How to Get the Right Size of a Couch for a Space

How to Get the Right Size of a Couch for a Space thumbnail
The right size of couch is key to a functional space.

The couch is one of the main pieces of furniture in the home. It can be an expensive piece and it is important to choose the couch that fits the lifestyle of the family, and one that fits the room. Knowing how interior decorators determine the optimum furniture size, without stepping into the room, will give you the information to purchase the best-sized couch for you.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Graph paper
  • Scissors
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    • 1

      Draw a to-scale floor plan of the room. Use graph paper and a scale of four or six inches per square. Include doors and windows, heat registers, columns, radiators and fireplaces on the floor plan. If you have furniture that can not be moved easily, such as a built-in TV armoire or piano, draw that on the floor plan too.

    • 2

      Draw an arc that indicates each inward-opening door swing. Door swings usually require 36 inches of floor space. Sliding doors are allocated 36 inches to the front for traffic movement.

    • 3

      Determine where the couch will sit. Typically, the couch faces the focal point of the room. This could be the picture window, the fireplace or the TV.

    • 4

      Draw the traffic flow of the room on the floor plan. This is how people will move through and within the room. A pathway a minimum of 30 inches wide is required. The couch should be placed out of the traffic flow, so that no one has to walk between the couch and the focal point to move through the room. This may mean moving the couch away from the wall, toward the focal point.

    • 5

      Allow at least 16 inches between the front of the sofa and the edge of the coffee table. Sofa side tables typically require a minimum of 24-by-36 inches of floor space. Allow 30 inches of space to walk between the sofa arms and any adjacent chairs.

    • 6

      Cut scale representations of all the furniture to be used in the room and place them in the appropriate positions, considering their space requirements. The couch space remains open.

    • 7

      Count the squares on the floor plan of the open space for the sofa, both length and depth. Convert this measurement to inches and the result will be an accurate measurement of the maximum length and depth of couch the room can accommodate.

Tips & Warnings

  • Large, over-sized arms on a sofa consume valuable floor space, so if space is at a premium, consider smaller scaled pieces with straight, or no, arms to maximize seating capacity.

  • Many on-line furniture companies offer free room-planner programs.

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  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

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