What you need to know about floor plans

If you are about to have a home constructed for the first time, you may be a bit worried about things.

You must have heard the word floor plan being thrown about by a builder or architect and you might have wondered what exactly a floor plan is and what it can do for your home. The following is important information regarding floor plans.

What exactly is a floor plan?

A floor plan comprises of in scale drawings made from the perspective of the relationship between the different rooms and spaces on a single level of a building. A correctly drawn floor plan allows you to view the layout of the home and get a clear understanding of how it might look like once it has been constructed. Your custom builder would make sure that the included dimensions in the floor plan allow you to get an idea regarding the size of each space.

It is crucial that you are able to understand the floor plan so that you can make decisions based on whether you want certain primary inclusions in your home. A floor plan can allow you to find out how many bedrooms and bathrooms your home would have. It would also allow you to understand whether the layout of your home is an open-plan. Whether the rooms are connected or it comprises of several walls which might help demarcate the boundaries between each of these rooms.

Each floor plan is different because it is only a starting point and a simple diagram which would demonstrate the layout. However, these allow you to picture of what you can expect for your living or workspace. Although it should be kept in mind that these floor plans do not offer all the information required for construction but are just a general overview of what the builder envisions your home to look like after it has been constructed.

The contractor would make use of building plans which include the complete blueprints and construction ready drawings which have more in-depth information. However, as a lay person you might only be interested in the floor plans and not the actual building plans because it requires a lot of technical expertise.

Tips for reading a floor plan

A floor plan comprises of a number of details and your builder might make use of various symbols to indicate different features in your home. There are standard symbols and abbreviations which would make it easier to read the plan. Keep in mind that every floorplan you receive would include a symbol so that you can figure out what each of these indicate. There are also some notes which would provide additional information for the building. The symbols which are used on a floor plan fall within three categories; appearance, conventions and labels.

Some of the common symbols that you would find in a floor plan include:

The scale

The scale would allow you to know how long a room is in feet or inches. Your architect might use the metric system.

The compass

The compass allows you to understand the orientation of your property for example it would be able to tell you whether your property faces North or South.

The wall symbol

Walls are generally represented by two parallel lines. The outer one represents the exterior wall and the inner represents the interior wall.

The door symbols

There are different symbols for the doors and which represent a number of styles. Each of these can represent a single door, a double door, sliding door, bi-fold door and a pocket door.


Three parallel lines denote Windows in a single casement.


Steps in a floor plan are indicated by a number of lines and arrows. The style of the symbol will indicate whether the stairs are going straight up, whether they change direction half way or are circular.

Kitchen fittings

Different symbols that represent appliances include a sink or a sink which comes with the draining board, a dishwasher and even a cooktop and a refrigerator.

Bathroom fixtures

Bathroom fixtures might be represented as a bath, a corner bath or shower, a sink, a double sink, a toilet and a bidet.

The correct way to read floor plan measurements

If you want to know about the actual size of the room you can find it out by taking a look at the width and the height details which are provided in the middle of the floor plan. Also it might also be written next to a wall along a line with an arrow at each end. If you are looking for fittings and fixtures, these are shown clearly on the floor plan and if you want to change the positions you can do so before hand so that there is no problem later on.

What information you can’t get out of your floor plan

A floor plan can give you loads of information but it should be kept in mind that those are one dimensional and may not show you the home from a designers perspective.

If you are going for a customised house plan it might not be easy for you to understand how your home is going to look and it is finished by taking a look at the floor plan only. There has been a great deal of changes in design trends and the capabilities have become more unique and creative therefore floor plans are not a very reliable way of getting a feel of the home. There are some home designers who have started creating 3D models which allow for better visualisation of how your home would look once it is completed.

A floor plan is not the only way of understanding what the house will look like once it is built. However, people can still decide to change the positioning of the doors and the windows. Keep in mind that floor plans are only the first step in designing your home. On the other hand you may also need to take a look at some of the display homes designed by a builder to get an accurate idea.

Talk to a building consultant

In order to get a proper Idea regarding the design process and construction of a new home it is advisable to have a detailed talk with your building contractor. They would help you to find the perfect plan for your budget and lifestyle.