DIY DESIGN: creating simple elevations

This quick tutorial will give you a basic guideline on how to create your own elevation drawings for your renovation.  To create these you’ll need to start with a scaled floor plan.  Find out how to do that here.

Creating an elevation, or a ‘wall view’ of the room you are designing, gives you a different perspective on the space, and allows you to plan vertically.  Drawing these to scale will let you test out different wall mounted elements, and furniture or fixture heights.  This can help when selecting lighting heights and artwork locations, as well as furniture requirements.  How these elements look is important, but remember to follow your local building codes when it comes to lighting and fixture heights.

To create a scaled elevation start with the scaled floor plan you’ve already created.  You will draw an elevation for each wall.  In this scenario I have 4 walls to draw.

Starting with the overall length of the wall, 114.5″ (or 9′-6.5″) in this case, use your ruler to draw the length of the wall to scale at the bottom of your page.  Use the same scaling process you used to draw your floor plan.  If the wall changes depth, as it does here, draw a vertical line to represent where there is a change in depth.  In this case I have a wall 73.5″ which is a little niche that then juts out and continues for 41″ further.

Then, again using that ruler to scale, draw your vertical lines at the proper height.  In this case the ceiling is 8′-0″.  These drawings are 2-dimensional, they won’t show the 30.5″ wall that juts back, this elevation will only show what you see looking straight on.  Once we move over to draw the adjoining wall (the tub wall) you will see the 30.5″ wall included there.

Once you have the base of the room, its height and widths, you can start adding furniture, fixtures and any other elements that will show on that wall.  Remember to use your scale when adding in the height of these items so you get an idea of how much space you actually have vertically.

Repeat this process for each wall, and label them accordingly.  I like to use a sketchy style to test out design ideas, but will create a more simplified elevation that includes noting the dimension heights for more functional use. Have fun with the process!  You can draw out bunches of these little mini’s without putting one hole in a wall.  Happy planning!


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