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How to measure wardrobes

Updated February 21, 2017

A wardrobe is both a built-in closet and a stand-alone piece of furniture designed to store clothing. They often have multiple hanging racks and sometimes contain drawers for additional storage. When installing a new built-in wardrobe or moving an old one, taking accurate measurements is one of the first steps. Built-in wardrobes have tight constructions and a centimetre (1/2 inch) measuring error creates installation hassles. Measuring stand-alone wardrobes ensures they will fit into the new location.

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Measuring a built-in wardrobe

  1. Remove all clothing and other items from the wardrobe, if applicable, to provide adequate space to perform the measuring. Clothing left in place is often hard to work around and may create bulges in the tape measure resulting in inaccurate numbers.

  2. Place the tape measure at the left side of the rear wall approximately 30 cm to 60 cm (one to two feet) from the floor. Stretch the tape measure straight across to the right side of the rear wall. Examine the tape measure to ensure it is level all the way across, using a level if needed. Write down the measurement.

  3. Move the tape measure up to 60 cm to 90 cm (two to three feet) below the ceiling on the rear wall and repeat the measuring process exactly as you did the first time. In some cases the walls may be uneven causing the second measurement to be inaccurate. In theses cases, use the shortest measurement when installing or ordering a new wardrobe.

  4. Place the end of the tape measure on the floor near the left side of the wardrobe and stretch it up to the ceiling. Write down the measurement.

  5. Repeat the measurement to determine the height on the right side of the wardrobe. If the ceiling is uneven and the measurements are different, use the smallest number when ordering or installing a new wardrobe.

Measuring a strand-alone wardrobe

  1. Place the end of a tape measure at the uppermost portion of the wardrobe and stretch it down to the very bottom of one of the legs. Read the number on the tape measure, which is the height measurement.

  2. Move the end of the tape measure to the left side of the wardrobe and stretch it across to the edge of the right side of the wardrobe. Read the measurement on the tape measure to determine the width of the wardrobe.

  3. Move to the side of the wardrobe and place the tape measure at the left edge of the wardrobe near the back. Stretch the tape measure to the front edge of the wardrobe and note the measurement, which is the depth.

  4. Walk back to the front and measure the diagonal height of the wardrobe by placing the end of the tape measure at one of the top corners and stretching it down to the opposite bottom corner. This measurement is important if you are moving the wardrobe through doors.

  5. Measure the diagonal depth of the wardrobe by moving to the side of it and placing the tape measure at a top corner and stretching it to the opposite bottom corner. This measurement is also helpful when moving the wardrobe.

  6. Tip

    If the built-in wardrobe is large, take measurements in three different areas for both the height and the width to ensure the walls are even throughout. To determine only the usable space for a stand-alone wardrobe, open the doors and measure the open space, not the wood rails, moulding or other decorative pieces.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Level (optional)

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.

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