In this post “How to draw a floor plan” I will show you that it’s easier than you may think. If you can use a tape measure and draw some straight lines with a ruler, you can do this!

 draw a floor plan to scale pin

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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. 😉

For more decorating tips check out my post How to decorate like a pro


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

The easiest way you can make a scaled room plan is to use 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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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,


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