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Drawing a Floor Plan

We’ve all seen those intricately detailed blueprints that are produced by architects, designers, and engineers that are drawn to guide the builder and to provide them with as many details as they need to correctly build something.

An interior designer might also use a floor plan to establish:

- the size of each space,

- the location of each space and its proximity to other spaces,

- the location of architectural features,

- to identify any architectural limitations.

Once this information is put to paper, it provides a clear basis for the information needed to restructure interior walls, create a furniture layout, plan a colour scheme, or any number of other needed dimensions.

For the average person, a floor plan can be a useful tool for quickly establishing whether a potential new piece of furniture will fit, or a way to easily calculate how much tile it would take to finish the powder room floor, for example.

Each of the three plans depicted here are plans of the very same space.

Plan #1 (left) is a simple floor plan that can be used for reasons like calculating materials needed or checking the appropriate size of furniture.

Plan #2 (right) is a professionally rendered construction drawing that is often used by building contractors, or to obtain building permits.

Construction drawings will require a lot of specific detail and should only be made by qualified architectural technicians.

Plan #3 (left) is a design drawing that simply indicates how furniture might appear and be laid-out in the finished room.

For our purposes, a floor plan will be used to help identify potential problem areas, including safety issues.

Most importantly, a well-made floor plan will be helpful in identifying ways to make improvements. It will help configure ways to make spaces more efficient. It will help to identify areas that might function better serving a different purpose. It will define any areas that can be better used or that are under used.

There are a multitude of user-friendly computer programs and apps that will make this project easier and maybe even more enjoyable. Any program that is consistent with your technical ability is sufficient. Even a neat drawing on graph (or quad) paper will be helpful.

Ultimately, you’ll aim for a plan that looks something like Plan #1.

In every case, measurements will need to be taken before you can start.

Measure the length of the longest wall for the first room you’re going to tackle.

Decide on the scale you will use. If you’re using graph paper, make sure the longest wall will fit on your drawing. Count the number of squares on the longest side of the graph paper (for example, 39 squares make up the side where you will draw the longest part of the plan), then, scale down the length of the wall by reducing it down to a smaller number (for example, one square equals one foot, or one-foot equals 30 centimetres). Try to scale the drawing as close as possible to the actual dimensions of the room, but don’t worry too much about fractions.

Measure the length of the other walls and transfer these measurements to your scaled drawing.

From a corner of the room, determine the location of each window, door and wall opening, without including the frames or mouldings.

Measure the width of each door and window (not including frames), as well as any openings, and transfer these measurements.

Draw each window as double lines. Draw each door as a line with an arc, which depicts the door and its swing path.

Measure the length and width of all built-in fixtures (such as a fireplace, bookshelves, or counters), convert to your plan’s scale and add them to your plan.

Add movable furniture to the floor plan by measuring the length and width of each piece of furniture for this room.

If you’d like to use this plan to re-evaluate the furniture arrangement, you may want to draw the furniture on another sheet of graph paper then cut out each piece and glue them onto a heavier piece of paper or cardboard.

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