When you order your print and specify the size at the beginning, you always enter the exact size you want the PRINTED area to be, this will be where the file you upload is printed, and your file should be this size or size proportionally so that it fills the are you are entering. That's the PRINT SIZE.
Next, if you want the MEDIA (paper, canvas, etc) size to be larger, you choose a border when you add the poster to your cart. "Standard Trim" gives the print an additional .5" border around the outside, so the physical dimensions will be 1" larger than the print size. (If you enter 24 x 36 as your poster size and choose "standard trim" - your poster will be 25" by 27".)
You can choose a larger border by choosing a 2" border, and your print will be 2" larger around the outside, so a 24" by 36" would be 28" by by 40".
Finally, if you want the print to be exactly the same size as the printed area, you would choose "TRIM TO BLEED" and then we will cut the poster to match the print size, and both would be 24" by 36".
You can read more about trim options here.