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How to Measure for Carpet in 4 Simple Steps

©Alan Fletcher - 30- Year Carpet Expert & Trusted Consumer Advocate


To protect yourself from being overcharged for materials or labor, lets find out approximately how much carpet you need to buy. But remember, having a carpet professional measure your home for you is always the best way to go! 


Notice that I said "Carpet Professional", I did not say "Carpet Salesperson". You can also have a carpet installer measure your home for a nominal fee.


Learn how to measure your home for carpet in four simple steps. Avoid being overcharged for carpet, pad and installation. Free Carpet Yardage Chart. This will give you a basic estimate so you can know how much carpet you will need to buy before you begin shopping for carpet. 


After you do all four steps and measure your home for carpet, you can take your diagrams to the carpet retailer or other carpet seller and they can determine how much carpet you need from your diagram. This will help you confirm how much carpet you need and prevent you from being overcharged. More about Carpet Measuring Scams




Step One


Draw a simple diagram of your home. I did this drawing on my computer using a simple " paint" program, you have a paint program on your computer too, look in "accessories" in your program files. The drawing doesn't have to be perfect but the measurements need to be accurate.  Just a simple drawing with all the rooms shown is all you need. If you have a two story home, then do two drawings, one for upper , one for lower. Your drawing should look something like this:





Step Two


Now you need to measure each room and write down the measurements on your diagram. We will round up each measurement to the nearest 1/2 foot mark. if your room is 15 feet 3 inches long, round it up to 15 feet 6 inches or 15.5. (We will use the decimal .5 instead of 6"inches) This little bit of extra carpet will help make sure you have enough. There is only one thing worse than not having enough carpet to finish the job, and that is being charged for more material than you actually need. 


If your room is 15 feet 8 inches long round it up to 16 feet or 16.0 

Always mark the length first, then the width to make thing uniform.  (example 15 x 10.5) 

How do I know which is length and which is width? It doesn't matter, just choose a direction and measure each room the same way.



Here is how it should look after you measure. 




Notice that I have colored vinyl flooring areas yellow. The white areas have carpet. 




Step Three


Make a list of your measurements and multiply the length by the width of each room. Then add them up for a total square footage. It should look like this:



Living room  27.5 x 15.0 = 412.5

Hall               16.0 x   4.5 =   72.0

Bedroom 1    16.0 x   9.5 = 152.0

Bedroom 2    16.0 x   9.5 = 152.0

                                             788.5 square feet





Step Four


Add 5% to the total. This makes allowances for seams and other extra carpet needed to complete the job. 



+39    = 5%

827 square feet


To get the total yardage, divide the square footage by 9.


827 divided by 9 = 91.55 square yards.


That's it! If your home is larger or has a difficult floor plan it will be more difficult to measure. If you have stairs you can access my stair yardage chart in my ebook  Visit my Room Yardage Chart - a helpful tool for helping you calculate how much carpet you need to buy.



Measuring Carpet for Stairs:


Measuring for stairs can be very tricky. Some stairs are wrapped over one or both sides, some have to be upholstered which may require additional material, some are pie shaped and are very difficult to measure, some have landings that must be considered. I have included a stair yardage chart in my eBook to help you measure a simple flight of stairs. 



How To Measure For Carpet | Seaming Diagram




Important to Remember:


Carpet usually comes 12 feet wide. Other widths that may be available are 13.5 and 15 feet. These are much less common and may or may not be a good choice for you depending on your room sizes. Only a professional can determine the best course of action that will be most cost effective for you.


  • There will be some material waste if your room is less than 12 ft wide. 

  • You must have seams if your room is wider than 12 feet. 

  • All carpet in connecting rooms must run in the same direction.

  • Order my downloadable ebook to save the most money on your carpet purchase. 


To calculate your total square footage for a room, just multiply your room width and length together. Use a decimal when needed. 


For example: 10 feet 6 inches would be figured as 10.5 feet (12" in one foot)


3 inches = .25

6 inches = .5

9 inches = .75


Example 1: 


Here is what a 10 x 10 room would add up to 13.33 yards: (Remember, carpet comes 12 feet wide)

That is 12' width x 10' length = 120 square feet divided by 9 = 13.33 yards. 

In this case, there would be 2 feet x 10 feet of carpet waste because the room is less than 12 feet wide.



Example 2


A simple 15 x 20 room would add up to 33.33 yards. 

That is 15 x 20 = 300 divided by 9 = 33.33 yards. 

In this case, there would need to be a  3' ft. x 20' ft.  seam along one wall in this size of a room because the carpet width is only 12 feet wide, but this extra material is already figured into the total yardage of 33.33 yards.



Visit my Room Yardage Chart - a helpful tool for helping you calculate how much carpet you need.


See my Detailed Room Diagram that shows how to measure, create and place seams in a 15 x 20" room using 12 foot material.


It is wise to get a professional to measure your home accurately before ordering carpet. 





How To Measure For Carpet | Seaming Diagram



Yardage Chart for Measuring Carpet






Alan's Preferred Carpet Dealers


It's hard to find an honest and reputable carpet dealer! That's why I have created a special list of hand-picked carpet retailers who I believe are reputable, locally owned, give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and hire qualified installers. Don't take chances...  See who I recommend near you!





















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