DIY DESIGN: Creating a simplified floor plan to scale

This quick tutorial will show you how to take the measurements of your space and turn them into a floor plan that is to scale, or directly proportionate to what is actually happening in the space.  These drawings will let you quickly reference how a new piece will fit (or if it will fit **crosses fingers**) and how it will work with existing elements in the room (walls, and other items that are not moving ie. the toilet shown here).


First get out your trusty tape measure, a piece of paper and a pen.  Outline the shape of the space roughly, as shown above.  Make sure you show your doors and windows, along with any elements that are permanent in the room.  Go around the room measuring each wall length and mark it on your rough drawing.  Keep going until you are back where you started. Don’t forget to measure doors, and door openings.



Now that you have all your measurements you can transfer them on to another drawing that will be to scale.  You’ll need a ruler, paper and pen.

To begin you will have to choose what scale you want to work in.  I use 1/2″ for small spaces as its big enough to show detail but still fits on the page.  What 1/2″ scale means is pretty simple.  All it translates into is 1/2″ on your ruler is equal to 1 foot in the actual space.

Above I have taken one wall, the 73.5″ wall (which is 6 feet 1 inch) and drawn it to scale using my ruler.  I measure out 6 of the 1/2 inches, plus a little past the 6th to account for the extra 1/5″. Visually on your ruler you can cut the 1/2″ in half again and that is your 6″ mark, you can extrapolate inches from there.

Drawing my next wall to scale, which is 30.5″ (or 2′-6.5″) I repeat the same process.  I draw out 2 of the half 1/2 inch marks on my ruler, plus a quarter inch (or half of a half inch) to account for the 6″.

You can continue all the way around until you end up where you’ve started.  In theory, and if you’ve measured each wall, properly you should even out in the right spot!  Make sure to go back and label each wall length so you always have that information with you, you don’t want to measure your drawing each time. Show your doors as open (this prevents you from accidentally placing something too close and preventing the door from opening) and also to scale.  Measure the width of doors and add that to your drawing.

and TA-DA! You’ve got yourself a fancy little floor plan to scale.

If you have any other elements to add, like the toilet shown here, you can measure to one side of it (from the closest wall) measure the width of the toilet, and draw it in.  Alternatively, you can measure to the centre of the toilet (as I’ve done above) and extrapolate the edges by knowing (or noting) your toilets overall width.

If you want to take your drawings even further you can follow up with some scaled elevations.  Check that tutorial out here, and for more DIY design tips have a look at this post too.  Good luck, you DIY rebels!


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