How to measure an office

Let’s make sure your next office measures up!

More than ever, we are in a world with a myriad of shopping options. And with so many furnishing their offices through our online catalogue, or communicating with us over distance (email, phone and such) there are a few skills that can help you make a smooth purchase.

Purchasing “in a click” is fast and easy, saving you valuable time. But at final delivery, it also needs to be accurate and error-free. Making a sizing mistake can lead to excruciating outcomes of returned items or less than perfect space flow.

To allow for optimal functionality and productive, happy employees, you want to ensure you make your plan with accurate and complete measurements. Then you can purchase furniture that fits well and serves you for many years.

We spoke with Heather Stephens, Lead Interior Designer of atWork Office Furniture London showroom, to give some expertise and advice along with practical guidelines to help plan office spaces well.

Heather advises on how to start…

“Look at the floor. Often walls & window sills jog in and out, but your furniture sits on the floor, so use this as your guide.”

Ensure you are ready to confidently place your office furniture order using Heather’s measurement checklist…

How to Measure a Room For Office Furniture:

  • Use a large measuring tape
  • Use Imperial measurement – inches and feet. Furniture and construction typically has not switched to Metric
  • Start by outlining the perimeter of the office space shape on a piece of paper
  • Then begin in one corner of the room and measure every wall length
    • Important Tip – Be aware of thick baseboards. Your measurement wall to wall could be 60″ which fits a desk nicely, but if there is a 1/2 baseboard on either side, you only have 59″ to fit the desk. Desks don’t compress.
  • Take the overall space dimensions and “string dimensions” – that is, continuous sectioned measurements (see diagram)
  • Measure the window and door frames – you generally don’t want furniture overlapping trim because it looks unplanned and crowded
  • Consider the window sill height to ensure the furniture fits below it. Never block a nice view!
  • Take the ceiling height and bulkhead measurements
    • Important especially if any of your furniture is going stand close to a ceiling or angled ceiling
  • Note the door location and direction of the door swing
  • Note your electrical and data locations. Plan to avoid or minimize visible cords and cables.
  • Take pictures to visually demonstrate the above.

Note and measure any obstructions, such as:

  • columns
  • baseboards
  • heaters/radiators
  • pipes
  • thermostats & switches
  • bulkheads
  • surface mounted electrical


Lastly, think about delivery and set up…

Have a look at widths of doors, hallways and staircases en route to the office or room to receive the furniture – will what you are ordering make it through tighter openings to the room?

Measuring accurately and thoroughly will make it far easier for installers to know what is going where with the assurance it will fit because it has been properly planned.


Once you know your spacial specifics, you can go after optimal functionality within your budget.

Remember, what truly matters is the increased productivity your office furniture can help you and your team achieve. “Form follows function” Heather warns! If the form (design or size) doesn’t work with your space, nothing works well – including you.

In the end, if you need assistance to space plan your office furniture, you can certainly connect with our atWork team. You can even upload your room plan and details of your needs on our office planning and quote request page.

Heather Stephens has designed spaces for customers in design at Lovers atWork for over 15 years. She is a graduate of the Interior Design Program at Fanshawe College and now is a Lead Interior Designer for atWork. Her passion for making offices look great and function well is evident in her success.

She is recently married to a colleague from atWork and has an Australian Shepherd dog named Maple. When she isn’t designing office furniture spaces, she uses her creative energy in a myriad of craft hobbies.

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