What is a Floor Plan?

A floor plan is a drawing that shows a room as seen from above. Everything in a floor plan appears flat. Architects use floor plans to show what a room or building will look like. Anyone who draws (or drafts) a floor plan is called a draftsperson.

Floor plans usually show the measurements (called dimension lines) for how long things are in real life. In the example to the right, the back wall is 24 feet long in real life and the side wall is 30 feet long. Other dimension lines may show the length of windows, the distances from walls to windows, and so on.

Floor plans may be drafted to scale, which means reducing the size of a drawing so the whole room can fit on a piece of paper. A common scale is 1/4 inch equals 1 foot. This means that if something is drawn 1/4 inch long in a floor plan, it is 1 foot long in real life. In the drawing to the right, the back wall is 6 inches long on paper, so it is 24 feet long in real life. If something is drawn the exact same size as it is in real life, it is called "full scale." A draftsperson always indicates the scale used in a floor plan.

Floor plans may be drafted by hand with a pencil (to draw thick or thin lines), ruler (to draw straight lines to a specific length), a protractor (to draw the angles where walls meet), and graph paper (which usually has 1/4 inch boxes, to make floor plans easier to draft in 1/4"=1' scale). They can also be drafted by computer, using CAD (computer-aided design) software, such as AutoCAD or MS PowerPoint. CAD software makes it very easy to draft scale drawings.

 
 Click here to see more examples of floor plans.

The above picture is a floor plan, drawn to scale using CAD software, with dimensions shown.

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