Common home measurements every remodeler should know

Phantom Screens / August 3, 2016

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When you plan your remodel, you might think of your indoor and outdoor living spaces in terms of design – you want a modern look or a certain color palette. However, you should also consider the mathematics involved, specifically measurements. Doors, windows, staircases, studs, etc. all have common sizes and knowing them can help you during renovation. Here are some of the standards with which you should familiarize yourself.


Studs are the bones of your house. They are thick pieces of wood holding the drywall (and the rest of your home) in place. Knowing where the studs are located can help you hang pictures and plan a renovation – you don’t want to knock one down or drill into a pipe accidentally. On average, vertical studs are spaced 16 inches apart from one another. You will always find a stud in a corner or near an electrical outlet.

If you’re looking for a stud (whether it’s to hang a coat rack or install wiring), start at the corner of the room. Use a measuring tape to locate the next stud, which will be 16 inches from the corner. Make a mark on the wall using a pencil, then measure another 16 inches. You can keep going until you’ve gotten to the part of the wall where you want to work.

Note that some older homes might have studs spaced at 24 inches. If you’re unsure of your house’s unique structure, you can always purchase an electronic stud finder.


Have you ever noticed that some stairs are incredibly awkward to ascend? These are the stairs that have an out-of-balance rise and run. Rise refers to the height of the stair, and the run is its length, where you put your feet. In general, the ratio of the two should be 7 to 11 inches (each number can be applied to either rise or run). You can also think of it this way: Rise and run combined should never exceed 18 inches.

Stairs that fall out of this sync feel rather strange. For example, you might find that some stairs are too long, forcing you to increase your stride. Other stairs are too tall, making you lift your feet in a march-like step. The 7 to 11 inch ratio works because it accommodates the average adult’s stride length and height.


Windows don’t have a standard measurement the way studs and stairs do because there are so many different styles. For example, your double-hung windows might be 60 inches tall and 30 inches wide. More important than the size of the actual window are the dimensions of your shades and curtains. Retractable window screens should cover the window flawlessly and look natural, no matter the measurements of the frame. Retractable screens are especially nice because they roll completely out of sight when not in use.

Curtains aren’t so hidden, so you have to hang them correctly to avoid blocking your view. Your curtain rod should be at least 3 inches above your window frame, and should extend anywhere from 3 to 6 inches beyond either side. The distance your rod reaches past the left and right of your window depends on how much curtain you have. The idea is that the fabric is completely out of the way of your window when not in use.


While homes can all differ, interior doors are pretty standard. Most are 78 to 80 inches tall and 24, 30 or 36 inches wide (the greater the height, the longer the width). Additionally, door knobs tend to be located about 38 inches off the ground – this is a comfortable height at which to grab it for most adults.