area you have to work with as a rectangle. In other words, measure the floor space in terms of length and width. We can figure out what size curved sofa will fit in that space. If you want to get into a little more detail, you can actually map out the shape of a curved unit on your floor using masking tape. To do it, you will need a flexible measuring tape.

There are four measurements we would use to make your custom sofa:

Back width

This is the entire width of the curve section of the back. Imagine running a flexible tape measure along the entire back as it curves from corner to corner. That entire length is the measurement we need.

Front width (curved)

This is a similar measurement except that you take it on the front of the sofa, on the face of each of the sections.

Front width (straight)

Every curved sofa has two ends. You should be able to measure a straight line from the outer edge of one end to the outer edge of the other. This is the total width the unit will take up in that rectangular area you measured earlier.

Depth

The depth is measured from the centre point of the back out to the straight line you just measured for the front of the sofa. This is the total depth the unit will take up in your rectangular area.

Finally, is the height. This is the same distance measured with all of the other configurations – the distance from the floor to the top of the back.

taking measurements for delivery

Now we get to the fun task of measuring for delivery. The point here is to make sure the delivery personnel can get your new sofa into your home.

Measuring Your Front Door

In a perfect world, your new sofa would fit through your front door without issue. Measure the width of the door frame. If it exceeds the height of your new sofa, the unit will fit through the door without issue. Note that many modern sofas come with removable feet. You simply unscrew the feet if the extra height they add will not let the sofa through the door. 

If your front door is not wide enough, there may be another solution. Sometimes it is possible to stand a sofa up on one of its sides and manoeuvre it through the door by rotating it around the frame. For this to work, your door frame must be taller than the width of your couch. So measure from the floor to the top of the door frame. 

There are times when a door frame is wide enough to accommodate the sofa but there is an obstruction preventing the door from being opened fully. There may be no other option but to remove the door from its hinges.

Measuring Internal Doors and Stairways

The most complicated delivery of all requires carrying a sofa up a flight or two of stairs into a small flat. There are a lot of different measurements to consider here. First is the size of the main door. This is generally not a problem in modern buildings as they are designed to accommodate furniture deliveries. Older buildings may be problematic. Measure the main door the same way you would the front door to a house. 

Next, measure the width of any stairways you will be ascending. There needs to be enough room between the wall and the handrail to carry the sofa comfortably. If there isn't, you might be forced to carry the sofa above your head. This is both uncomfortable and dangerous. 

Next, you have to measure the width of any landings if your staircase makes turns on its way up to your floor. Landings that are too narrow might require you to stand sofa up on end in order to get it around the corners. If this is the case, the ceiling has to be high enough. You have to carry it up the first section, stand it on end, rotate it, then carry it up the second section. 

Finally, measure the width of any hallways you will be moving through. Remember that you do not want just the width of the floors itself. You also need to account for any obstructions. Ideally, you want to measure the narrowest points along the path. 

For example, if there is a radiator in a hallway you will be passing through, it might create the narrowest point in the hall. Measure the amount of space you have to work with. If you cannot get the sofa through that space, the rest of your measurements are not going to matter.

this is why we love bespoke

If you haven't figured out by now, this is one of the reasons we love bespoke sofas. A bespoke sofa can be constructed specific to your needs.

What’s more, the majority of our bespoke sofas come with removable arms to make delivery into tight spaces easier. We can also make our sofas into sections and join them together in your room in case someone wants a large sofa but access to the room is problematic.

Hopefully you now understand how to measure for a sofa. Remember to measure the space the sofa will occupy in your home. Whatever you order should be able to fit in that space nicely, with enough room to safely walk around the unit. When you're measuring for delivery, you are measuring to make sure you can lift, turn, and manoeuvre each section from the street to its intended location.

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