Measure for metres: goodbye inch

Before you buy bed linen or dream about a designer kitchen, measure well, says Kya de Longchamps

Whether you’re trying to shoe-horn in some fitted wardrobes or wondering if you can fit a dining table into that cramped corner, knowing the dimension for success will help you avoid common mistakes. Except for bed sizing, I’m forcing you to deal with centimetres this week. Let’s face it, we’ve had 40 patient years to switch over and officially dropped feet and inches in 2005. Here’s a little something to stick in your wallet or handbag, covering all those essential sizes, nips and tucks.


We still cling pouting to the Imperial system for bed sizing and accompanying linens, and here in Ireland we follow UK sizes. You may order a set of sheets online from the States, only to be defeated by their extra sprawl. A King size bed is 60X78” in UK/Ireland and a rangy 76X80” in Texas. If you shop at IKEA, their bed sizes are European, adding another inch to the standard UK length bringing it up to 79” (200cm).

* Single: W36”(90cm) X L75”(190cm) (You may find a smaller W30”(75cm) X L72”(180cm) bed but ensure you have the frame or divan to match.)

* Single: Standard double: W54” (137cm) X L75” (191cm)

* King: W60”(150cm) X L78”(200cm)

* Super King: W72” (183cm) X L78”(198cm)

* Eastern King (special order) W78”(198cm) X L78” (198cm)

You will require at least 75cm around the bed and at its foot to alight and to place a bedside table. The total footprint of the bed may be far bigger than the mattress size, so key this into your design — 90cm is enough to open a storage door or drawer opposite the bed end.


For wardrobes or walk-ins:

* Long hanging 1.3-1.5m.

* Short hanging for jackets, shirts and slacks 1m (stack 1m over 1m in a 2m high arrangement).

* Minimum depth of an adult hanging space — 60cm. Leave 1.5m of clear space between the storage and bed to get dressed. 3m2 is a reasonable minimum for a walk-in closet.


The cheaper and more ‘off-the-peg’ the kitchen you are considering, the less size choices there will be. In general, you can expect

* A standard counter depth over a floor cabinet to be 60cm but in a pinched galley you may need compact 50cm surfaces.

* Floor units are generally 72cm high. With legs attached and a counter installed 90cm. Go higher for taller adults.

* Drawer units are usually offered in a variety of widths. Larder units are usually 30 cm wide and appliance units 60 cm wide.

* In the layout of a double galley, or U-shaped kitchen, you will need 120cm of standing between runs of cabinet to work effectively, 140cm if two of you are working in the space.

* 120cm makes a reasonable width for a small work surface minimum (two 60cm cabinets wide)

* Cabinet widths for floor standing units range 30-60cm, some suppliers offer 40cm examples, some 50cm and many both in increments of 10 or 15cm.

* Wall-mounted cabinets are 72-90cm in height and 30cm in depth to allow the worktop below intrusive headroom.

* Work distance between counter and bottom edge of hanging cabinets: 40-50cm.

* Leave a 60cm clearance for doors on floor cabinets, 50cm for the oven door and 60cm for a dishwasher folded down.

* Spaces over 2m are out of reach from the floor.

* Keep at least 60cm between electrical outlets and your sink position.

* Worktop: 2-5cm in depth. 5cm super deep counters are a relatively recent arrival. Lengths are generally 2.5m, 3m and 5m and are cut to fit.

* Kitchen sinks. 15-18cm deep (including the bowl sunk in a cabinet or surrounded by a cut out). Width 76-95cm. A half bowl will add additional width. Depth 44-50cm over-mounted.


The dining table must be at least 90cm across to accommodate people on either side without their plates skimming: 120cm is a better prospect. Give each person at the table 60cm of room to work their food efficiently. Leave 90cm behind to draw back a chair comfortably, 120cm if there is traffic passing behind. Allow 20cm between the knees and the underside of the table for comfort. In chairs, 50cm across and 40cm deep will support a voluptuous backside in comfort: 30-40cm is good for a seat back.


There are all sorts of bespoke suites that will re-tailor these standard sizes, but in a relatively small room, the sizing of your fixtures and fittings really must be right. Try 3D computer aided design tools too.

Standard bathroom suite sizing (UK and Ireland)

* Rectangular bath: W70-75cm X L170-180cm. The profile of the bath panel will nudge a couple of centimetres onto the depth.

* Corner bath: W110-150cm X D11O-150cm. The curve will swell out into the space, something best realised in a CAD plan or on paper.

* Sink: Pedestal or wall mounted. W50-60cm X D40cm.

* Toilet: W36cm X L68cm (from wall to edge of bowl). Bidet: W55cm X L36cm.

* Shower: Starting from L70-100cm X W70-120cm.

* Shelving: Shallow- 8-12cm deep. Deep shelving up to 40cm.


If you’re working, chances are you want to stay seated to reach most essentials. Comfort and easy reach is key.

* A standard table height for most adults is 70cm.

* If you’re putting a shelf over the desk, don’t exceed 50cm from the table-top.

* Leave yourself 90cm of room to stand in front of a shelf and draw things towards you, and a metre in front of a filing cabinet to allow for the drawer.


Have your window sizes with you when shopping for curtains and blinds. That includes the inside (reveal) measurements of the window in height, width and depth, the distance from the floor to the sill, and the room for a header (top of the reveal to the ceiling)

* Standard internal door: from H1981mm X W762mm. Thickness: 35-40mm with fire doors 45mm. Door widths can be as great a 2040mm, so ensure you know the size of your current door if changing them out.

* Standard external doors come in three basic sizes: H1981 X W762mm, H1981 X W838mm, and H2032 X W813mm. Again measure up what you have as there are other metric sizings.


Carpet comes in a variety of roll widths, so let the supplier look at your measurements to ensure you buy the correct amount. Include all recesses in doorways, bays, etc.


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