How To Draw Floor Plans By Hand

Computer aided drawing has come a long way since its inception with more products offering ever efficient ways to streamline your process. Whether you find architectural software difficult to learn or are simply a purist, this article will show you how to draw floor plans by hand.

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Having gathered all your rough design sketches, to manually draw a floor plan, you need to have the adequate tools. A big flat table can suffice as a base for your drawing, however, a standard A1 drawing board is ideal to draw floor plans by hand as it will compensate for your sitting position. Some drawing boards come with a T square attached to it, however, if yours does not have one, you will need a metre-long T square. Other tools you will need are

  • a pair of set squares
  • a protractor
  • architectural scale rule
  • a compass
  • symbol templates
  • a 1 m steel ruler
  • erasers
  • clutch pencils (with 2H, H leads) and drawing pens
  • masking tape


To draw a floor plan manually, set up the drawing board in such a way that you have no shadows on your drawing surface, using artificial lights to cancel out any shadows that may appear on your surface. Wipe your drawing board and tools with a clean cloth preventing any debris from staining or scratching your paper, continuing to do so intermittently throughout your drawing process.

Lock your T square’s crossing bar along the vertical edge of the drawing board, with its long bar naturally along the length of your drawing board. This will work as the horizontal datum from which to set your paper. Sit the bottom of the paper onto the edge of the T-square and use masking tape to fix the bottom two corners onto the drawing board. As your paper is now fixed onto the drawing board, you can continue to stick the remaining corners, adding more where you feel you it’s needed.


Using a scale rule, fit the plan to a suitable ratio for the paper size you are drawing on. Ensure that you are using the same edge of the scale rule to mark out all the points you need when drawing your floor plan manually as a single incorrect dimension will distort the whole plan. Also, when placing your drawing on paper, take care to leave space for your title block, which will contain information about yourself, your client and the drawing on paper. Having set the extreme points of your floor plan, begin drawing with H pencils towards your dominant hand to minimize smudging.


As your extreme points are now marked out, you can proceed to join them. If they are too far apart but aligned use your T square, however if at an angle, your metre rule will suffice. Your set squares will work best for angles at 30, 60 and 45 degrees, and can also be manipulated to produce 15 degree angles. For more eccentric angles, a protractor is the best guide to mark out angles before joining them. Your compass will serve as the best tool for drawing curves with known centres, with French curves also providing an alternative, adding flair to your drawing. With this, any shape, with any angle and/or curve can be drawn. The next stage is to draw lines offset with a thickness determined by the material that will be used to construct them to represent the walls.


The next stage to drawing floor plans manually is to insert the doors and windows. After deciding on their location, add them in. Doors are drawn in such a way to represent the path of their swing, and a compass can be used for this. It is important to ensure that your doors function ergonomically and when your plan is built, that things will indeed fit through them. Windows are represented with a double line representing their thickness, within the walls previously drawn to represent the wall thickness and their length is up to you as the designer.


Once your walls, and openings are done the basic layout of your floor plan is now apparent to you, you can proceed to add fixtures and furniture. Using the symbol template of the relevant scale (symbol templates come in various architectural scales) you can stencil in the furniture of your choice. You then proceed to hatch your floor plan. Hatches are symbolic fills which inform other service providers in the construction of your floor plan on material utilization. As such, each material has its own hatch. It is therefore important to research these before you apply them on your floor plan. After all the drawing is done, you then turn your attention to labelling the plan with information like the room name, the floor level in that room as well as the name of the finish. you then complete the floor plan by adding in the relevant room dimensions.


Once your pencil work is complete, the final part of drawing floor plans manually is to darken it, in which case, B leads or architectural drawing pens will suffice, bringing depth to your drawing. It is important to remember at this point to draw towards your dominant hand as a smudge, and especially an ink one can undo all your previous neat work, which is a major pitfall when having decided to draw a floor plan manually. The principle of darkening your floor plan is that materials of a greater density such as concrete are depicted with a thicker line weight and that of a lighter density, such as glass, is drawn with a thinner line weight applied to it.


Draw out the title block and fill in details as to your name, the name of your client and the scale of the drawing and once this is done, you should now have a basic understanding of how to draw floor plans manually