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How to Measure a Sofa for a Slipcover

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Have you recently decided to commit to buying a slipcover? The first step to getting a custom slipcover is to measure your piece of furniture. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps of measuring. By the end, you’ll have a list of measurements that you can take and get a slipcover with.

How to measure a sofa for a slipcover

Before we begin, it’s very important that you have the right tools. You’re going to need a measuring tape. However, make sure it is one that can bend. You’re going to have to measure around corners. A metal tape measure will not work for this purpose. Instead, you’re going to have to get a more flimsy measure.

There are 5 steps to measuring a sofa. We will measure the length, the seat cushions, the width, the cushion height, and the full height. These measurements will be everything you need when buying a custom slipcover.

Step One – Measure the length

Grab your tape measure. You’re going to be measuring the longest length of your slipcover. Remember to write down your results on a piece of paper, or have it somewhere you’ll remember it.

Measure accurately with both inches and centimeters. A tight-fitting slipcover will look elegant, while one that is too big will look crumpled.

You’re going to be measuring from the outside of one arm to the outside of the other arm. Start at the front corner of one of your arms. You must place the tape measure on the outside of the arm. Then, move across the seating part of the sofa in a straight line to the other side.

Once you reach the other, make sure you place the measure on the outside of the second arm again. Record the distance between the two. This will be the length of your sofa.

Be sure to have a straight line between the two arms. If the tape measure dips at all, there will be a slight deviation in your measurements.

Step Two – Measure the seat cushions

Once you know the total length of your sofa, you can then move on to measuring the seat cushions.

Get your tape measure and place it at the point where the arms end and the sofa begins. This is where the cushions normally rest.

Move your tape measure along the seating area of your sofa until you reach the other side. Again, make sure you reach the arms as this will provide the actual seat cushion length.

Write down the measurement. Again, it’s better to be as exact as possible. If you have a weaker fabric, using the wrong measurements could be disastrous.

Step Three – Measure the Width of your Sofa

This is where your bendy tape measure comes in handy. For this step, you’ll have to measure around the back of the sofa.

Begin at the front of the sofa, where the arms end. Place the tape measure at the front tip of the arm, just on the outside. Then, move towards the back of the sofa. Once you reach the back, you’re going to move around the corner and all the way to the other side.

Once you’ve reached the other back corner, move back around the sofa. You will then want to go until you reach the outside tip of the other arm. This will have now encompassed the whole of the sofa area.

Take note of your measurement, ensuring you have gone from the outermost tip of each arm. This will give you the width of your sofa.

Step Four – Measure the cushion height

This will require that you measure from the sofa seating base to the top of the cushions. Keep the cushions in place when you are doing this. This will detail the height of the cushions. Make sure to note down the results.

Step Five – Measure the total height

Finally, you will measure the complete height of the sofa. Start at the floor, where the sofa begins. You will then measure all the way up the back edge of the sofa. You finish where the sofa cushions reach up to. This will give you the total height of your sofa.

With these steps completed, you should have everything needed to produce a slipcover.

How to measure a sectional sofa for a slipcover

Sectional sofas are slightly harder to measure as there are more moving parts. Considering every sectional sofa is differently built, this will change for everyone. However, you’re going to need the following measurements:

  • Overall Width
  • Overall Length (longest side)
  • Overall Length (smaller side)
  • Width of arm unit 1
  • Width of arm unit 2
  • Internal width
  • Height

Let’s go through the steps.

Step One – Total Width

First of all, place your tape measure on the outermost point of your longest side. Move it to the back of your sofa. Then go all the way around the back. Once you reach the other side, place the tape measure on the outermost tip of the opposite arm. This will give you the total width of the sofa.

Step Two – Lengths

These will be two measurements. You will need to measure from the back of the sofa to the tip of the arm. Do this on both your longer and shorter side. Both of these measurements will be important. Make sure to label them (one longer, one shorter).

Step Three – Internal widths

This will require that you measure across the front of each arm unit. Measure from the inner corner of the end of your arm, to the outer corner. This will give the width of each arm unit. Make sure to write these next to the lengths you have already recorded. Don’t mix up these numbers.

Once you have done that on the two arms, you can measure the inner width area. This would require you to measure from where the arm meets the base to the other inner arm corner.

However, if you know the total width of your couch and both of the arms, you can just use maths. Your inner width = overall width – arm one width – arm two width. The leftover number will be your inner width.

Step Four – Height

Place your tape measure at the back corner of your sofa. This will be at the bottom of the sofa. Then, measure to the top of the pillows. This will give you the total height of the sofa. Make sure to do this to the top of the cushions.

These will give you all the needed base measurements for your sectional recliner.

How do you measure a recliner for a slipcover?

There are five steps to measuring a recliner for a slipcover.

Step One – Reset the recliner

You need to make sure the recliner is in an upright position before you begin. It is essential that you take measurements with a perfectly straight recliner. If reclined, even by a small amount, your measurements will be incorrect. Your recliner should look upright and tall.

Step Two – Measure the height

Place your tape measure at the top corner of the recliner. You can then move your tape measure down towards the floor. Rest the tape measure against the bottom edge of the recliner. This will give you the total height of your recliner.

Step Three – Measure the width

This is where you will need a bendy tape measure. Begin at the outside corner of one of the recliner sides. You will then need to move towards the back of the recliner. Bring the tape measure around the back, stretching all the way to the other side.

The final point the tape measure should reach is the outermost point of the other arm of the recliner. This will give you the total width of your recliner.

Step Four – Measure while reclined

Now recline your recliner into the most extended position. It will look as long as possible. Start at the very top of the recliner, where your head normally goes. Now use the tape measure to move down the back of the recliner. Move across the seating area, and finally, come to the end of the footrest.

Make sure the tape measure is closely attached to the recliner. Once you have the whole length of the top to the footrest, record the measurement.

How do you measure a futon for slipcovers?

A futon mattress is one of the easiest things to measure. As it is a rectangle, there are only a few measurements you’ll need to take down.

First of all, measure the thickness of the mattress. This will require you to measure from top to bottom (to the ground).

Secondly, you will measure the full length of the futon. Start at the very top, and measure to the base. This will be the longest length you have.

Finally, measure the width of the futon. This will be from one side to the other. Measure this and record the measurements.

Futons also come in specific sizes, so you can check the label for exact dimensions.


Measuring furniture is easy once you know how. Grab your tape measure and work through the steps I’ve written out for you. Make sure to record everything in inches and centimeters. Precision is key!

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