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Top Tips for Drawing a Professional Floorplan

Drawing up a professional floorplan can be an intimidating task. Let’s face it, it’s a difficult thing to get the hang of! But learning how to draw a floorplan by hand is essential to understanding all the elements that go into a professional floorplan and how scale really works. Once you’ve mastered the drawing aspect, you can take that knowledge to properly use a floorplanning software (which will save you time and energy when you’re a working interior decorator, home stager, professional organizer, or feng shui specialist). You have to learn how to walk before you can run, right? So today we’re sharing our top tips for drawing a professional level floorplan to master this important skill.

1. Sketch the room

How to draw a floorplan sketch

The very first thing you want to do before even taking measurements of the room is to sketch it. This does not have to be accurate in scale and you don’t need to use a ruler. Simply draw the same shape of the room on a piece of paper from bird’s eye view. Make note of any doors, windows, or other significant architectural features you’ll represent in your professional floorplan.

Once you’ve completed sketching the space, measure and record the necessary dimensions of each element of the room. Be sure to measure the entire length of the walls, doors, windows, closets, fireplaces, etc. Where there is a door or window, you must also measure the distance of the separated wall areas.

2. Study your architect ruler

Before you begin to draw your professional floorplan, you should carefully study your architect ruler. This will be your best friend throughout the process, so get to know it! You’ll mostly be using either ¼” scale or ½” scale when drawing a floorplan, which are both represented on your ruler.

Sometimes it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that each notch on your ruler represents 1 foot in real life, so study your ruler carefully while thinking about this concept to really get your mind accustomed to this fact. If you need a little more help with understanding scale, read How to Calculate Scale.

Architect ruler

3. Use your architect ruler

This one’s a no-brainer. You should always use your architect ruler because it will make your life so much easier! Now that you’ve studied it and have accepted the fact that 1 foot in real life will be represented by either ¼ or ½ of an inch, you’re ready to unleash its power.

I hope at this stage that you’ve noticed the tiny notches before the 0. These are used to draw a line that is, for example, not perfectly 4 feet, but maybe 4 feet and 5 inches (4′-5″). So instead of dragging your pencil from 0 to 4 feet, start at 4 feet and keep your pencil going past 0, until you reach 5 inches. Like this:

how to draw a floorplan

4. Use a pencil

There’s just simply no excuse to not use a pencil when drawing a floorplan because we even give you one in your course materials! You receive everything you need to draw a professional floorplan, right down to a pencil.

Once you’ve drawn your floorplan with a pencil, take your black art pen (also in your floorplanning kit) and go over all of your lines.

5. Don’t rely on graph paper

While using graph paper is absolutely fine for practicing and getting familiar with scale, professional floorplans should never be presented on graph paper. If you rely entirely on the grid to help you draw plans and don’t use your architect ruler, it will be next to impossible to draw a professional floorplan on grid-free paper.

6. Draw wall thickness

How to draw a floorplan wall

Wall thickness is an important part of your professional floorplan and should be represented differently based on whether it is an interior or exterior wall. So, what’s the difference you ask?

An exterior wall is a wall that is on the outside of the house (if you were to hypothetically take down the wall, you’d be staring at the great outdoors!). An interior wall, on the other hand, is a wall inside the house that if you were to take down, would open up into another room.

Exterior walls are generally 8 to 10 inches thick while interior walls are about 5 inches thick. These should be represented on your floorplan accordingly. When drawing wall thickness on your floorplan, measure away from the room. If you add wall thickness to the inside of your lines, you’ll throw off your dimensions.

Be sure to color in your wall thickness, using your black art pen.

7. Depict door swing

When drawing a floorplan, many people forget the door swing. It’s important to know which way the door opens so that when it comes time to space planning, you know where to leave room for the door to swing open. Door swing should be depicted as such:

How to draw a floorplan door

8. Use the furniture template

Another handy tool you’ll receive with your floorplanning kit is a ¼” furniture template. This little guy will make your life much easier as you’ll be able to easily trace furniture – like a stencil! Remember those from your kindergarten days? Of course, this stencil is a little more complicated, but a life-saver nonetheless.

9. Remember your north arrow and scale notation

Two important, and often forgotten, details to your professional floorplan is the north arrow and scale notation. Without them your “professional” floorplan is just simply a rough copy floorplan.

How to draw floorplan notations

A north arrow demonstrates the orientation of the room you’re drawing and the scale notation states the scale the floorplan was drawn in. There are a few different ways you can depict a north arrow and your scale notation, but here’s an example of the easiest way:

If you take these tips into consideration when practicing how to draw a floorplan, you’ll be a pro in no time!

We’d love to know! What are YOUR top tips for drawing a floorplan? Leave a comment below.