A floor plan is a
diagram of a room
or building as if
seen from above.
The draftsman uses
recognized by others
in the housing
bathroom vanity does
not have to be
labeled… if the right
symbol has been used.
Floor plans must accurately depict the sizes of real-world objects —
buildings, furniture, appliances — in relation to each other.
This requires scaling down the dimensions of all the objects by a common
proportion, known as the floor plan's scale.
Scales are used for drawing a large object on a smaller sheet of paper.
Scales are usually specified as a ratio, like 1:4. The first number represents
units of measurement on the floor plan and the second number represents
the equivalent measurement in the real world.
A scale commonly used on floor plans is 1": 48" or 1": 4'. This means that one
inch on paper equals 48 inches or 4 feet in real life. This scale is also called
the quarter-inch scale (¼" : 1 foot).
Full scale Reduced to ¼
Look at your ruler. Do you understand that
each little mark is 1/16th
of an inch? Two
marks over would be 2/16ths or 1/8th
(reduce the fraction). ½ inch is the same as
In drafting (drawing) a floor plan, we use a
ruler if we are drawing “on the boards”. That
means we are drawing without the aid of a
computer (CAD is computer-aided-drafting). A
good designer should be able to do both.
Position your ruler
directly down from
“over the top” of the
ruler for an accurate
look at it from an
angle. Be precise!
Each little 1/4th
inch square is
EQUAL to 1
foot, or 12
It is usually
possible to divide
a little square into
halves or into
fourths using your
This is a piece of graph paper we will be using. It is
divided into little squares, each measuring 1/4th
on a side. This is quarter-inch graph paper.
This graph paper is perfect
for drawing objects or
rooms to a scale of ¼”=1’
Lay your ruler
along a line on the
graph paper. Draw
a line that
represents an 11
foot length. That’s
the same as 11
where you want to.
12 inches, and a
line slightly too
long is not 11’, but
Keep your pencil
lead sharp, or use
Line is too thick
Walls are classified as
either bearing or
nonbearing. Bearing walls
help carry the weight of the
house, providing support to
floors above and the roof.
All walls start with “studs”,
usually 2x4” or 2x6” pieces
of lumber or metal to
provide the “framework”.
The centers of the studs are
usually placed 16” apart.
Insulation (C) may be placed between the
studs (B). Drywall is attached over the
framework on both sides of the wall (A,D).
Drywall is also called gypsum board; a
common trade name is Sheetrock.
A wall is much
thicker than a
Drywall can be purchased in various thicknesses. The
thicker it is, the more expensive it is and the more sound-
proofing it provides.
Taking into account the 4” stud width,
the drywall thickness of 1/2-3/4 inches,
and even the paint or wall covering
thickness…we use a 6” thick wall
when we draw on the boards.
To draw a wall 14’
long, start by
drawing a single
line 14 squares
long. Then place
your ruler halfway
and draw another
line that length.
To draw a corner,
you have to plan
ahead. If the room
measures 12’ on
the interior wall, the
first line will be 12
squares long. The
second line will be
on the outside, and
will be 13 squares
Once you have the first wall drawn,
you simple turn the corner and start
drawing the adjacent wall.
On this side of the
wall is the interior of
The exterior wall line
extends 6” beyond the
interior wall line, so it
can turn a corner
To draft a room,
start by drawing
just the interior
walls. After those
draw the outside
of each wall.
Draw a room that
is 8’ x 11’.
Be careful to end
each line accurately;
avoid this error.
Position you ruler
carefully and look
straight down on
it to measure.
Avoid walls that
are too thick or
On a floor plan,
you do not see
how tall a window
is (it’s height).
You only see how
wide it is. Let’s
draw a 3’ window.
Draw a section of a
wall that is 11’
long. A couple of
feet from the left
end, draw a
vertical line to
illustrate one side
of the window.
Then 3’ over to the
right, put in the
other side of the
Finish drawing the
with a horizontal
line right through
the middle. (this is
symbol that others
within the housing
Now go back to
your 8’ x 11’
room, and add a
4 1/2’ wide
the middle of the
There are several things to consider
when deciding where to place the
windows in a room.
You must consider how the windows
will appear on the exterior of the
On the interior of the
building you need to
consider how the furniture
can be arranged, the view
from the windows, and the
possible high cost of
Before we continue, we should discuss the difference
between standard and custom sizes of interior fixtures
such as windows, doors, cabinetry, etc.
Manufacturers take a great deal of
time and effort to set up their
equipment for a specific size of
fixture. It is more economical to set
it up and make many pieces the
same size, so they do that and call
it standard sizing.
In order to meet the many needs of consumers, but still use
standard sizing, manufacturers offer their goods in
increments of 3 inches. For example, you can purchase a
standard height door in 18”, 21”, 24”, 27”, 30”, 33”, 36” etc.
widths. Windows get even wider.
When a manufacturer has to set up his equipment for a very
special or specific size, such as a 31” wide door, he has to
charge more money. This is called custom sizing.
swinging door into
a bedroom is 30”.
The front door of
the house is often
36”. This makes it
doorway into the
home that will
moving in of large
Either door is
drawn the same
way. You show the
doorway, the door
itself, and the door
Door swings both
between a kitchen
and dining area or
and utility rooms
Two standard swinging doors meet
in the middle, filling a 5 foot wide
doorway. The doorway opening for
such a treatment is usually 4’, 5’, or
wide or wider
Sliding doors, found on
tubs patio doors, and
5’ or 6’ doorway openings
You might find
sliding doors on 4’
openings for shower
areas, but tubs have
a 5’ opening.
You can draw doors on
a floor plan with a ruler
or with the use of an
There are 4 corners on each
doorway, 2 on each side, and
where the door is attached
determines which direction it will
swing. You will need to decide
whether the door should swing in
or out of the room.
Think carefully about where
you will place a door on a wall.
Placing it in the middle of the
wall uses a lot of wall space
for the “swing”. Placing the
door in the corner is usually a
better use of space.
These men all work in the same
office. The fire alarms start
sounding, and they rush toward
the door. How should this door
swing?... Toward them into the
office, or out to the hallway?
In any room where numerous people will be gathering, the door must
swing out of the room to allow for easy evacuation. In a bedroom, where
only several people will likely be gathered at one time, the door can swing
into the room. In fact, swinging a bedroom door outward into the hall can
be a safety violation.
Closets have two
width and depth.
A closet suitable for
hanging clothes must
be at least 36” wide
and 2 ½ feet deep.
The clothes in this
closet will not brush
the back wall or get
caught in the front
It is not necessary to show the clothes
rod and hangers unless it is a walk-in
closet. You do need to add appropriate
than clothing can
be as small as
18” in width and
1 foot deep. This
might be a small
pantry or linen
closet. You do
not need to
The Federal Housing
Authority (FDA) regulates
many housing decisions,
including the requirement
that each person needs 36”
rod space for clothing.
The closet to the right is wrong! It
sticks out inside the room, and
destroys the square or rectangular
shape of the room. It makes
furniture arrangement difficult.
This is not good design!
The closet to the left is
added correctly. The
shape of the room must
be preserved, so the
closet must go on the
outside of the room.
Draw the room above to ¼” scale. The
measurements given are interior wall measurements.
Make the window 5’ wide. The door should be a
standard 30” swinging door. The closet door
opening should be 6’ wide, and has sliding doors.
Think of rooms
and closets as
pieces of a
What can you
put in this
space, in the
Perhaps it will be a
closet to the adjacent
room, or space to build
in a shower/tub if the
bathroom is next door.
Each room stays
rectangular in shape.
This is a great closet arrangement
between bedrooms; the clothes
make a great soundproof barrier.
Draw the two rooms above to ¼” scale. Both are 11 ½’ wide;
one is 15’ long and the other is 13’ long. Both rooms have one
4’ wide window. Both rooms have one 30” standard swinging
door. Draw bifold doors on each of the closets.
3’ wide hallway length
open into other
rooms, or into
Hallways are not “wasted space”, but they aren’t living space either.
For that reason, they need to be as short as possible. Hallways can
turn corners, but you still count linear feet. A good goal is a 15’
hallway length for a 3 bedroom home.
need to pass
each other in
needs to be
closet 11 ½’
36” doorwayEach of the 3
one 5’ window.
and a bath have
doors. The hallway
is 36” wide.
In the bedroom to the right, the
closet openings are 6’ wide, so the
standard sized sliding doors fit
perfectly (5 or 6’ is a standard set
of closet doors). But what if the
opening was too big? Do you have
to purchase custom doors?
In the bedroom to the left, the
closet width is 6 ½’. Instead of
purchasing custom sized
doors, you could build a 6”
wing wall. A wing wall is a very
short wall, not longer than 1’. It
has many uses, especially to
adjust the size of room and
closet door openings.The 6” wing wall has altered the original 6 ½’ closet
opening. It is now just 6’, and standard doors will
A hallway is a major traffic pattern, so
requires a 36” width. Two people do not
need to pass each other in a walk- in closet,
so the traffic pattern can be narrower.
Closets need a 30” walkway. This traffic
pattern does not need to be labeled.
The clothes rod is
drawn, centered in a
30” wide area. The rod
length is variable. A
few hanger markings
completes the closet.
A walk-in closet is simply drawn like
a small room. It’s size depends on
how many rods you want and where
the traffic pattern will be.An 8’ square walk-in closet would be
considered quite spacious.
Building codes have a lot to say about actual building
design and construction. Codes regulate depth of
footings and foundations, building materials, ceiling
heights, fireplace installation, ventilation, electrical
wiring, plumbing, width of hallways, width of doors,
direction of door swing, size and construction of
stairways, maximum percentage of a wall that can be
glass, exits, etc.
When permits are required, inspections are also required.
Work that does not meet code can be ordered ripped out.
Building codes are usually regulated by each city or
county. It is the architect’s, draftsman’s, designer’s, and
contractor’s job to know the codes.
DOING WORK WITHOUT A PERMIT IS NOT ONLY ILLEGAL, BUT MAY ALSO
INVALIDATE YOUR HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE.
1. Draft a floor plan, using ¼” scale.
2. Include a master bedroom on your floor plan, no smaller than 100
square feet (length x width) and no larger than 325 square feet.
3. Include two additional bedrooms on your floor plan. Neither should be
smaller than 80 square feet or larger than 250 square feet.
4. Include two bathrooms on your plan, one exclusively for the master
bedroom, and one opening off a hallway and accessible to both
additional bedrooms and guests to the home. Neither bedroom can be
smaller than 35 square feet or larger than 150 square feet.
5. All three bedrooms and the bath must open off of a single hallway,
36” wide and no longer than 15 linear feet.
6. All bedrooms must have a closet, regular or walk-in. Any additional
closets on this plan are optional. Use closet doors of your choice.
7. Each bedroom must have at least one window, at least 30 inches wide.
8. The door into each bedroom must be a standard 30” swinging door.
9. Be able to explain how the rest of the house attaches to your plan.
TEST Name: ___________________
2. Draw bifold doors
on the closet in
1. Each bedroom on
this plan has a window.
Draw the correct
window symbol in each. A B
3. Draw sliding doors on the closet
in bedroom B.
4. Draw swinging doors that meet in
the middle on the closet in bedroom C.
5. Draw a pocket door on the bathroom.
6. There is a wing wall on one of the
bedroom closets. Circle it.
7-8. In bedroom A, draw vertical lines in the wall to show the area where you think
the door would best be located. Add a swinging door, hinged to swing correctly.
9-10. Add a door in bedroom B that swings into the room correctly. Add a door in
bedroom C that swings out of the room, against the linen closet.
Work without a ruler or template.
You may use a straight edge.