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You probably found this guide after thinking “how hard can it really be to draw a floor plan”?
I applaud the spirit of someone wanting to learn a new skill. This guide will give you some tips on how to draw floor plans by hand and what CAD software to check out that is user friendly for beginners.
For a more in depth look at floor plans, check out this floor & house plan guide.
What is a Floor Plan?
A floor plan is commonly a 2D overhead view of a level or multiple levels of a home or building, drawn to scale. They are created with either drafting/graphing paper or most popularly with a CAD (computer aided design) software.
A floor plan is one of a number of house/building plans.
Elevation plans (showing the view of the home or building standing at ground level) and site plans (showing the structure overhead sitting in relation to the surrounding land) are other examples of house or building plans.
There are numerous plans involved in designing and building real estate.
But floor plans are the most recognizable because they are used not just for building but for everyday purposes such as interior design, furniture placement or marketing a home for sale.
When Do You Need To Draw Your Own Floor Plan?
There are many circumstances when you might want to draw your own floor plan, either for your property or to sketch up a future new property.
Template For Building A New Home
You may have a vision for building a custom home. Sometimes, the start of an amazing property is seeing the flow of it using a floor plan.
Whether you are in the “dreaming” stage of the designing your home, or are really ready to get a draft together to meet with builders, you can draw a rough copy of your floor plans to make the design your own.
As mentioned below, your builder/architect will give their professional guidance and suggestions to come up with finalized house plans. And they will draw them using AutoCAD or comparable program for you as well.
Template For an Addition or Remodel
Similar to a new construction home, you will need to draw up a floor plan for the added square footage of an addition.
Start with a floor plan for the existing footprint. Then you can add and remove walls, change rooms and add doors/windows etc.
Again, unless you are professional you will want to go over your floor plan with the builder and architect if they use one.
Sometimes, your home is in serious need of a refresh. Interior designers use floor plans and also 3D renderings to move around furniture, change colors and add other decor to brainstorm before starting the project in person.
You can do the same. For floor plans you can draw them by hand (see below) or use a CAD program, which can be even easier (especially if you are not a good sketcher like me).
For 3D renderings, you definitely will want to use a CAD program.
It is a good time investment to draw floor plans if you are buying furniture and want to figure out where it fits with the other decor you own.
The renderings are great for starting a re-decorating project.
Selling Your Home
When you are putting your home on the market, the next buyer may love the fact that you have a copy of your floor plans.
If you do decide to create your own, I advise you have some experience since some buyers will rely on them. You can also put a disclaimer on it that it is for info only.
Follow the advice of your agent, because each state may be different with seller’s responsibility for accuracy.
The agent may also include purchasing a draftsman to create your floor plan as part of their marketing budget, so that will make sure they are accurate.
If you are moving or tearing down all or part of your home for new construction, you may want a memento to look at years down the line.
This is a great reason to draw your own floor plan, as they are a little more special when you know you created them yourself.
Practice For a New Career or School
Perhaps you are practicing to become an interior designer or architect, or are in the process of seeing if a career like that is right for you.
This would be a great time to practice drawing your own floor plans or making some 3D renderings. You will likely be dealing with many CAD programs in that industry, so why not get a head start?
Call me crazy, but I like to learn a new skill just for the sake of it.
I have often used online CAD software and played around with floor plans and models at night while watching sports. Doing something new keeps you sharp!
A Note On Using Your Floor Plans
You can easily use floor plans for everyday use right when you finish. If there is an error here or there, you can just go back and revise and reprint it (or if you draw by hand, erase and do over).
However, it is important to note that when you draw your own floor plan for a major addition, new construction or other reason, accuracy and functionality are key.
A builder and/or architect will take your vision and draw their own plans using yours as input. But having your own vision is greatly helpful when you sit down with them.
It is highly recommended that you rely and defer to professionals and be open to your plans them being edited and redone.
Unless you have extensive experience with architecture, engineering, construction or similar….they will probably recommend some changes.
1. Drawing By Hand
Ok, so diving right in. Here are some tips on what you will need to prepare and complete your floor plans.
The most crucial step to making accurate floor plans is taking accurate measurements. Measure and then remeasure.
You will ideally want the measurements of your home as whole, width and length. Then, you can measure room by room.
This will give you the layout of your home and the size of each room.
Now, if you are doing draft plans for a new home or just practicing your design skills, you will have more creative power to make the rooms to suit your desires.
Location of Windows, Doors, Stairs
In addition to your room measurements, you want the exact location within each room of windows and door. Most doors will be the same width throughout the home. But you also want to know where they start and stop width wise.
You also want to know there height if you are doing a 3D rendering as well.
You will also want to note which ways doors open, stairways, archways and sliding doors.
If you are doing the floor plan for decorating purposes, you can also measure your existing furniture so it fits within your scale.
And, once again, if this is for a home you have not built yet or are just practicing you can put doors and windows wherever you please.
Scale & Tools
“Drawing to scale” refers to drawing each room with accurate dimensions related to each other. You will want graph or drafting paper so you can use the squares of the paper as your scale.
You will choose the scale you want to use. A common scale is 1/4″, where a 1/4 inch is equal to 1 foot of real life finished space. If you 1/4″ graph paper (each square is 1/4″) then this is made simple.
But you can choose a different scale and different measurement units.
At a minimum, you will also want a good solid pencil and a ruler to draw straight. An architectural ruler is even better because you will have your scale on the ruler.
So for review, have this at a minimum to draw by hand:
• Graph paper. Make a note of the size of the squares.
• Pencil. Preferred over a pen for obvious reasons: to erase mistakes and edits.
• Architectural ruler. This will make your life easier because it is 3-sided and you can check your scale as you go.
If you plan to use a CAD software to draw your plan, you can make a simple draft copy of your floor plan. You just want to make sure you have the measurement and locations of doors, windows, stairs, etc. correct.
In this case, you do not need to necessarily obsess over getting the scale exactly right, as the CAD programs will automatically create your floor plan to scale.
2. Online CAD Software
Most of the time, a CAD (computer aided design) software will make your life a lot easier.
You do not have to worry about scale, you can easily add and modify room sizes, add windows, door, and many more features such as furniture.
In some software you can also draw a floor plan and then easily convert it to a 3D model so you can go even further into your design.
If you are a amatuer designer or just looking to do a floor plan for one property, I highly recommend Planner5D.
Planner5D has a mobile app and you can design right from your device.
This a great, fun CAD program available fully online and also has a mobile app for the major operating systems. I personally have used Planner5D and is how I have drawn floor plans.
Here are some of the reasons to consider it.
• 2D floor plans and 3D renderings. Easily switch from 2D to 3D views. It is also has an augmented reality option on mobile.
• Try it for free. You can try it out for free with limited features. This gives you a chance to “try before you buy”.
• Huge catalog of furniture and design items. You can place the furniture, counters and more in your floor plan. You can also design the exterior. There are over 6,500 options of decor, furniture and fixtures.
• Affordable price. If you want to do one design, you can get a monthly subscription to unlock all features and download your design as a PDF. Compared to software designed for the pros (such as AutoCAD) it is a great price.
• Smart features. You can upload a floor plan and it will convert it to a project in the program so you can edit it. The program also easily lets you start a design on one platform and finish it on another.
• Design course. Whether you are looking to up your skills for drawing your own floor plan, drafting your dream home or want to become a pro, this course is available for premium users.
• Design battle. A really fun way to practice your design skills against other users!
Keep in mind: if you are looking for a professional software for long term use as an architect, you will probably want to go elsewhere. Planner5D was created with beginners and amateurs in mind.
There are design limitations that can only be addressed by using something more advanced.
If you are a pro, you may still have fun on the platform but most likely will be looking at the more powerful AutoCAD or something similar.
To make your floor plan, use your measurements and begin to create rooms in the Planner. Once you are done with a level, you can begin to add windows, doors and other fixtures to finish your level.
If you are looking to become an architect or other type of professional that will have more intensive design needs, then you may want to look at AutoDesk’s AutoCAD software.
AutoCAD is more expensive, although they have added some pay-as-you-go plans.
The software is extremely powerful, and considered the industry standard for floor plans, designs and other house and architectural plans.
It has features such as collaboration, tools for different industries needs and a full suite of features that allow you to create fully functional multi level building house plans and other plans and 3D renderings.
AutoDesk has different products for different purposes. AutoCAD LT is the most affordable option and made for 2D floor plans and drawings only.
3. Or…Get Affordable Floor Plans Done Online
If you want a quick shortcut to getting floor plans, there is always fiverr.
Fiverr will allow you to hire a freelance drafter to draw your floor plan. Different freelancers have different requests for what they need to actually create the plan.
But generally you will need room measurements and a very rough sketch.
There are also professional architects on fiverr who can help you with more advanced plans.
Drawing your own floor plans is possible, either by hand or with a CAD software. For both construction, architecture, engineering and interior design, floor plans are an essential part of building plans.
If you are a beginner or just want to try sketching out, or just looking to have fun or learn design and floor plans, there are easy to use online CAD programs available.
If you are a professional or are looking to become a professional (or have a large budget and lots of time to learn) then a more powerful software geared toward pros is for you.
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