Size Does Matter

Ruler BLOG

A conversation between my husband and I goes something like this: it’s not going to fit, yes it will, no it won’t it’s too big, don’t worry it’s perfect it’ll fit, I’m not going back if it doesn’t fit, I promise it will fit, I think you’re wrong on this one, you can stop talking now. And of course I’m always right because I have an extremely heightened sense of space and I innately know when something will fit. In fact, my aunt used to tell my mother that I was spatially gifted because as a baby I could do the shape sorter in record time. This was the same aunt who gave me a subscription to National Geographic every Christmas (which I hated) not knowing that one day I’d be a total galactic junkie. Obviously a very brilliant woman.

For the rest of you, I beg you to buy at least one serious tape measure and put it somewhere where you can get at it easily. A tape measure is hands down one of the most important tools any homeowner can have and let’s face it, while no one hates having to do math more than me, uh, size DOES matter. The difference between something fitting or a huge-ass marital brawl can come down to a hair.

I share this cautionary tale because I’ve seen this movie too many times. Eager couples running wild in a furniture store with nary a clue on how big their living room is or what size sofa is right for their space. And let’s not even TALK about the importance of measuring the door! Oh the sad stories of having to call the guys who take the sofa apart because it didn’t fit in the door, in the elevator, up the stairwell, around the corner. I’ve also witnessed real heartache and remorse around chandeliers. There’s too big, too small and just right – and there is simply NO way to tell without measuring. Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to buy furniture or décor items without measuring once, twice, three times. It’s suicide. It’s death by increments and you will be sorry.

Here’s the thing. Even with my exceptional talent for gauging size and space, I still carry a tape measure in my purse everywhere I go and have for years. In my work bag I have a laser measurer for measuring rooms, a carpenter’s expandable ruler for when I need to measure height or for showing the position and size of a chandelier, a cloth tape for things like lampshades and pillows and a standard metal retractable for everything else. Without them, I am dead.

So let me attempt to send you out into the world armed and ready for battle. Look at your room, take photographs, draw a picture, measure the walls, the windows, the doorways, the tabletops, etc. and then measure them again. Use graph paper and cut out the furniture (what feels like the right size?) or use painter’s tape and do an outline on the floor. Do anything that helps you to zero in on what works and what doesn’t before you buy and you’ll be doing a happy dance because your shit looks amazing instead of a weep-a-thon at customer service. Take it from me, the girl with no left brain who has to ask her son for help converting fractions to decimals, the tape measure is your BFF. And she won’t leave you for a cute guy. Class dismissed.

  • Rhonda
    Posted at 22:02h, 05 May

    Totally spot on in every way, Linda. I live with a carpenter/designer who I have learned to never question when it comes to estimating the size of things. (Some exceptions apply – he is a guy and a fisherman, after all.) That said, even he keeps a tape measure and lives by the adage, “measure twice, cut once” – or in this case “acquire once”. Getting ready to do some paper doll house planning here soon. Do you make business house-calls to Alaska? Maybe a Skype consult?

  • Linda Feaster
    Posted at 09:11h, 06 May

    I’m in. If you’re able to provide solid measurements I can probably do a quickie 3D model for you too!! And bless my fellow obsessive measurer, he obviously shares my gift/affliction.

  • Jan Scaglia
    Posted at 19:09h, 10 May

    Touché Linda. The tape measure is truly a good friend but when all else fails, in a small space only, I have “stepped” it out then measured my shoes once home to figure out dimensions. It works….most of the time. Love the fact you have the right measuring tool for each purpose. Next time I see you Im looking in your purse. I just moved my office yet again and eyeballed a nook for a desk and by golly it fit perfectly. Lucky me!

  • Linda Feaster
    Posted at 07:58h, 11 May

    Love the foot trick, though you’re right that it only works in a small space. And you can definitely check my purse – I have a cloth AND a metal retractable – and they’ve saved me on more than one occasion!!

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