The one essential tool every apartment buyer needs

5 years ago
3 minutes

When furnishing your apartment, there is one essential tool that will help you to get a professional result no matter what your style – a tape measure. 

Don’t do a thing without measuring. Nothing looks as wrong as a couch that juts out into a doorway or a table pushed up against a wall. If the arrangement of your key furniture pieces is not right, your rooms will always have a sort of temporary, makeshift feel.

When furnishing, nothing exists in isolation and proportion is vital. If the furniture is too big, your rooms will feel cramped. If your furniture is too small, or too sparse, it can seem to float in space and the rooms will feel disjointed and lack cohesion.


As soon as you have access to your new apartment, take measurements. There will be a space for the fridge and, when measuring this, remember that fridges need space all around to work efficiently. A minimum of 5 centimetres on either side and behind is recommended. Check where the cord plugs in and, if the appliance has a traditional plug, then the plug and the powerpoint casing will protrude about 8 centimetres from the wall. 

There will also be a space for the washing machine, so do the same there. Not every appliance is of equal dimensions so assume nothing.

The living room

If the living room feels wrong, the whole apartment will feel wonky. The sofa needs to be at least 2 metres from the television and you should leave a gap so that it won’t be pressed up against the balcony glass. 

Allow about 45 centimetres between the sofa edge and the coffee table. This gives people leg room but allows them to set down drinks or reach snacks easily. Coffee table heights vary, but the interior designers say the table height and sofa height should be within 10 centimetres of each other.

Dining area

In the dining area, about one metre between the table edge and the wall, or other furniture, is necessary to comfortably get in and out of chairs. Allow an extra 50 centimetres if people need to walk behind the chairs when diners are seated. The space between chairs should be at least 50 centimetres so that people don’t bump elbows and can slide their chairs in and out easily.


You need at least 50 centimetres either side of the bed for a bedside table and to be able to comfortably make the bed. How big the bedside tables need to be depends on what you want to place in them, or on them. Is this where you keep devices, a bottle of water, a lamp, a pile of books or magazines? Bedside tables that are too large can add a lot of bulk to the room. A gorgeous minimalist idea is to have small and light bedside tables and reading lamps suspended over them on cords from the ceiling. 

Your trusty tape measure will save you from arguments, tears and aching backs. Don’t leave home without it.