August 20, 2013

How to Measure Rooms for Decorating Projects

Measuring rooms for a decorating project may seem hard, but it’s actually really easy.

When you’re planning to decorate a room, it’s important to have the space measured so you can come up with a furniture plan that works. Measuring room size, walls, doors, and windows provides you with the ability to choose items that fit your space well.

If you’re only changing bed linens and drapery, of course measuring isn’t necessary, but when assessing a room’s layout and planning for new furniture, artwork, and window furnishings, a floor plan (floor sketch) and wall elevations (wall sketch) are genius tools to help make the rest of the decorating project so much more easier!

Measure Rooms

How To

To measure rooms you’ll need a tape measure, paper, pencil, and someone to help (depending on how big the room is).

  1. Roughly sketch the existing layout of the room. This does not have to be perfect. You should include the placement of the windows, doors, closets, built-in lighting fixtures (sconces & ceiling lights), radiators, and electrical and/or cable outlets.
  2. Measure each wall from corner to corner and record the measurement on your sketch. Record as feet and inches (5’-6”). For me, it’s easiest to measure when I place the measuring tape on the floor. Measure the ceiling height and label it on the sketch.
  3. Then, measure and record the location of each door, window, closet, built-in lighting fixtures, and radiator (if you have one). It may not be necessary to measure the location of the electrical and/or cable fixtures unless you have issues with your outlets being visible.
  4. Lightly sketch each wall, including the doors, windows, closets, and radiators. On each wall elevation (wall sketch), measure and record each door from the floor to the top of the door. Windows need to be measured from floor to bottom of window and also from bottom of window to top of window. Make sure you sketch and measure all your trim, too (baseboards, crown moldings, etc.).
  5. If the drawing is too messy, you may want to redraw it so it’s clear and easy enough to read when going to stores to look for furnishings. These drawings and measurements will prove super valuable when looking for that perfect size bookshelf to fit in a tight corner.
  6. If you’re planning to keep any furniture, I suggest measuring them and noting them somewhere on the outside of your sketches. This helps make sure that any new pieces you get will work with existing furniture. It also helps when you’re trying to create a new furniture layout.
  7. I’d also suggest scanning and saving your sketches on your computer for safe keeping and/or viewing on your computer screen.

It may seem like a lot to do, but I promise, measuring your room first will make your decorating projects a whole lot easier. With your sketches, you’re able to see how large a wall is, how much space is in between a window and the end of a wall, how high your window is, and more. You’ll now be able to quickly see if that dresser you’ve been eyeing would be too big or too small. That art print on Etsy? You now will know if it’s the right size for the wall space between your two windows. You’ll know where the outlets are located and would easily be able to see how far or near your outlets that your furniture should be.

If sketching and measuring rooms still seem too hard, I suggest getting someone to come and do it for you, or even pay a professional. Trust me, it’s worth it, especially for large rooms when you’re starting from scratch.

Don’t forget to check out my LOVE YOUR HOME 4-week decorating workshop – measuring will be apart of the workshop!

Was this post helpful? Will you be measuring your rooms for future projects? I want to hear from you, so leave a comment below!

Till next time,



24 comments so far.

24 responses to “How to Measure Rooms for Decorating Projects”

  1. This would have been helpful when we redid our living room! I’ll pin this post for when we work on the bedrooms!!
    Jamie@ They Call Me A Hippie recently posted…When You Can’t Find the Words to WriteMy Profile

  2. These are great tips. Thanks for sharing them. I really like the idea of scanning it to the computer for future use. I like to take notes on my stuff, so sometimes I need a clean slate, and to not have to redraw everything would be a great idea. PINning! 🙂

    Life With Lorelai
    Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai recently posted…Which Gilmore Girls Character Are You?My Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks Lorelai!!! Scanning your sketches on your computer, let’s you have them for later. So, if you add notes that you don’t need later, you can always print out an extra copy of the sketches that you scanned before adding the notes.


  3. No wonder nothing ever works when I try it…I’ve been going about it all wrong! Thank you for this!!!
    Kristen from The Road to Domestication recently posted…A Trip to HomeGoodsMy Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks Kristen! 🙂 I don’t think that there’s a right or wrong way to actually take the measurement, but I do find that this is an easier, more efficient way to get a workable sketch/floor plan. Let me know if you need any help with any of it!


  4. I remember in design school being taught this, my dh will not go for it. We shove furniture around and around.
    I might send him to your site 🙂
    Dawn ~ Spatulas On Parade recently posted…TOP 3 from week 19My Profile

    • Whitney says:

      Lol, Dawn! I use to do that, too, but trust me, by having a sketch with the measurements on it, you’ll won’t have to move furniture aimlessly around a room again.


  5. It reminds me of moving. I always like to measure the whole new place and plan it before the move – it is the fun part.
    Anna @ Northern Homestead recently posted…How to freeze raspberriesMy Profile

  6. Kita says:

    That’s the one thing I hate measuring I get a man to do it or it won’t get done lol. Great tips maybe if I measured more my house would be decorated but alas its not

    • Whitney says:

      🙂 Kita, it’s really easy if you have someone to help you! You can even do it in stages. You can do the quick sketch one day. And then start the measuring when you get someone to help you!


  7. Brittnei says:

    I honestly never thought to actually draw a sketch of the room and then measure everything. When we moved into the place we are in right now, I did some extreme guessing. It worked in the long run, but you are right, if the room was much larger, I could have ended up needing to return things because something didn’t fit. I shared this on Pinterest with Twitter for you! I’m sure I will need this reminder in the future! 🙂

    • Whitney says:

      Thanks for sharing Brittnei! I really appreciate it! I’m glad I could inspire your next project, and you’re right, guessing (and trial & error) could work for small rooms, but larger rooms need a bit more planning. I could tell you from experience, though, that measuring could even same time for your smaller rooms.

      Another thing you could do is measure ALL your rooms a little at a time when you don’t have decorating plans. This way you can store your sketches for the time when you are ready to decorate.


  8. Hi Whitney, I’m stopping over from the blog hop, I’m a feature sponsor this month too 🙂 What a detailed post – it gave me slight knot in my stomach thinking about having to go through all of this when we move at the end of the year. I’m glad I’ve found your website! xoxox
    Vanisha’s Life in…Australia recently posted…{My Style} In Different LightMy Profile

  9. Carol Hardin says:

    Incredible post!!! You have given your readers great facts on the space measuring. As many people neglect this aspect of measuring and when it comes to store some new things they get into trouble. But your tips gonna really helpful for everyone. I am also inspired by you so much and I will use all your tips in my office decoration project.
    Carol Hardin recently posted…Our New Self Storage Site Opens in CanterburyMy Profile

  10. Michelle says:

    Great tips! We are doing some redecorating now, so I can definitely use this.
    Michelle recently posted…Orange Zucchini Bread RecipeMy Profile

  11. Maryam Perez says:

    Found you through A lovely blog hop. Great tips! 🙂

  12. Angie says:

    You have a wonderful blog!! I’m your newest Bloglovin follower from the “Lovely“ blog hop – this is my blog if you wanted to follow back:
    PS – I would also like to invite you to a networking blog hop that lasts 1 month long: “The Chain Linky CLIMB” currently live on my blog– Thank you!
    Angie recently posted…Peach Paradise SquaresMy Profile

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About Me

whitney j decor | whitney jones | new orleans interior designer | new orleans decorator | nola interior designer | nola decorator

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie with a love of all things HOME. I’m at my best when color & coffee is involved, but you can also bribe me with crawfish, bread pudding, and/or hibachi. New Orleans born and bred, it’s how I’ve learned to be confident in my use of unique patterns, bold color, and space planning when transforming my clients’ homes! Welcome to Whitney J Décor!

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