How to Measure for Carpet in 4 Simple Steps

Carpet Professor Tape MeasureHow to Measure for Carpet in 4 Simple Steps

©2021 by Alan Fletcher – Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate

Some carpet salespeople are not well trained at the art of Carpet Measuring and may say you require more carpet material than you actually need. Whether the bad measuring is intentional or just a miscalculation, it could cost you hundreds or thousands more than necessary.

Get several bids to compare and verify or learn how to double-check the measurements yourself! To help prevent over-measuring, let me show you how to measure your home for carpet YOURSELF in just four simple steps.

Doing this can help you avoid being overcharged for the carpet, and can also save you money on the padding and installation costs too.

After you follow all four steps below and measure your home for carpet, you can take your diagrams to a carpet retailer and they can help you verify how much carpet you need based on your diagram and the carpet you select.

(If you select a carpet with a pattern match you will need to add more material to do the job and I suggest you get some expert help to determine how much extra material you require)

Free Carpet Measurement
and Room Layout Calculator

Here is a powerful calculator to help you estimate how much carpet or flooring you need and get printable layouts of your rooms.

Simply select your room shape and insert your room measurements to generate printable diagrams. You can also create a diagram for your stairs too! Here is a Video Tutorial to help you.  Start the Carpet Measuring Calculator or you can go with the old-school method of measuring for carpet…

Step One – Make a Drawing

Grab a tape measure and a pen and paper. Draw a simple diagram of your home, or use a computer program.

I did this drawing on my computer using a simple “paint” program, you likely have a paint program on your computer too, look in “accessories” in your program files. A hand drawing will work too.

The drawing doesn’t have to be perfect, but the measurements need to be accurate.  Just do a simple drawing with all the rooms shown in their proper locations is all you need.

If you have a two story home, then do two drawings, one for the upper level, one for the lower level. Do a separate drawing for the stairs and landings.

See my free Forms Page for more information about measuring for stairs.

Your drawing should look something like this:

Carpet Measuring Diagram 1

Step Two – Measure

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 material to do the job. 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, then round it up to 16 feet or 16.0. Always mark the length first, then the width to make all the measurements uniform.  (example 15 L x 10.5 W)

Q. How do I know which is length and which is width?

It doesn’t matter, just choose a direction and measure every room the same way. See the diagram below to see how I measured length east to west, and width north to south. Do the Length first, then the width. Example = the kitchen measures 18.0 (length) X  9.5 (width)

Here is how it should look after you measure:

carpet measuring diagram 2



Step Three – Calculate

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:

Length x Width = ?

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 extra for seams

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

788 sf
+39 sf (5%)
827 square feet

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

  • 827 square feet divided by 9 = 88 square yards.

That’s it! If your home is larger or has a difficult floor plan it will be more difficult for you to measure yourself.

(If you select a carpet with a pattern you will need to add more material to do the job and I suggest you get some expert help to determine how much extra material you require.)

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 more difficult to measure, some have landings that must be considered.

See my free Forms Page for more information about how to measure for stairs.

More Money-Saving Options:

If you get several bids from carpet retailers and are concerned you might be overcharged for materials and labor. Consider hiring a competent Carpet Installer to come to your home and measure your needs and discuss all your options.

You could hire an independent expert to measure your home to verify the amount a material you actually need. You can discuss room sizes, carpet styles and types, best carpet nap direction, seam placements and other money-saving options.

Most Carpet styles are made 12′ feet wide.

Wider widths may be available (i.e. 13’5″ and 15′ feet widths). These widths are not common and may or may not be a wise choice for your home depending on your room sizes and layout.

A competent carpet installer can help determine if purchasing a carpet wider than 12 feet would be cost effective for you.

The cost to hire a Carpet Installer to measure your home might be $75 to $125 or more for a large or complicated home, but could be well worth the investment, by potentially saving you money and also give you peace of mind.

How to find a qualified Carpet Installer


  • There will always be some material waste, especially if your rooms are less than 12 ft wide. You have to pay for all material waste that is generated from installing new carpet in your home.
  • You must have seams if your rooms are wider than 12 feet. (unless you order carpet that is wider than 12 feet)
  • All similar carpet in connecting rooms must lay down in the same direction. The carpet nap lays down one way and stands up the other way. The carpet tends to look darker one way and lighter the other way. It will look bad if you don’t have every carpet nap running in the same direction from room to room.
  • (If you select a carpet with a pattern match you will need to add more material to do the job and I suggest you get some expert help to determine how much extra material you require.)

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

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.

Remember, you are just getting a basic estimate of your material needs, you will most likely need a few more or less yards than you figure here. So don’t be surprised if you are quoted 5 to 10% more or less than you calculated here and using my yardage chart.

Carpet installers are good at measuring. It is always wise to get a professional to measure your home accurately before ordering carpet.

Take a look at my Free Carpet Room Yardage Chart.

This helpful chart will give you a basic estimate so you can know about how many yards of carpet you will need to buy before you begin shopping for carpet.

Room Yardage Chart 2









You usually have to buy carpet in widths of 12 feet. If you have a room that is 10 feet by 10 feet you will have to buy a rug that is 12 feet by 10 feet. There will be some material waste. If you have a room wider than 12 feet, you will need to have a seam. That means you need to order enough material for the seams.

For example: A room 15 feet wide by 16 feet long will require a 3 foot by 16 foot seam along one side of the room. Want to see some seam placement diagrams?

Visit my Blog:

How Much Extra Carpet is Needed to do the Seams?

When you take all this information into consideration, then you take a good hard look at the logistics of your lifestyle, needs, goals and budget to come up with a good estimate as to what it will cost you to buy the right grade of carpet for you.

You might need to adjust a few things a little bit to make it all work. Most people are surprised at how much a good quality carpet costs.

This means you might have to sacrifice longevity to keep the carpet within your budget, or you may have to do half of the house now and do the other half after you save a little more money.

Most carpet dealers determine the total cost of the job using the amount of carpet your home requires.

For example, if they determine that you need 100 square yards of carpet, they will also charge you for 100 square yards of padding and for 100 yards of carpet installation.

However, if you actually only need say… just 95 yards of carpet, then you may be overcharged by 5 yards of carpet, 5 yards of padding and 5 yards of installation cost which can add up to you over-paying as much as $250 or more.  My Recommended Carpet Stores Near You

A Carpet salesperson’s greatest fear?

Not ordering enough material to complete your job can be disastrous. This would create a nightmare for you and be quite embarrassing for the salesperson.

For this reason some salespeople intentionally add-on a few extra yards of carpet to the estimate to make sure they have enough. This is bad news for your pocketbook.

You should not have to pay for more material than you actually need. To protect yourself from being overcharged for materials and labor, you need to find out approximately how much carpet you need to buy.

Have a carpet professional measure your home

Notice that I said “Carpet Professional”, I did not say “Carpet Salesperson” as while some salespeople measure very accurately and can help minimize the amount of material waste.

Some salespeople have absolutely no idea what they are doing and can add hundreds more to the final job cost.

If you get several estimates from various local carpet retailers you will find that they all have a different total measurement or total cost for your project, that is if they will even tell you what their measurements are.

Some stores just give you one-price for the whole job. 

That price includes everything from materials and labor to moving furniture and haul away of the old carpet and pad.

You would be wise to ask for a simple breakdown of all the charges. Especially ask for the cost of the carpet to be shown separately from the cost of the pad and installation on the final invoice.

This is required by the manufacturer should you ever have need to make a warranty claim. They will want proof of how much you paid for the carpet only. Carpet Professor

5 Keys to Your Carpet Buying Success!

Carpet Professor

5 Keys to Your Carpet Buying Success

Choosing new carpet is more complicated and confusing than ever before. Here are 5 important things every homeowner needs to know.
1. Accurate Carpet Measuring Saves You Money!

Making sure you obtain correct measurements for your carpet project is very important. If your measurements are wrong, you will either pay too much or not have enough material to finish the job.

Inexperienced carpet salespeople tend to over-measure because they fear not ordering enough carpet to complete the job. Sneaky salespeople can intentionally over-measure your needs to increase their profit.

Homeowners who lack measuring experience tend to under-measure because they don’t know how to factor in the extra material needed for seaming, trimming and pattern matches. It takes years to become proficient at measuring for carpet so having your measurements verified would be wise.

Seasoned carpet salespeople know how to save you the most money by strategically using leftover material from one area to fill in areas in other areas. This can significantly reduce the amount of carpet you need to order and will also lower your cost for padding and installation too.

Here are some tricks and tips to getting your home measured right. You can also learn how to measure your home for carpet yourself! How to Measure for Carpet in 4 Simple Steps

2. Product Knowledge Gives You Power to Choose Wisely.

Selecting the wrong carpet fiber is worst mistake you can make! Learn the truth about carpet fibers and carpet styles. Learn more about Carpet Fibers.

Choosing the correct padding is very important too. The more you know the better choices you will make. Learn more about Types of Carpet Padding.

Beware of misleading or incomplete carpet buying information obtained from websites that sell carpet or make a commission from the sale. These sites may not tell you everything you need to know, especially when their main goal is to convince you to buy from them or their affiliates.

3. Wise Shoppers Get Several Free “In-Home” Estimates. 

Getting several estimates is just plain smart. It helps you narrow down your final choices and gives you the chance to compare estimates from local retailers side by side. You will come away knowing you made the best choice possible.

It’s not easy to compare carpets when they change the style and color names. That’s why its important to consider the specifications of each carpet to make sure you are comparing carpets of a similar type, grade or quality.

For example, you can’t compare carpet made of Nylon, with carpet made of Polyester. Print several copies of my free Carpet Shopping Form. It’s designed to help you compare similar carpets so you can make wise and informed choices. Learn more What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?

4. Installing Carpet Correctly Increases Long-Term Performance

Carpet installed improperly can develop wrinkles and can cut its life-expectancy in half.

Finding a qualified carpet installer can be challenging. Finding a carpet installer advertising on Craigslist or in your local Thrifty Nickel is one way to go, but rarely the best way to locate an experienced installer.

The best installers prefer to work for well established locally-owned carpet stores.

5. Proper Carpet Care and Maintenance Ensures Longevity

Take proper care of your carpet and it will serve you well for years to come. There’s a lot more to caring for a carpet then vacuuming. And if you don’t clean your carpets correctly you could easily ruin them.

You also need to know how to keep your carpet warranty in force. Too many homeowners unknowingly void their warranty by following the carpet manufacturers care and maintenance  guidelines. Read your warranty carefully.

Here I reveal the truth about proper carpet care, important warranty facts, and what you need to know about carpet cleaning! How often should I have my carpets cleaned?


Back       Next

Carpet Professor’s Preferred Carpet Dealers

It’s hard to find a reputable carpet store these days! That’s why I have created my own special hand-picked list of carpet stores who are locally owned, give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and hire qualified installers. Homeowners want to know… Are there any reputable Carpet Stores Near Me?

Carpet Professor