Introduction: How to Manually Draft a Basic Floor Plan

These instructions will aid you in creating your very own floor plan. The ability to create floor plans is a vital part of what it means to be a civil engineer or architect. Follow these instructions carefully to get the most out of what they offer. The design of a simple floor plan requires little technical skill. Use of architectural or engineering scales is required, but other than that all you need is an imagination. A quick video tutorial on the use of an engineering scale is included in these instructions. Depending on the complexity of the design, this can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. 

List of Supplies:
Engineering Paper
Engineering Scale

Step 1: Engineering Scale Tutorial

Here's a quick tutorial on how to use an engineering scale.

Step 2: 1. Sketch Exterior Walls

To begin manually drafting a basic floor plan, start by lightly laying out your exterior walls with the shape and dimensions desired for the house. For the sake of simplicity, the example shown here is going to use a basic rectangular shape. It is also important to choose an appropriate scale for the drawing.  The scale for this particular floor plan is 1 inch : 20 feet.

Step 3: Draw Reference Lines

Once the exterior walls are up it is helpful to add reference lines to the drawing for scaling purposes. Generally these lines are put through the midpoints of the vertical and horizontal walls of the house. This is demonstrated in the example.

Step 4: Interior Walls

Now it’s time to lay out the interior walls of the proposed house using light lines. It is important to predetermine the thickness of these walls. Six inches is a typical thickness for a house, the purpose being to leave room for plumbing and electrical tubing. It is at this stage that the number of rooms and closets needs to be determined.

Step 5: Locate Doors

The next step is to determine the location of the doors to both enter the house, the rooms within the house, and all of the closets using light lines. Standard door dimensions are 2 foot 8 inches, as used in the example. Placement on the wall will be dimensioned from the center of the door, so be sure to measure accordingly.

Step 6: Add Windows

Windows are the next addition to the existing floor plan. Similar to the doorways, windows will be dimension from their center. It is important to keep in mind realistic spacing and size of the windows as well. All of the windows in this example are 3 feet wide for the sake of simplicity, but feel free to make them any size.

Step 7: Place Cabinets, Kitchen Appliances and Bathroom Fixtures

Now it’s time to add cabinets, kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures to the plan. Lower kitchen cabinets are typically 2 feet deep and upper cabinets are generally 1 foot deep. Lower cabinets are given a solid line while upper cabinets are dashed. The refrigerator and stove are deeper than than cabins and also drawn with solid lines, however they will be labeled later on. Bathroom fixtures are drawn similarly, as is shown in the example.

Step 8: Dimension the Plan

It’s finally time to add dimensions to the floor plan. Make sure to thoroughly label dimensions throughout the plan. All walls, doors, windows, cabinets and appliances need to be dimensioned to ensure that their proper location is known. Reference the example to see a basic demonstration of what dimensioning should look like.

Step 9: Label Rooms

Once dimensioning is complete it is time to label the rooms and add any specific notes thought to be appropriate. Bedrooms should be labeled by number with the master bedroom being number one.

Step 10: Clean It Up

The next step in finishing up the floor plan is to clean it up and make it look nice. Make sure all mistakes are completely erased and look nice and clean cut. When you feel absolutely sure that everything is correctly in place it is time to darken in all of the construction lines. This should be done with a straight edge and NOT free hand.

Step 11: Add Title Block

The final thing needed on the floor plan is a title block. The title block should be on the bottom right hand corner of your floor plan. It should include the name of your house, your name and the size of the scale you used to draw it for future reference.

The floor plan is finally complete! It is now possible to look into further aspects of designing the house and bringing it  to life. You're floor plan should be fully dimensioned and other viewers should be able to easily comprehend your ideas.