ATTENTION WANNABE FLOORPLANNERS: Preparing and drawing up your own house plans might sound like a tricky thing to do and best left to professionals.
But take it from me, it’s really easy once you know the few tricks of the trade I’m gonna share with you here.
I’m going to show you what equipment you need and a step by step method for drawing your own plans.
After you go through this blog post you’ll be drawing up plans like there’s no tomorrow!
But why bother being your own floorplanner and draw up your own plans in the first place?
Well, drawing up your own house plans will give you a good idea about how much space you actually have in your home and what you can realistically do with it.
A good set of house plans can really help you create your home just the way you want it.
Hiring someone to draw up plans for your house can be expensive and the truth is they won’t always be accurate either!
I’ve worked on many projects back in the day where the plans were wrong and this was only discovered way down the line.
I remember one job many years ago in Radlett in Hertfordshire where the client had previously hired a floorplanner to draw up some plans only to discover they were wrong when the builder was on site and had partially built a rear extension.
This resulted in costly re-designs because room layouts were affected, and it got even more expensive when the builder has to re-price things that had to be changed, not to mention the added extra time it added to the project too!
I think it put him nearly £40,000.00 out of pocket.
It can be a total mess but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Far from it and you are going to discover here just how easy it is to be your own floorplanner and draw up your own house plans .
I’ll also give you a few of my own personal tricks that I use to make sure that the plans are accurate – all of the time!
Floorplanner Equipment: What You Need
You will need a little bit of equipment to do this:
- Pencil & eraser (not a pen!)
- A4 sheets of paper on clip board– one sheet for every room you want to sketch out
- Measuring tape – the longer the better
- A ruler (preferably a scale ruler)
- Someone to help you – you can’t do it alone!
Firstly I recommend you use a pencil & eraser rather than a pen.
The obvious reason here is that it gives you an opportunity to rub out mistakes and believe me when you are writing out a whole load of lines & numbers, you will make mistakes.
I know I still do and I have done this a thousand times.
Have some A4 sheets on a clip board so you have something solid to sketch on.
A little tip here is that I usually always use graph paper which you can get in any arts & crafts store but is quite expensive.
So instead of splashing out on the stuff, I have attached 2 PDF’s of graph sketch paper for you to simply print off and use.
Here’s A4 Size: BHD A4 SKETCH SHEET.
Here’s A3 Size: BHD A3 SKETCH SHEET.
Graph paper makes it much easier to see what you are drawing, all floorplanners use them.
The graph paper I have supplied here for you is easy to use if you are using metric units, i.e. millimetres, centimetres & metres.
I do recommend you sketch in the metric system rather than imperial which is in feet and inches.
Imperial isn’t really used that much anymore here in the UK although it is still common practise in the US.
When it comes to a measuring tape, as much as I hate to say this as a blow to my male ego but longer really is better.
You can go all out and get a 30m surveyors tape which are very cheap (I think around £6 on Amazon) or a 8m tape will do the job either.
I prefer the surveyors tape as it’s light and easy to use and you can get longer dimensions in one measure.
Measuring a single dimension in increments will mean mistakes somewhere, it’s inevitable.
The major thing about measuring is that you will need someone else to help you with the tape, it’s pretty much impossible to do it on your own.
They can either hold the end of the tape for you or read the measurements and you hold the tape, it’s up to you.
Why Plans Are Often Wrong
When plans are found to be wrong, the cause is always the measuring bit. Always.
Here are a few ways to make sure that your plans are correct every time.
Next, when you have measured up each room always, and I mean always, take the diagonal dimensions too, from corner to corner.
This is your back check.
If you wanna go a bit advanced you can also measure ceiling heights in each room and note wall thicknesses and what they walls are made of, i.e. timber or masonry.
Next step is to draw up each room more accurately with a ruler.
Now a scale ruler is normally used as it allows you to draw up your rooms at a scale, normally 1:25 or 1:50 for each room is sufficient
However, that’s already built in with the graph paper I have supplied you here so a normal ruler will do but with that said a scale ruler will make it a lot easier as it will do all the math for you.
The scales on the graph paper are as follows:
- 2 squares would equal 1m at 1:100 scale
- 4 squares would equal 1m at 1:50 scale
- Existing power & phone points and any light
- 8 squares would equal 1m at 1:25 scale
If you find that the dimensions of your rooms don’t tally up with the diagonal dimensions then you have taken a wrong measurement somewhere. Just go and measure the room again.
INSIDER TIP: If you hire a professional floorplanner to do this for you and they find that they have taken a wrong dimension somewhere they will not be inclined to come back when they have found the mistake so they will usually just fudge the plan instead.
If you are hiring someone don’t assume the plans you’ve got are right.
Either insist they check them or just check them yourself
What To Draw On Your House Plans
Here are some standard items a floorplanner will draw up in a room :
- Plot out the walls
- Windows and doors (make sure to include the sweep of the door)
- Fireplaces, chimneys breasts
- Existing power & phone points and any light switches
- Plumbing & drainage if applicable
- Changes in floor level & ceiling heights
What To Do With Each Plan
A single room plan can give you a tremendous amount of information.
You can play around with furniture layouts and find out which one is best for you. It will tell you if the rooms are too small or big for what you intend to use them for.
You can plot pathways through the room.
This is where people are likely to travel through the room, a good place to start here is between 2 doors into a room, or if you are planning a dining room, to make sure everyone has space to walk around the table.
Putting Your Full House Plans Together
The last bit is now to revisit the rooms and start to sketch out how each room relates to each other dimension-wise.
This is the most difficult part and even professional floorplanners screw this up.
This is ESSENTIAL if you are planning a complete layout change to your home.
It’s always easier to do this bit with an accurate set of room plans and doesn’t take long at all.
Doing this step whilst measuring up the rooms in the first place can be confusing so I recommend revisiting this step with a nice set of accurate plans and a clear mind.
Simply measure the distance of adjacent room walls to the connecting doors or corridors and then draw it all up as one floor.
Basically the trick here is to plot each room in relation to the connecting pieces which are either the doors or corridors.
Doing It On Computer – Be A Pro Floorplanner
Once you have measured and sketched up your home you can go really fancy and transfer your efforts on to a computer.
The standard piece of software used in the industry is called Autocad and is made by a company called Autodesk.
It is however very expensive and a lot more than you will need to draw up your plans.
However there are a lot of free and inexpensive products online. Just type in ‘free drawing software for plans’ in Google and you’ll see what I mean.
I have to admit that I haven’t tried many of them as I use Autocad but a quick look at some online forums will give you a good idea what to go for but let’s face it if the software is free, just try it out and see for yourself if it suits your use for it.
So there you have it, the simple steps in drawing up your own house plans.
Not exactly rocket science and it’s good fun doing it too.
It will give you a real helping hand in visualising what you can do with your home and well as give you a feel for what changes you can make.
But this is just the beginning.
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