The floor plan, or strategy, is that the most typical of architectural drawings. From builders to architects, Realtors to appraisers, everyone uses a floor plan. More than likely this is because the floor plan is the one drawing which tells us the most about a house. By the kind of house to the magnitude of the house, a floor plan reveals region, structure, flow pattern, stair place, door and door locations, room design and so much more.

While floor plans do reveal a lot about the functional characteristics of a house, they often lack the information required to describe the home’s overall feel. This is because they can’t easily show us what is going on in the next dimension. So when buying floor plan, keep in mind that you’re looking at just one view of the house and you will want to check at other perspectives to actually know all the home’s attributes.

Having said that, let’s look at what a floor plan shows.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

The overall floor plan gives a flattened, two-dimensional bird’s-eye view of a floor level in the house. (Click here to view an enlarged version.) Each room is shown, as are of the doors, walls, doors, stairs, walls, cabinets, appliances, plumbing fixtures and furniture.

The rooms have been tagged so we know where each operational area is in connection to another area. And we will have the ability to see how we can get from room to room. Because windows and doors have been shown, we can observe how each relates to the others and to other things in a space. For example, we will have the ability to see if doors and windows are aligned to create view corridors.

I find that the best way to understand that a strategy would be to put yourself inside and “walk” around the house. As you take this virtual walk, record what you see, what you believe and how you get from room to room. Another way to comprehend the plan would be to virtually put yourself in the midst of a room and record what you find as you appear in at least four directions.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Each plan should incorporate a legend that indicates what the project is and what floor the strategy is of. The legend must also incorporate the scale (1/4 inch equals 1 foot; 1/8 inch equals 1 foot etc.) where the floor plan is drawn. At times the scale can be composed out, while other situations a image scale, such as shown here, is supplied. A graphic scale is helpful once the drawing gets reduced or enlarged or changed so that putting a ruler on the strategy to measure distances no more assists.

A legend may also incorporate a north arrow. In fact, it’s a drawing conference the top of the landing page is always north.

Other things which may be contained in a legend are the owners’ names, the project speech, the architect as well as other designers’ names and the date (especially important with a construction drawing so revisions can be managed).

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Walls have to be the most important architectural element shown in any strategy. Whether exterior or interior, walls are the components that form the rooms and the overall house. Sometimes thin, like in a 2-by-4 wood-frame house, and sometimes warmer, like in a masonry house, walls should be drawn to indicate this thickness.

Walls are drawn as parallel lines with fractures where windows and doors happen. An especially useful drawing conference that’s employed in a remodeling or addition project would be to show the existing walls with no fill between the parallel lines while showing the walls using a dark or pattern colour between the lines.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

While an overall floor plan is commonly at a scale of 1/4 inch equals 1 foot, certain rooms have been drawn at a larger scale — say, 1/2 inch equals 1 foot. This is how it is with kitchens and bathrooms, as these rooms are often the most complicated in a house. Cabinets, appliances, plumbing fixtures etc. can be located and clearly shown in these larger-scale drawings.

It’s often a fantastic idea to have inside elevations drawn for these rooms. While we can see in the design where the cabinets, appliances etc. are situated, we don’t know their height, type, or design. Only within an interior elevation will we view that this advice, because this drawing looks across straight at wall or other vertical surface.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Floor and windows are two of the most important elements displayed on a floor plan. Each door and window is given a place and size. While windows are displayed using three parallel lines in a wall, doors are typically displayed as a straight line perpendicular to a wall and an arc which connects on the line to the wall. The excellent thing about showing a door similar to this is that we know which side gets the hinges and which area the door opens to. For example, in this case the door leading into the cabinet is hinged on the left (if you’re standing outside the pantry) and opens to the pantry.

Note that for the mudroom, the two doors leading into the space are straight across from each other. This creates not only a strong circulation pattern but also a sight line which reinforces the pattern.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

A French , or double door is signaled by two arcs and lines, as two single doorways coming together. As with a single door, the management of the door swing is signaled. In this case, the door swings to the living space, something which’s important to know when putting furniture in the room.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

The fireplace is just another architectural element displayed in a floor plan. It’s shown as an outer rectangle indicating the exterior wall of the chimney or fireplace and the inner rectangle indicating the firebox (the place where the fire actually burns).

As with many such things, the strategy will indicate the relationship between the fireplace and the other elements of the space. Hence that the plan tells us if the fireplace is based in the area, between windows or anything else — all very important info. But it won’t supply any third-dimension info.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

A stairway is a really important architectural element. Stairs occupy a significant amount of floor area and also have an impact on headroom, therefore accurately showing the stair in design is extremely important. Drawn as a series of parallel lines, a staircase also features an arrow and a note indicating the direction of travel, either up or down.

Modern building codes have a significant effect on the size and arrangement of stairs. From diameter to riser height to tread breadth and railing issues, no stair should be designed without a comprehensive comprehension of those codes.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

While ceiling alterations aren’t easily shown in a floor plan because they occur above, drawing conventions can reveal them. Dashed lines, like in the drawing here, allude to a change in the ceiling above the floor. We may not know what exactly this ceiling change is, but we know there’s a change, and we can then go to other drawings, such as a segment (a vertical slice through the house instead of the horizontal slit a floor plan is), to learn more.

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