Measure Twice, Order Once: How to Measure Your Office to Get It Right the First Time
Sherry Schrank and Chris Green
Ordering new office furniture is exciting. There are so many choices available, plus there’s the prospect of a fresh new look with all the latest bells and whistles you’ve been hearing about. Yep, it can be a fun project — as long as everything goes smoothly. But as soon as it becomes apparent that you forgot to make a note of the thermostat that falls right in the middle of the overhead hutch in your president’s office, the party’s over.
Similar scenarios happen more often than you might think. In fact, when it comes to DIY space planning, bloopers of varying degrees are probably more the rule than the exception. So we would like to share a how-to guide on measuring your office space to help you be the hero who designed the awesome new office the right way — the first time.
Step by step
- Begin by sketching the perimeter of the office space
- Start in one corner of the room and measure every wall length, moving clockwise around the room
- To validate wall measurements, measure the overall length and width of the space
- Measure all window widths (include the width of the casing) and how far off the floor the window sill begins
- Measure all door widths (include the width of the casing)
- Measure all column sizes and locations. Note: To draw a column in the correct location, measurements from two perpendicular perimeter walls are needed
- Measure the ceiling height
- Round down to the nearest half-inch
- DO use a good, old-fashioned measuring tape (50-foot length recommended)
- DO note the location and size of all fixtures on the wall or within the space such as outlets, thermostats, fire extinguishers and columns
- DO be a stickler for local codes: ADA, fire codes and other building codes
- DO measure ceiling height, noting any variation for ductwork, sprinklers, lights, etc.
- DO make a note of wall construction, such as drywall, wallpaper or glass, to name just a few
- DON’T trust electronic measuring devices: They’re not very accurate and interference can translate into big discrepancies
- DON’T rely solely on architectural drawings: Often, neither the depth of the drywall is accounted for nor are “as-built” adjustments
- DON’T forget to note the door location in detail, including the direction of the swing (in or out)
- DON’T overlook proximity requirements such as the need for desks to be close to electrical, phone and data wiring
- DON’T measure from wall to wall — instead, measure on the floor because that is where the furniture sits, and walls may not be perfectly level
If the size and scope of your project call for it, you may want to consider having a professional measure all the details. We have resources in the field that can help with that. Whether you measure the space yourself or have it professionally done, once the dimensions are confirmed, we offer free space planning to help make the most of the square footage that is available. Need help getting started?