Interior Design: How to Measure Your Space For the Right Furniture | Ana Marcu | Skillshare

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Interior Design: How to Measure Your Space For the Right Furniture

teacher avatar Ana Marcu, Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Why Measure

    • 3. Tools Needed

    • 4. What to Measure

    • 5. How To Take Notes

    • 6. Class project

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About This Class

Learn how to measure a room in your home so that you can place the right furniture for you. Whenever you move into a new home or wish to refresh your space, having the dimensions on hand will guide you in making the best decisions. 


What will you learn in this class? 

  • Why measuring the space is the beginning of any home design project and why you should not overlook it 
  • What elements in your home need to be measured, and for what purpose 
  • What tools to use and in what situations will they serve you best 
  • How to sketch and structure the information in such a way that it will be most useful to your home design project 

Who is this class for? 

This class is for anyone who moves into a new place or wishes to freshen up their existing environment.



Download the class Procreate files here! 


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Every month I share home design ideas that will help you live a happier, healthier and more productive life.


Who am I?

I’m a licensed architect with over a decade of experience in Vienna, Austria. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology", and I am deeply passionate about design psychology and optimising the interior design to create great emotional experiences for people. I aim to design spaces that make people FEEL loved, happier, healthier, and more creative.

In my classes, you will find tips and strategies to help you design a great home. You will learn how certain design decisions can influence your emotions and behaviour and what you can do to create a home that will make you feel happier and supported in your goals.

You can also check out my class, How to Think Like an Architect.


Related Classes:

Create Memorable Home Experiences: Interior Design for Moments That Matter

A Biophilic Home: Interior Design For All Your Senses


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Meet Your Teacher

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Ana Marcu

Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

Top Teacher

About me: 

I'm a licensed architect and have over a decade of experience in the design and architecture industry. I have worked as an in-house architect on various projects with a strong focus on furniture, interior design and experience design. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology", and I am deeply passionate about design that generates great emotional experiences for people. I've recently started my little design studio, and I'm excited to teach you everything I've learned to help you create a great home for yourself. 


Transform your surroundings, transform your life!

Your home environment profoundly impacts your mood, thoughts, behaviour, performance, and overall well-being.

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1. Introduction: Before you start any interior design projects, you first want to assess the opportunities and limitations of your space. One of the most important ways to make this assessment is to actually measure the space. Measuring the space can help you take a multitude of decisions, for example if you move from one space to another, knowing its dimensions is going to inform you about which furniture to take with you, which one to sell, or give away and which one might have to buy. It can inform you about the perfect location for various pieces of furniture, or writing accessories, that it can be particularly useful for custom-made furniture. Measuring the space is the beginning of any interior design project, and you need to rely on this information anytime you make changes in your environment. Hi, my name is Ana Marcu and I'm a licensed architect. I've worked for a whole decade as in-house architect, and I'm running my own designs studio in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria. I recently moved into my new home, which also doubles as my design and recording studio and I'm currently in the process of redesigning it. The design process with my own environment gives me a lot of material for these concepts and I hope you can pick up on a couple of ideas that will help you in the design process of your home. With this class and the ones that follow, I hope to walk you through a series of exercises that architects use to find ideas and make design decisions and prevent costly mistakes. But all those exercises rely on having the dimensions of your space and I'll keep pointing to this class and many of the classes that follow so make sure to watch this class. In the lessons that follow, I will cover in detail why you should measure the space, the tools you'll need for measuring, what specifically in your space you should measure and finally, how to structure the information in such a way that it will be useful to you in a subsequent design decisions. This class, it is complimentary to my class, create memorable home experiences. In that class, I was trying to help you assess your needs and in this class you will assess your space by measuring it. Your design decisions, moving forward will be at the intersection of these two assessments. What your needs are, and what your space can actually offer? In this class, I explained my ideas, with help up an app called Procreate. I use it more of a substitute for pen and paper, but it's not necessary for you to have it in order to be able to follow along. You can also use just pen and paper. If you're ready to learn the fundamentals of any home design project, jump in and let's start the class. 2. Why Measure: I think what most people don't realize is that measuring has the potential to save you a lot of time, money, and energy. I want to start this class with a couple of scenarios. We're measuring your space might come in handy. One of the most basic reasons why you want to measure your space is because you want to see if the furniture you want to bring into your space. If it fits in there, every time you move, the new space will present you with some new challenges. You need to make decisions regarding which furniture you will take with you and which one you don't. Let's take the example of these two bedrooms. Let's assume you are moving from a home that has the bedroom to the left, into a new place that has the bedroom to the right. They're not that different in size. The first one is 20 square meters and the second one is 18 square meters. They both have the door more or less in the same place. The only real difference is that the bedroom one has the windows on the longer side, opposite to the bed, and the other has the windows on the shorter side of the bedroom. Now moving to bed from one bedroom to the other is easy with the selection tool and just going to push the layer of the bed from the old bedroom to the new one. I'm going to place it on the wall opposite to the door because that's usually the most comfortable position. But let's imagine that in the bedroom you are leaving, you had a wardrobe going from one wall to the next, so a four-meter wardrobe. You want to move this wardrobe in your new bedroom, where are you going to place it? Because you have the measurements of your room, you can start making some decisions about your wardrobe already. I'm just going to select the layer of the wardrobe and push it into my new bedroom. I cannot place it in front of the Windows, obviously. But this whole doesn't work either. Neither does this wall. I can already see that my wardrobe is far bigger than the walls I have at my disposal because of the door. Now I'm going to turn on the layer of the measurements in my new bedroom. Now what I didn't tell you is that my drawing is in scale. A scale is 1-20, which means that one of those squares is 20 centimeters. When I move my wardrobe from one drawing to the next, I can already see that the wardrobe is too big. That even if you don't have the scale on your sketch, with the help of the measurements, you can see immediately that the wardrobe is too big. For example one of the walls is 420. If I subtract one meter door in the available space that I have for the wardrobe is just three meter 20, which is far smaller than the four meter wardrobe. If I open the door then the available space on the second wall is 360 centimetrers, which again is smaller than the four meter wardrobe. Any of the available wars in the new apartment or smaller than your already existing wardrobe? You see with just a few measurements, I can already tell that I have to make some changes to this wardrobe. The spirit me, the energy of moving it to the new location and finding out on the spot that it actually doesn't fit. I can decide before the moving while I still take with me, then what furniture I might have to order for the new location. Reason Number 2 is custom-made furniture. Finally, measuring your space and measuring precisely is extremely useful when you want to have a piece of custom-made furniture. For example, I have a wire triangular niche in my bathroom with an interesting oval window. It's behind the door. It really doesn't bother me, but it's not small enough to be ignored and it's not big enough to fit any standard piece of furniture. This would be the perfect place for a custom piece of furniture like a triangular shelf. I could measure that, give it to a carpenter, and asked for a triangular shelf cost estimation. I hope you are able to see by now what an extraordinary tool this is for planning and budgeting your home design. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about the tools needed for this class. 3. Tools Needed: Before you start measuring, you need a couple of items that will facilitate your process. The first thing you need to have is a floor plan. When you receive your apartment, you usually also get a floor plan of your space. You can make an enlarged copy of the space you want to measure because you want to have enough space for each measurement. For teaching purposes, I'm going to use Procreate to explain my process, but you can absolutely follow along with a pencil and a piece of paper. Finally, you will need a measuring tool. You can use a simple tape, or if you want to be more accurate, you can use a laser tool. These are more sophisticated measuring tools, mostly used by professionals, but they give you a very accurate information about dimension of the space and it's a lot less straining on your knees. It's also become very affordable in the last couple of years. Because with the tape you usually measure on the floor, your knees may be a little sore at the end, just speaking from experience. You could also use an app on your phone to measure your space, for example the app measure, which comes with the iPhone. I founded that it helps if you have to measure something really quick and you don't have your tape or your laser with you, but I also found it to be between half a centimeter and one centimeter inaccurate. Bear that in mind when you take your measurements with your phone. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about what exactly should we measure in the space. 4. What to Measure: Welcome to lesson Number 3, what should you measure. There are essentially three things that you should be measuring in a room. Number 1 is the walls, the windows, and the doors. Number 2 is the sockets and the light switches. Number 3 are the furniture pieces that are fixed in the room and you have no intention to move. You notice I have separated these elements in three categories because essentially, I would like you to make notes about them on three separate pages or if you work in Procreate, on three separate layers. One for the walls, doors, and windows, one for the sockets and light switches, and one for the fixed furniture pieces in the room. Before we start writing down each of the measurements, I would like to give you a couple of more tips. In the case of the paper with the walls, doors, and windows, you want to be aware of the floor trims and door frames. You might be inclined to measure the wall and the opening of the door, but what you are interested in is how big is the bit between the trim and the frame, because your piece of furniture is not going to sit either on these trim or over the door frame, is going to sit in-between those two. You also need to know the height of the window sill. Some pieces of furniture might be too high, and when you bring them in front of the window, they might block the opening of the window. You should measure the height of the window sill and write it down on your floor plan. Normally, you find window sills at the height of 90 centimeters, but of course this depends on the building, so make sure to measure it at least once. Regarding the light switches and sockets paper, the first thing you need to know is that normally all sockets and all light switches are the same height. For example, in Austria, light switches are typically placed at the height of 110 centimeters from the ground and the sockets are placed at the height of 30 centimeters from the ground. However, depending on where you live and the building codes there, as well as the measurement system that you work with, they might be located at different heights. Just remember that all sockets and all light switches should be at the same height, so you don't have to measure each of them. You want to locate all of them so you can take them into account when placing furniture. For example, knowing where the socket or the cable is, is going to help you decide where to place your TV or the other sockets might help you decide where to place a keyboard or an indoor light. Always check the height of the furniture you want to place on a wall against the height of the light switch. Sometimes sideboards might be higher. Always make sure you have enough space on your wall next to the light switch. Finally, when it comes to the fixed furniture page, you want to write the dimensions of the furniture and one or two more distances from the nearby wall corners. Now that we know what to measure, let's have a look at how to measure. 5. How To Take Notes: Welcome to the final lesson. Now, let's put everything we learned so far together. Go around the room with your measuring tape and as you take the dimensions, write it down on a piece of paper. Of course, this piece of paper should be a copy of the floor plan you received when you moved in, but if you only intend to measure one room, you can also make an enlarged copy of the floor plan of that room. Or like me, you can import the floor plan in Procreate and write your measurements in the app. If however, you don't have a floor plan or you feel like the floor plan you have is unreliable, you can just make a sketch of your room. I'm just going to show you how I do mine. First, I'm going to draw a rectangle because my room is rectangular. Then I'm going to look for the protrusions in the room. Here I have left and right, a few [inaudible] elements that come into the room. Afterwards, I'm going to mark the windows. The walls here are very thick, they are about half a meter. Now, I'm going to mark the doors. I have double doors on the left side and on the right side. My drawing is not in scale, so I'm only looking for what feels proportionally right, but I don t know for sure. You can do all of this, of course, with a pen and a piece of paper. Now that I have marked all the doors and the windows, I'm going to delete all the lines that I don't need. Behind the protrusions and the doors and of course the windows. I forgot one window, so I'm just going to draw it now, it's a window on the side. First delete every line that you don't need. Draw the windows, try to make them a little finer than the walls. I'll delete the final line that defines my protrusions. That is the final drawing. We see that we first have to measure the dimensions of the walls, doors and windows. The way to do this is to make two types of measurements. The first one has to show the entire length of the wall, and the second one is for the individual measurements of the windows, doors, and walls in between. Normally, opposing walls should be equal. Make sure that all the measurements add up to the total length of the wall. First, I'm going to scale down my drawing a little bit so I can leave a little bit of space for the measurements and create a new layer for the measurements. Ideally use a pen with a different color. I picked red. From here on, I'm interested in knowing the dimension of each door, window, and wall in-between. I'm going to mark on my measurement line all these elements. Once I measure each part of the wall, I'm going to write it down. Now, I'm going to mark the second measurement line which shows the entire length of the wall. Ideally, opposite walls are equal, so you only have to make it on one side. Finally, mark the protrusions, the elements that you didn't catch in the other measurements. This is the end of the first page. On your second page, you want to mark all the light switches and sockets, as well as their height from the floor. If the sockets and light switches are the same height everywhere, we don't have to add it to each of them. In this room, I have four sockets and two light switches next to each door. One socket also has an adjacent cable and Wi-Fi socket. You might want the mark it differently on your plan. I start my drawing by creating a new layer for my sockets and light switches measurements. I'm going to draw a little circle to mark the light switches and an x for the sockets. I go around the room and just mark my sockets and light switches. Sometimes the light switch is over a socket then I just mark them or next to each other like here. Here I make it a little legend explaining what X and what O means. As mentioned previously, you might want to mark any additional measurements that are important like the height, for example, I'm writing here, each equals 30 centimeters. Alternatively, you might want to write the distance of the socket to the nearest wall. Mark the sockets for the TV cable a little differently. Here, I'm making a little square around my X, and you are done with the second page. The file page is destined for the items in your space that you feel cannot or should not be moved from the place they are in. This comes in handy if you are already moved in and are trying to rearrange part of your room, but not the entire room. Then you'll need to know how much space you have left among the items that you cannot or will not move. As an example, I'm just going to use my little trolley I have here in the corner. It has wheels, so it's not fixed, but I'm just going to pretend that it's fixed for the sake of this exercise. On your floor plan or a sketch of the floor plan, you want to write down the dimensions of the item, as well as the distances to the nearest wall. This will inform you about how much space you have left in the room. Also look at the wall dimensions you took before, do the new dimensions checkout? Teaching is over, let's see what your class project is about. 6. Class project: For the class project, I want you to measure a room in your home. Use three copies for the floor plan: One for the walls, windows, and doors, one for the light switches, and sockets, and one for the furniture that you do not want to move. Make sure you take a photo of these plans or export them as JPEG from your Procreate app and add them to the class project. If you have any questions or breakthroughs, do add them to the project description, I'd love to know what your experience has been. If you share your project on social media, make sure to tag me so we can continue the conversation. If you want to work with or have a look at the appropriate files I have used in this class, you can find the link in the class description. All we have to do to get them is sign up to my newsletter for free. All right, this class is over. I'll see you in the next class.