How to draw plans for loft conversions

Updated July 20, 2017

Many homeowners have looked up to the attic of their homes and wondered about its possibilities. The space of an attic can have many uses, including an extra bedroom for the house, a work room or storage space. Ideas for loft conversions are common, and like any home conversion, it requires consideration, precision, and in some cases, permission. Any successful loft conversion is going to start with a set of plans.

Measure and record the dimensions of the attic. The usable perimeter of the attic should be marked out on the floor. Measure the length of all four walls. Next, measure the length of the rafter joists. Measure from the floor to the rafter joists. Measurements should be made to within at least 1/8-inch accuracy.

Calculate the scale measurement for each square using a calculator and ruler. For example, if one wall measures 8 feet high and the graph paper has 30 squares vertically, you would multiply 8 feet by 12 inches to come up with 96 inches. Then divide 96 by 30 to come up with a scale of 3.2 inches per square. This means that each side of a square on the paper equals 3.2 inches on the wall. Having a scale will ensure that any dimensions drawn will be proportionate and accurate. The scale size must allow for as much accuracy as possible in the drawing.

Make a drawing, using the scale from Step 2, showing the room you want. Draw it as if you are looking down on it from above. This drawing should include all four walls, access/entry features and windows. Indicate the locations of electrical sockets and switches along the walls as well as support columns and anything else that will need to be taken into consideration when laying out the room. Include any other objects, such as stairway railings and windows, for consideration as well.

Draw views of each of the walls that have different features, showing all the features of the walls. Features to include on the drawing are windows, doors, heating/cooling vents, outlets/switches and plumbing fixtures.

Label the back of each page what is being shown, such as floor plan, north, south, east, west wall or ceiling. Indicate notations for standard heights of plumbing outlets and electrical devices.


Check with local authorities to determine the requirements for projects such as these, including permits. Some jurisdictions require architectural drawings to be made by certified architects. Indicate wall stud, floor and ceiling joist spacing on the pertinent drawings. Your graph paper should be large enough and its boxes small enough to ensure the highest degree of accuracy possible. Ideally, each box would represent 1 inch.


One major design consideration should be the load-bearing capabilities of the underlying structure. Find the original building plans whenever possible or consult a professional contractor if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil with eraser
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Calculator
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Mike Aguilar is a freelance writer with over 30 years of professional experience as a mechanic and over 10 years experience in the construction and home-improvement fields. He also attended an electrical apprenticeship for two years in Santa Clara, Calif., becoming a licensed low-voltage technician.