Why Size Matters… When Measuring Furniture.

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Here’s how to measure furniture before making a regrettable online purchase.

man sitting on couch

Buyer beware!

Have you ever ordered something online, and when it arrived it wasn’t exactly what you had in mind? The internet is filled with funny stories and memes of items ordered that just don’t quite look like they do in the photos (I’m looking at you Wish.com).

mini toilet paper(Image credit: Reddit)

While it’s probably a given, you really do have to pay attention to the full description on websites when online shopping to be sure that you know exactly what you’re buying. Make sure you know if it’s in centimeters, inches, or even feet. Sometimes it’s a little tricky to decipher depending on how the listings are written.

A perfect example: A Reddit user ordered from Wish and thought he was getting a pack of toilet paper but instead received these microscopic knock-offs that fit in the palm of your hand, woah! 🤣 While random products are important to note the size of, it’s even more important when it comes to furniture and home decor.

Check out this funny furniture story from Stetson…

man laying on couch

“Recently my sister-in-law ordered a sofa online, and I was so excited to get it. It had a tufted back and looked pretty stylish in the photos and seemed to be a great size for her living room. However, when the sofa showed up, it was much smaller and not quite the same quality she was hoping for or that was depicted in the photos! Now granted, she should have probably paid more attention to the sizing on the product page, but I know I’m often guilty of going by the photos alone when I’m shopping online. 

I had to share a few photos of this sofa… we could not stop laughing! I don’t know if you can truly tell from the photos, but it looks like something that should be in a kids’ playroom and not in a living room. 😂

Tips for measuring furniture:


So, how can you avoid getting furniture that just isn’t what you expected? Measure, measure, and then measure again!

You’ll first want to measure your space where the item is going, then you’ll want to check the measurement specs on the listing of the item you intend to purchase to make sure it will fit your space.

When measuring for furniture, you’ll want to make note of the width, height, and depth of the item as well as the space where you plan to put the new piece of furniture. This goes for most sofas, chairs, love seats, bookshelves, dressers, desks, chests… and really all furniture!

But, wait, have you tried this? 

target mobile vr furniture app

Smartphones and tablets are always evolving adding amazing features that not only help you keep connected but they help you around the house. Augmented reality (referred to as AR) is currently available on some websites such as Target and IKEA and allows you to take a compatible smartphone or tablet and see exactly how a piece of furniture or home decor will look in your own home.

Items with this option on the Target website are labeled with the “AR” icon.

ikea vr furniture app

The IKEA Place augmented reality app, available in the iTunes App Store (no longer available on Google Play), lets you view IKEA furniture in your home before you buy! Simply browse through the collection and place it in your room. You can even snap photos of non-IKEA items you like and the app will search for similar ones they offer!

So… got your measurements ready?

IKEA kitchen island with wood top

Here’s a list of some of our favorite places to shop for furniture… once you know the exact dimensions you’re looking for, of course!

Happy measuring and furniture shopping!

We’re obsessed with these Walmart bedsheets!

About the writer:

Angela graduated with a Bachelor's Degree and has 25+ years of experience as a writer and photographer with her work being featured in US Weekly Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, and more.

Join The Discussion

Comments 16

  1. Evie

    If you do not sit on it before purchase it may be hard and uncomfortable.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      So, true! Good advice, Evie!

  2. sunny_girls

    Love the pics! So funny!!!🤭

  3. ccmama

    Who doesn’t measure furniture when ordering? I don’t get people

  4. Jan

    We purchased a sofa at a furniture store based on a store model and measurements they gave us. The sofa was too big for our space. The problem is that, as you show in your photo, they measure the length of a sofa from leg to leg and it doesn’t account for the arms. We thought we had 6″ to spare based on the length the store gave us and the sofa was 18″ longer than our space when it arrived.

  5. Tati

    I recommend using painters tape and the furniture measurements to mark the area on the floors/up wall if necessary. It really gives a true picture of the item in the space. Furniture also looks and feels alot smaller than it actually is at the furniture store. Almost made a HUGE mistake myself but thankfully went home, did this and ordered the sectional in a correct size for my space.

    • kadysiga

      The painter’s tape is a great idea! I agree, furniture does seem much smaller in store!

      • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

        Love this idea, Tati!

  6. Kimberly

    I’m just here for pictures of Stetson. 🙂

  7. Sharron

    Stetson is the Best, he can always make me 😂

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Our whole team laughs with Stetson! He’s a fun guy!🤣

  8. momtotwo

    Last summer people ordered chlorine tablets and when they arrived they were the size of Certs!

  9. Ms. Frizzle

    This is sooo true. We bought a 3 piece full grain leather set from the navy exchange online and when it arrived- they were HUGE. :/

  10. Sharon

    I had always wanted a roll top desk. We bought one at a warehouse club. It was nice and had lots of neat cubbies and an auxiliary table for a printer. IT WAS HUGE! Our space was not! I try took up precious space for too long. Consider where you are…a warehouse, and measure the furniture and your space!!!🤦🏼‍♀️

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Thank you, Sharon!

  11. Sandra K

    What a funny video!

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