If you have ever wanted to learn how to draw a floor plan then I’ve got you. I will show you just how easy it is and I will give you two ways to do it. If you can use a tape measure and draw some straight lines with a ruler, you can do this!

floor plan image

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Why is drawing a floor plan to scale important?

Drawing a floor plan to scale is important for a few reasons. First, it will save you lots of time and energy.  Imagine you want to rearrange the furniture in your room.  Normally you would move the furniture around, and around, until you’ve figured out what fits and what looks good.  Then after hours of exhausting hard work, you may not even be happy with the results.

Second, it could save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.  Imagine shopping for a new sectional only to have it delivered weeks later and it doesn’t fit in the room. UGH!  Don’t do this.  Draw a floor plan first so you don’t make this mistake!

By making a plan to scale you can do the heavy lifting on a piece of paper.  Literally, you can move the furniture around on the plan until you have it just the way you want it.  You won’t even lift a finger in the room. This will save you hours of trial and error and possibly burning a lot of calories. 😉

PAINT SWATCH

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Note:

I am using my 16 x 20′ living room for an example in this post. However, I take will take you step by step to create a plan for a room in your home.

Here is a picture of my actual room that I based this scaled drawing on.  Use it to reference the examples in the floor plan drawings.

draw a floor plan to scale - My living room

Drawing the basic shape of a room

Draw the basic shape of your room on a piece of paper. No ruler.  Just draw out the four walls of your room with a pencil and show the approximation of the doors and windows.

This is just for your reference. You will make the actual scaled drawing on another piece of paper later.

hand drawing of a floor plan example

How to measure your room

The easiest way to record your measurements is to use a tape measure to measure the actual wall from one end to the other. Record the measurements on your drawing in feet and inches.

empty room with tape measure and measurments

Start at the beginning of a wall and measure the distance from there to the beginning of a door, window, or other permanent structure.  Mark that measurement on your plan. See image below.

hand drawing of a floor plan with measurements

Measure the next item on the wall, mark it on the plan, and continue measuring and marking everything all the way across the wall.

Use a parallel lines with small perpendicular marks to show what the measurement represents.  Do this for all of your walls.

hand drawing of a floor plan with measurements

Next, we will take this drawing and measurements and scale them using a piece of graph paper.

How to draw a floor plan is using a piece of graph paper

This is an easy way to make a scaled room plan by using graph paper. To use this method you are basically counting squares as feet. For example, if your wall was 12′ 6″ (twelve feet, six inches) your line would be 12 1/2 squares long.

Your windows would convert from 3′ (feet) to 3 squares. A fireplace could go from 5′ (feet) to 5 squares and so on.

One thing to keep in mind with making a scaled drawing with graph paper; If your room is small, your scaled drawing will be small too.  You can fix this problem two ways.

Use 2 squares per foot instead of one.  This will double the size of your plan.

drawing a floor plan on graph paper

Above: You can see that trying to move virtual furniture around on this piece of paper would be hard to do because the room size is so small.

To fix this draw your 12 x 12 room using two squares per foot.  Now you can see the room plan takes up most of the 8 1/2 x 11″ paper.  This will be much easier to use.

floor plan showing how to double your measurements

Remember, if you double your room plan you will also have to double all the elements going into the room as well. Doors, windows, furniture, everything.

The second way is to enlarge your plan with your printer.

BUT…if you do this you will also have to enlarge everything you draw for the plan, like furniture, at the same percentage. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!

You would just draw your plan with the 1′ = 1 square method and then enlarge the plan with your printer. Remember the percentage you used to enlarge the plan, then enlarge your furniture plan the same way. (More below)

Get a printable PDF version of this post!

Comes complete with a printable furniture template and grid sheet for just $10

Table of Contents for floor plan Ebook

How to transfer your hand drawing with measurements to the graph paper.

In the image below I am showing you how I drew my 16′ x 20′ living room. You are going to take your hand drawing and transfer feet into squares.

Start by drawing the outline of the room using a solid line. (Represented below by the black square.) 16 feet = 16 squares, 20 feet = 20 squares.

Now you are going to add your whole room measurement. (Represented by the red line with the room measurement in between.)

Leave room between the wall (the solid line) and the wall measurement, because we are going to be adding the measurements for the doors and windows in between them a bit later.

adding dimensions to a floor plan

The black numbers are just showing you how I counted the squares 20 squares = 20 feet. You will not be writing these numbers on your paper.

If you have a room that is not a rectangle or square, but instead has bump outs or angled walls, you will need to draw it on the paper just like it is in the room.

room plan with an angled wall

How to draw doors, windows and other permenant structures

Now your going to draw in anything else that is permanent in the room. Permanent structures could be doors, windows, a fireplace, built-in cabinetry, stairs, or any other structure that can’t be moved and could affect the layout of your furniture. See how to draw them in the next step or you could use a template.

You will use your hand drawing to transfer your actual measurements onto the graph paper using 1 square per 1 foot or (2 squares per 1 foot if your room is small.)

After writing in the measurements, use parallel lines and perpendicular marks to show where you are starting and stopping your measurements.

I’ll teach you how to make them look like actual doors and windows in the next section.

how to draw doors and windows in your floor plan

I have built-ins that go the whole length of one wall and stop just before the two side windows.  I would draw them in the plan like the image below.  You can see using the squares that my built-ins measure 2′ deep x 16′ long.

floor plan image

In the example below (bottom measurements starting from the right) I start off with a 2’8″ wall then have a window measuring 3’1″   Then there is more wall space at 2’3″, then a window 3’1″, then wall 2’3″, then window 3’1″, a wall space at 9″ and finally my built-ins measuring 2′ deep.

recorded measurements on a floor plan

Hint:

If you add up all of those individual measurements they should total the whole length of the wall.  If it doesn’t, re-check your measurements. 

For furniture arranging it doesn’t have to be exact. An inch or two for a whole wall is fine. Your just using this to help you place furniture and an inch here or there isn’t going to ruin everything. 

However, if you’re trying to squeeze something into a tight space, like kitchen cabinets that have to fit between two walls for an example, then you will need to be precise.

If that’s the case you may be better off having a professional draw a floor plan just to make sure you don’t run into any issues.

draw a floor plan to scale
drawing doors and windows in a floor plan

6 Comments

  1. I just had to comment! U are truly a god-send. The steps, examples, explanations, etc helped me have confidence making a floor plan. I’m studying feng shui by the way. I’m so glad I found you on Pinterest.

    -Blessings

  2. I’ve noticed you work in inches ! Please can u change it to mm . I use it for my work am joiner so it needs to be in mm ta

    1. Hi Mark, I am from the US so we use inches and not Metrics. However, you can easily make your drawing using MM. Just follow the directions for drawing the floor plan using plain paper and not the grid paper. You will simply use your metric system to convert meters to centimeters. I don’t know the metric system but I’m pretty sure it works the same as our system (feet and inches) vs (meters and centimeters). Let me know if this makes sense.

  3. Hello, I’m not sure if this is a silly question, but does it matter which graph paper size you use? I see there are several options 1/4 inc, 1/2 inc, 1 inch paper. in the 8.5 x 11 paper. I’m working on a nursery and trying to figure out the scale before I actually move 2 cribs and lots of other furniture to another building. I think this would help my husband and I a lot before we do all the lifting. Thank you for your help and for posting this info. I wish I had read your post a long time ago, but I thank God for it now right before the move in the New Year.

    1. Hi Linda, that was not a silly question. It doesn’t matter the size of your grid paper as long as you are making your furniture templates with the same scale.

      Just count each square as a foot or 1/2 foot (whatever is easiest for you) and when you make your furniture pieces use the same size grid paper and same measurements per square. Then your scale will be the same.

      Hope this helps,

      Lori

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