How to Use an Engineer's Ruler

Updated April 17, 2017

Learn how to use the engineer’s ruler, also commonly referred to as the architect’s triangle ruler. You will be able to create your own engineering or architectural design. Apply your designs to your room, kitchen, living room, bed room or anywhere you want. When you coordinate your room or home, it’s good to plan ahead of time before you move any heavy furniture or appliances. With the engineer’s ruler, you can accurately draw up your own plan on a piece of paper.

Read the engineer’s ruler. Familiarise yourself with the markings and indications of the engineer’s ruler before using.

Find the surface with the indication 1 at the left end and 1/2 at the right end, it will have a green line across in the middle. The one inch increments should be read from right to left. The numbers appear as 1, 2, 3 all the way to 10. This means one inch equals one foot with the lines spaced at 1 inch increments. A 1/2 inch increment should be read from left to right. The number appear as 0, 2, 4, 6 all the way up to 20. This means one inch equals one foot with the lines spaced at 1/2 inch increments. When you rotate the ruler 180 degree looking at the green lined surface, there is an 1/8 at the left end and a 1/4 at the right end.

Scale down a drawing using the engineer’s ruler. The engineer’s scale is graduated in 10ths. Decide on the ratio between the actual measurement of the room and the size on the paper you wish to represent the room. The ratio depends on how much you want to shrink the actual measurement on paper. Try a ratio of 1 foot to 1 inch. This means, 1 foot is represented by 1 inch on paper.

Pick a room you want to coordinate. Measure every wall and any furniture in the room with a measuring tape. Record your measurements using the formula 1"=1'.

Use a 1 foot in 1/4 inch ratio. For example, if one of the walls has 10 feet of width, then use the engineer’s ruler and find the 1/4 increments that are on the green lined surface, located on the right end. Measure from number 0 to 10 by reading the ruler from the left to the right. Draw a line on your drawing paper using the ruler as your guide. You should be getting 2 and 1/2 inches if you draw your line from the left “0” to the right “10”. Continue your drawing with the other walls in the room using the engineer’s ruler as your guide. Once you finish the first plan, you will be able to modify the coordination without moving the actual furniture. The measurement should be very accurate. Draw as many plans as possible to get the best coordination in your room! You will almost feel like becoming an interior coordinator.

Things You'll Need

  • Engineer’s ruler (Architect’s triangle ruler)
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