How to create a grid to scale on a floorplan

Written by shala munroe
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How to create a grid to scale on a floorplan
Creating a scale representation of your floor plan takes careful measuring. (bauen image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

Drawing a floor plan to scale can save you time and money. It will help you decide on a room layout before moving heavy furniture or determine the materials you need when creating a budget. Before painting or redecorating, creating a floor plan drawn to scale is a matter of careful measurement and attention to detail.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Graph paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Purchase a graph pad at an office or building supply store. There should be about four squares per inch on the grid. Each square will represent 12 inches of the wall of your room.

  2. 2

    Measure the length of one wall with the tape measure. If you are making a scale drawing based on a paper image of a floor plan instead of measuring an existing wall, use the wall-length measurements shown on the floor plan. The floor plan should show the wall length in feet and inches.

  3. 3

    Draw a line on the graph paper to represent the length of wall by counting the squares. For example, if the wall is 10 feet, 6 inches long, draw a line down 10 1/2 squares on your grid. Use your ruler to ensure you draw a straight line.

  4. 4

    Measure the length of each of the remaining walls and note them on the grid.

  5. 5

    Measure the distance each door and window opening is from the closest corner. Measure the width of each door and window opening. Add the doors and windows to the grid drawing of the room by counting the appropriate number of squares from the closest corner, then counting the correct number of squares to match the size of the opening. For example, if your door is 5 feet from the closest corner, mark the first side of the door five squares from that corner on the grid. If the door is 3 feet wide, mark the opposite side of the door opening three squares from the first mark.

  6. 6

    Measure the length of the walls under the stairs just like a normal wall on the first floor. Then, measure the width of the stairs. On the second floor, measure the walls or railings around the stairway opening. Draw the stairs as a rectangle on your grid, then add horizontal lines every two grid blocks to help you remember that the rectangle denotes the stairway. Add an upward-pointing arrow from the base of the stairs so you can easily recognise the bottom of the stairway for furniture placement purposes.

  7. 7

    Measure the location, length and widths of all built-in fixtures, such as fireplaces and kitchen islands, and add them to your grid. Be sure to draw them as rectangles so you will know how far into the room they protrude.

  8. 8

    Repeat the steps for each room to be included in your scale floor plan.

Tips and warnings

  • Draw windows as short double lines perpendicular to the wall line and doors with a line and an arc to show which direction the door opens.
  • Measure your furniture, and draw the scale shapes on a separate piece of grid paper. Cut out the shapes and place them on your scale drawing to determine the best room layout.

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