Measuring Accurately to Plan Your New Kitchen

The planning phase of your kitchen remodel is the time to consider your wishes, wants, and needs and get them written or drawn out. If you want your kitchen remodel to be a success, then be meticulous in your measurements. Being off by even as little as an inch can cause real problems and frustration. Inaccurate measurements are the best way to make sure stuff doesn’t fit! You start the planning process by figuring out how big your kitchen is.

Using graph paper with corresponding squares equaling one foot of real space will aid in making the sketch accurate and to scale.

Here’s what to measure:

  • Walls: Start by facing the wall that has the sink on it and label the wall as follows: Wall #1 is the wall to your left, wall #2 is the wall with the sink, wall #3 is the wall to your right and wall #4 is the wall that’s behind you. If your kitchen only has three walls (some will, you know), adjust the wall labeling to fit your kitchen layout.

    Begin by measuring along the floor to get the exact length of each wall. Next measure the same direction about halfway up the wall. Then, measure the same direction a third time at the ceiling. Walls are rarely square and can often be off by as much as an inch or two. You need to know the exact size of each wall, so measure each one at these three points. Order your cabinets using the widest of the three measurements. If you don’t, you’ll have a gap between the wall and the end cabinet

    If your kitchen has a soffit (space between the top of the old cabinets and the ceiling), measure distance from the floor to the bottom of the soffit. Also measure the soffit’s depth and height.

  • Doorways: Measure both the location of the doorway on the wall and the size of the doorway, including the trim. Starting in the left-hand corner for each measurement ensures accuracy; it’s too easy to make a mistake on the location of the door in the wall.

    Start in the left-hand corner of any wall that has a doorway in it. Start at a spot halfway up the wall in the left-hand corner and measure from there to the edge of the door trim. Next, measure the width of the door including the trim on both sides. If the wall happens to have more than one door, measure each door location separately starting at the left-hand corner. Don’t measure from the edge of one door’s trim to the edge of the next door. Don’t forget to measure the height of the door (including trim), too. Note the location and dimensions on your paper.

  • Windows: Start in the left-hand corner of the wall with a window and measure the distance from the wall corner to the edge of the window trim. Measure the window’s width and height including all sides of trim. Finally, measure the distance from the floor to lower edge of the bottom piece of trim. Use these measurements to draw the correct size window and transfer these measurements onto your paper.

  • Pipes, vents, outlets, and switches: Accurately note the location of all receptacles, electrical switches, drainpipes, and venting ductwork. Once again, start in the left-hand corner of the wall with each specific item in it. This time, however, measure to the center of the items including the outlets, drainpipes, or ductwork. Again, transfer these dimensions and positions onto your drawing.

Now that you have all of the dimensions you need, you can actually draw your new kitchen layout. Start by playing around with different locations for the appliances, but always keep in mind where the power sources are located, unless you’re planning on moving them to accommodate an appliance’s new spot. Don’t be afraid to change the location of a specific size cabinet within a specific run, either.

If all of this sounds a bit much, take your dimensions and sketch (if you have one) to your designer or local home center and ask for some design assistance. Most places are glad to help because if they come up with a great design, chances are good that you’ll order the cabinets through their store.

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