When we plan to build a new home, the floor plan is a treasure map, written in a symbolic language and promising the fulfillment of a dream.

A floor plan is a lot more than lines and numbers. It is an intelligent insight for every home builder to understand the dynamics, limitations, and character of living spaces. It helps unify several dimensions easily and gives an overall understanding of space.

Welcome. In today’s blogpost, we uncover the basics of floor plans.

Floor Plan

Floor plans used to be called “blueprints.” They came in a roll and included all of the details required to build (or change) a home. Today, they still contain “building instructions” in the form of multiple pages of drawings, but most house plan are delivered as digital files and can be viewed on a screen or printed out onto regular paper for review, to get bids, or to submit for permits.

Floor plans are drawn to give you top view of a house’s layout and provide basic insights about it, such as the areas of each room, traffic patterns, and the like.

A brief study of a floor plan drawing will help you understand if an apartment or house is suited to your requirements. With an architect or interior designer’s help, you can also chalk out the right furniture and layout for each room, and identify essential civil changes as well. 

Types of Floor Plans

  • 2D Floor Plan: This is a flat representation that features the different measurements of your home as well as other technical information. It is the oldest type of floor plan.
  • 3D Floor Plan: As the name suggests, a 3D house layout plan comes with a 3D view. This type of plan includes complete furniture and furnishings, decor, as well as exterior features in order to provide a realistic perspective
  • Live 3D Floor Plan: This is the most realistic house plan with dimensions. Here, the client gets a virtual tour of the completed home

A plan “set” is the collection of all of the various individual pages that describe the house. Plan sets usually include: a site plan, building notes, floor plans for each level of the house, framing and roofing plans, electrical plans, plans for the mechanical systems, and construction details.

Design drawings” are floor plans that include a modest amount of information and are created to communicate a home design to non-professionals. “Working drawings” or “construction drawings” contain much more information: they are used to build the home. For the most part, this article refers to design drawings.

Floor Plan Symbols and Features


The walls are the strongest visual elements in a floor plan. Walls are represented by parallel lines and may be solid or filled with a pattern. Construction drawings will show you both interior and exterior walls.


A small break in the wall, followed by thin lines along the witdth, will let you know that there is a window in the space demarcated.


When a door is intended in the space, you will notice a break in the wall. The doors will be shown at right angles to the wall, with a small arc that let you know which way the door swings.


Stairs are drawn as a series of rectangles (usually with a direction arrow indicating whether the stairs travel up to the next higher floor or down). Where the stair rises three feet above the floor it is cut with a diagonal line. Stairs above the “cut line” are shown with dashed lines.

Furniture, Fixtures, Fittings, and Finishes

Several fixtures may be incorporated into the drawing. Although electrical plans may not be visible, light fixtures will be shown.  Most floor plans show the location of sinks, toilets, and other critical fixtures.

Skilled designers focus intently on locating kitchen and bath fixtures because they know that precise layout matters. The placement of a refrigerator in relation to the sink, oven and range can determine if a kitchen is comfortable or awkward. Similarly, a toilet placed too close to a vanity makes a bathroom difficult to use comfortably.

Key fixtures and appliances are pretty easy to spot. Designers may include flooring materials in their floor plans to provide scale and help the viewer imagine how a room will feel.

Open to Below (Ceiling Height)

This is not a common element on a floor plan. You may find this dimension on the lower floor plans if the house has multiple levels. Many new homes have entryways and “great rooms” with extra high ceilings. The lower floor may show the ceiling height numerically with a dashed line indicating the perimeter of the taller space.

Experiencing the Plan

A little preparation can go a long way toward evaluating floor plans. Start by creating a list of common and high-importance events and experiences. These might include: Walking in the front door for the first time. Lying in bed at night or waking up in the morning, getting dressed and ready for your day or to go out at night, preparing food daily and with friends, doing laundry and other chores, hanging out with the family reading, playing games, watching TV, entertaining a small group, throwing a big party.

Imagine how the plan will feel and work when you are doing the things that define your life. When planning your dream home, there is a tendency to value the unusual occurrences (greeting important guests at the entry, hosting a wedding dinner…) and less about regular daily use (taking off muddy boots, paying the bills). A truly successful home feels great every day. Think clearly about what your current (and past) house did well, not just where it falls short. A new house can add what is missing while providing many or all of the experiences that you appreciate in your current house.

When we read a floor plan with dimension we imagine the simple lines and arc’s stretching into walls, doors and windows, we imagine ourselves in a “home,” and we wonder how the spaces will feel both empty and filled with life. But the language of floor plans can be subtle.

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