How to measure sectionals

Updated February 21, 2017

Sectional sofas consist of two or more separate upholstered pieces that connect together to form one sofa. Measuring the overall dimensions of a sectional sofa completely and accurately will help you determine if the sectional sofa will fit in your space. The arm height of the sectional sofa will help you choose appropriately scaled end tables, and the back height will allow you to determine if it can be placed under windows.

Draw an outline of the approximate shape of the sectional you are going to measure. For example, if the sofa is L-shaped, draw the outline of a large L on your paper. Allow enough room on your outline to write each dimension next to the corresponding line.

Measure the footprint of the sofa, the area the sectional covers on the floor. Start with the outside length for the longest piece and write it next to the line corresponding to this edge on your paper. Work your way around the sofa. When you are finished, you should have dimensions written next to each line on your diagram.

Measure the height of the different pieces of the sectional from the floor. Include the frame height at the back and front of the sectional, the arm height if the sofa has arms, the seat cushion height and the back cushion height. Write these dimensions down on the same paper as your diagram. The frame height and cushion height may be the same at the back of the sectional, but the cushions may extend above the frame of the sofa, and it is important to note this measurement if windows or artwork will sit behind the sectional.

Measure the seating area the sofa offers and write this down. Seating area is the space available to sit on when all the cushions are placed on the sofa. These measurements are also referred to as the inside dimensions of the sofa. Measure the depth from the front of the back cushion to the front of the seat cushion, the height of the back cushions from the seat to the top of the cushion, and the length of seating area from right to left.


The terms "right arm facing" and "left farm acing" are used to describe the chaises and sofas that make up sectional sofas. "Right arm facing" means that if you are facing the front of the sofa or chaise, the arm of that piece will be on your right hand side. Likewise, "left arm facing" means that when you are facing the front of the piece, the arm will be on your left side.


Sectional sofa pieces are often longer and deeper than regular sofas. Just because the sectional sofa measurements work with the size of your room doesn't mean the sectional sofa will fit through your doorway or be able to turn down your hallway. Always verify you have a large enough entry and passageway into the room before purchasing a sectional sofa.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Tape measure
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About the Author

Amy Swanton Mills is a writer and designer residing in Los Angeles. She has spent the past 10 years working in various aspects of the architecture, furniture and interior design industry. Her articles on furniture, design and green lifestyle issues regularly appear on and She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History from UCLA.