Measurements You Need to Know

As I was planning out a new design this week, I had to remind myself of some basic measurements used in design to ensure we are cross every “t” and dotting every “i”. (There is so much that goes into a design!)

I wanted to create a little glossary with some of these measurements for you that you can share with others or bookmark for yourself for future reference.

Let’s jump right in!


Measurements You Need to Know




Elegant hallway with wooden doors and vintage rugs.
Photo Source: Haller Architecture and Design


Let’s first start with pathways around your house. This could be entry pathways, pathways between different rooms in an open concept…really anywhere you need some space to move.

The general rule is pathways should be at least 36″ wide and I would even stretch it to say larger in some spaces. This rule comes from ADA regulations as well as the space needed for two people to pass one another in the pathway.

Now if we are talking about pathways in kitchens…the same rule applies, minimum of 36″ but we are actually saying 48″ is best. If you have ever been in a kitchen when the oven door is down or the dishwasher door is down, it is tricky to manuever around that object. Plus…if multiple people are working in a kitchen…touching tooshes is not ideal.


Living Room



Cozy living room interior with two resting dogs.
Photo Source: Amber Lewis


Cocktail Table Distance

The distance between the sofa and a cocktail/coffee table should be 18″. If you have greater than 18″…the guest then needs to do a lunge or squat-scoot to put their glass down on the table. It gets awkward for everyone so it is best to just have the 18″.

Fire Place Mantle

This kind of depends on whether or not you have a vaulted ceiling in your space. If vaulted, you will want to make the mantle to scale of the room. If it is an 8-10 foot ceiling, the general rule is around 54″ for the mantle height.


For area rugs…you always want to go as large as you can. We often say at least having all front legs of the furniture on the rug. Even better, if the whole piece of furniture can sit on the rug. Now, you do want to keep in mind, you want to have at least 24″ of space between the wall and rug.

Dining Room Rug 

  • 6 Person Table- 8 x 10 rug
  • 8 Person Table- 9 x 12 rug

TV Viewing Height

This is why we don’t always love the tv above a mantle as it goes against the ideal height for viewing a tv.

The tv should be placed between 40-50″ above the floor (the center of the tv is at 40-50″).

Another rule we follow is, the ideal viewing distance is 2 times the diagonal size of the tv screen. For example, if you have a 55 inch tv, the optimal viewing distance is 8-9 feet.

Height of Art

This does not pertain to art hanging above a console or sofa for example, but in general, art should hang around 57-60″ above the floor.

If the art piece is hanging above a console table or a chair, you want the art piece to feel like it is part of the vignette, therefore, I usually hang the art piece within 2-4″ of the object.


Kitchen Dimensions


Elegant kitchen interior with flowers and pendant lights.


There are a few kitchen dimensions to remember…

Countertop Height

The average countertop height is 36″ (cabinet plus countertop material). If you or your husband are tall, you may opt for a little higher of a countertop but for most people, 36″ is best.

Cabinet Depths

For lower cabinets, the typical counter depth is 24″.

Designer Note: If you would like the fridge to not stick out from the countertop, you will want to purchase a counter depth fridge.

Upper Cabinets are normally 12″ deep, however, if doing custom, I would consider going with 14″ deep due to the size of dinner plates these days. It would be a real bummer if you had the most beautiful plates and they didn’t fit.

Distant from Countertop to Upper Cabinets

The distance from countertop to upper cabinets is usually around 18″. If you have a beautiful backsplash or if you are taller, you could push 20″.

The Hood

The height of the hood should sit at least 36″ above the range. If you are tall, you may want to opt for 42″ so you are not looking straight into the hood when cooking.

The width of the hood should be a few inches wider on each side compared to the range width. So usually, 6″ wider than the range for best ventilation.


I covered a lot of lighting in this blog post HERE…but one I did not cover is the height of a sconce.

If you have a sconce in a hallway for example, usually around 64″ is ideal. A sconce on a bathroom vanity depends on the height of mirror and height of individual using the mirror.


A big one for closets is the depth of the shelving and hanging rods. Most contractors will try and make shelves and rods 12″ deep, however, you need a good 18-24″ for the hangers. So keep this in mind for in the closet.

Alright friends…there you have it. Some general guidelines in the measurement world.


If you have other measurements you are curious about…please send them my way!

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