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When you walk into a carpet shop to look at new carpets, the first thing that you will be asked is the size of the room.  Now if you have nice rectangular or square rooms, this is a simple question – but who has those?  For most of us, there are alcoves, corners with angles, doors and windows that make things complicated and more.  So how do you correctly measure for a carpet, especially in rooms that aren’t just square?

Creating a floor plan

One of the best ways to get an accurate measurement of your room is to create a floor plan.  Don’t worry, this doesn’t need to be complex or see you invest in some computer design program!  Instead, grab a tape measure and a sheet of paper.

Start measuring from one point.  Measure along a wall until you reach a corner and mark up if there are things like bay windows or alcoves on the wall.  Always make sure you measure at the widest point so ignore radiators or even skirting boards to get the widest point.  This is especially important if you use laser measuring devices.

Continue around the room, taking the measurements and adding to your sketch.  Always measure at the ground level because, in older properties, it isn’t unheard of for the walls to be slightly narrower towards the ceiling – which would leave your carpet short.

Put the exact measurements in that you find, don’t round up or down.  Measure into any doorways as you will need the carpet to stretch into them and meet flooring from the adjoining room.

Measuring a staircase

There’s one room that needs handling differently to all others – the staircase.  There’s no doubt that measuring a staircase is trickier than other rooms but there is a method to follow.

First, note how many straight stairs you have as well as the measurement of the nose width, the riser height and the tread depth.  In other words, how wide and deep the steps area.

Then note down any landings or what are known as winders or kites – those shaped stairs that go around a corner and aren’t rectangular like normal stairs.

In lots of cases, you can use leftovers from other parts of the stairs to fill in the gaps (or the carpet fitter will) but there is a touch of science to making this work.  You need to make sure that the pile direction points down the staircase to go with gravity, not against it.  This stops pile separation issues.

How much carpet to buy

Once you have all of your measurements, you are ready to head to the shop.  How much carpet you need to buy depends on a couple of things.  For starters, carpets normally come in either 4m or 5m widths.  You will also need to have extra material for the ‘cutting in’ part of the process, at least 5cm on each wall to allow them to be trimmed to the contours of the wall.

If you have a floor plan, any carpet store will be able to take that and give you a quote for how much carpet you need, you don’t need to work this out first.  And if you doubt, grab a professional to measure for you!