How to Layout a Floor Plan to Scale

Sometime last year, I started rearranging my craft room.  To avoid moving large pieces of furniture around repeatedly, I made a scaled floor plan & furniture pieces.  Paper is much easier to move around than heavy furniture!  Given my background as a drafter, this was an easy thing for me to do.  I thought it would be useful to share how to layout a floor plan to scale with all my fellow DIYers & other furniture mover-around-ers.  Laying it out on paper first can make things go much smoother, which means less frustration & less bringing in things that just don’t fit!

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission if you buy something through my link or ad.  This does not change your cost it just helps keep this blog running.  Thanks for your support!  See Privacy Policy & Affiliates page for more information.

The Materials

There are several programs out there {free & paid} that allow you layout a room on your computer, some even have 3D options.  I spend enough time on the computer & just enjoy putting pencil to paper when I can.  A sheet of graph paper, ruler {or scale}, & pencil are just about all you need to get started.  Well, snacks are always good too! ; )

I really like buying graph paper pads, so all my sketches & designs stay in one place.  The 1/4″ graph layout is the most common one, but they come in 1/2″ & 1/8″ as well.  I also found a website that has free printable graph paper in all the sizes & two colors.

I printed out a test sheet of the free graph paper & put it to the ruler test…..

The grid is fairly close to being perfect – within 1/32″ – which is the same as my graph paper pad.  That’s up to standards for me!

Templates are available for standard furniture, but not necessary if you’re okay with using a measuring tape.  Plus, things are not always standard, especially DIY projects!

A calculator that figures your unit of measurement is always handy to have while figuring things out.  I got the material estimator calculator {in the pic above} at Home Depot many years ago & it’s been very useful over the course of my DIY adventures.

The Layout

Okay, this is the original plan I laid out for my craft room.  Things have been added & moved around since this was drawn.

Why does it look so crumpled?  Teenage boys!  I took this to my classroom to show how drafting could be useful in everyday life.  At the end of class, while waiting on the bell to ring, my students decided it was time to wad up paper and throw it.  My lovely drawing was a victim of the paper war.  Grrr!

Anyway, I’m hoping to move my craft room to my son’s room once he leaves for college.  I already have a plan sketched out with doors & windows marked & dimensions noted.  Something important to think about when rearranging the room is door swing.  Nothing is more frustrating than realizing your lovely new bookshelf is keeping the door from opening!

The graph paper I used has 1/4″ squares which works great for a 1/4″ = 1′-0″ scale.  That means for every foot I measure in real life, I can mark one square on the paper.  Then I’ll know it’s accurate, just scaled down to be more manageable.


Since that would make a super tiny sketch, I’m going to use 1/2″ = 1′-0″ for my scale.  So I’ll use 2 boxes for every foot I measure, since there are two 1/4″ in a 1/2″.  What about inches?  That’s where my architectural scale comes in handy – this is going to get technical for a minute, so bear with me!

A scale has measurements coming from both ends, that’s why some of the marks appear to be out-of-order.  Basically you would find the scale you want to use, in this case 1/2″.  The marks to the left of the “0” are for foot measurements & the marks to the right of the “0” are for inches.  The inch side is broken down into increments that match a 12″ {1′} ruler.  Longer lines indicate 3″, 6″, & 9″.  Between those lines you can see slightly shorter marks for 1″, 2″, etc. & the smallest lines would be for 1/2″ increments.

If all that left you a little confused, you can also just use the grid lines.  Every two boxes equals a foot, so the line in the middle is 6″ & half of a box will be 3″.  This will help you get closer to the true size of the object your scaling down without a scale!

I label all my furniture so I will remember what it is & the overall size – including height.  That really helps when you want to put something under a window or floating shelf.

Once I’ve made all my furniture pieces, I like to shade them with a color pencil.  This just helps them stand out on the floor plan.  I use a standard glue stick {not the permanent one} to hold things in place when I like the layout.  It’s easier to move if I change my mind!

Something I’ve realized in doing all of this is that my son’s room is actually 10 square feet smaller than my current craft room!  All this time I thought it was bigger!  It does have more free vertical wall space – not as many doors.  I’ll have to play around with it to see if it’s worth the move…..

That’s it for today and hopefully I didn’t confuse anyone with that scale!

Pin it for later!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in DIY.

Leave a Reply