A To Z Guide: How to Read Floor Plan Measurements

How to read floor plan measurements

Floor plans are essential when designing and building a home. Without a floor plan, it would be nearly impossible to know the dimensions of a room or where to put furniture. But reading floor plans can be tricky-especially if you're not familiar with the symbols and measurements used.  Unfortunately, most of these floor plans hardly come with detailed instructions on how to read floor plan measurements. This guide will help you make sense of floor plans to select one that meets your needs confidently.

What is a Floor Plan?

A floor plan is a visual representation of a building or structure. In the architectural sphere, a floor plan is regarded as the heart of any construction drawing and reveals the intricate aspects of a building. From the house type, design, and size, a floor plan showcases the structure, area, windows and door location, staircase, and other important building features.

On a first glance, viewing a floor plan with measurements may seem complex and confusing. But with proper guidance, a floor plan with dimensions is a clear revelation of what is to become of a cozy home. The easiest way to understand what a floor plan is all about is to imagine looking down on a kiddie’s toy house without its roof.

In the past, floor plans came in rolls and contained all the necessary information about a building construction. Today, floor plans can be created and viewed digitally with all the necessary building construction information embedded in its pages. Also, a floor plan may be categorized as design drawings and working drawings.

A design drawing is a floor plan that contains less information about the building and it is created to communicate a building design to non-construction professionals. While a working drawingis a floor plan that contains more information about a building and solely created for building the home. For the most part, this article will focus on reading design drawing measurements.

How to Read a Standard Floor Plan with Dimensions

In this section, you will learn how to read and identify several important plan symbols and their features.

Walls, Windows, and Door

The walls are the most important element in a floor plan. In a typical floor plan, the walls are designated with a parallel line. Depending on the building type, these lines may be solid or filled with a pattern. Breaks in a block of walls represent a door or window opening. It can also signify an opening between rooms.

For example in a door floor plan, the doors are shown with thin rectangles that are perpendicular to the wall and may include a quarter circle or arc to specify the swing of the door. Door types like the Pocket doors are designed as thin rectangles in a wall and the popular barn doors are shown as lines partially open alongside the wall.

Windows are drawn as three thin parallel lines within the wall and may carry a specific window size label or number. For most floor plans, the window measurements are displayed as four digits numbers—usually the first two digits signifies the height of the specific window and the second set is the width. Take for example, in a typical floor plan you will see 23:25, which signify that 2:3 meters height by 2:5 meters width.

Staircase Location 

Stairways are an important element in a floor plan and require proper attention to achieve its purpose. In a standard floor plan, staircases are designed as blocks of rectangles with an arrow signaling the direction of the stairs whether to the upward or downward floor. Stairs rising 3 ft. above the floor are represented with dashed lines after a diagonal cut.


For most floor plans, the ceiling transitions are not included due to their occurrences. However, in some floor plans, the lower floor may reflect the height of the ceiling numerically using a dashed line. Currently, most residential buildings are constructed with a ceiling height of 8 feet but several new homes now boast of a ceiling height of 10 feet. One of the major ideas behind the use of taller ceiling heights in new buildings is to create a perception of a spacious room.

Furthermore, some floor plans may highlight the ceiling height measurement on the floor plan, below the specific room dimension. Others may refer to these measurements with the use of symbols. It is important to note that the symbols associated with ceilings may differ depending on the ceiling plan. So, the ceiling height of a raised ceiling will be different from that of a tray ceiling, open to below area, and likewise that of a vaulted ceiling.

Furniture, Fixtures, Fittings, and Finishes

A typical floor plan will show areas that are designated for sinks, toilet, and other important fixtures. These designated areas are expressed through the use of symbols that are easy to identify and interprete. The placing of these fixtures will help you, and the builder visualize the comfort or discomfort of the adjoining areas.

Some of these fixtures may include kitchen cabinets, dishwashers, ovens, refrigerator, bathtubs, and microwaves amongst other essential items. Depending on your location and building codes, there are several standard symbols that represent these elements thereby making easy for non-professionals to read and understand.

Others may be drawn to scale to allow for easy identification. For example, dotted lines may be used to signify items like overhead kitchen cabinets. More importantly, with the adoption of digital representation, architects/designers may decide to include 3D furnishings like sofa, beds, and kitchen table to create a real-life representation of the space.


In recent times, floor plans with measurements consist of what is referred to as dimension strings to identify the location of doors, windows, walls, and other critical elements within the plan. Usually, these dimensional strings or sizes are represented using 45 degree hash marks to mark the start and end of these elements. For most floor plans, the dimensional strings are designed to be parallel to the element in question.

Design drawing floor plans typically include the individual measurements instead of the entire dimensions of the length and width of the whole building. During the drawing/design process of the floor plan, it is important that you factor in the dimension of any existing furniture or fixtures you intend to use in the new building.

Final Thoughts

Reading and understanding floor plan measurements may appear complex and confusing at first glance, but it can become easier with constant practice and access to multiple plans. Before you decide to build or purchase your new home, it is essential that you ask the builder to allow you to review the building floor plans. You should pay more attention to the placement of the windows since it gives you a better insight into the view and the reflection of light into your home space. Archimple is the best option for finding floor plan measurements.

You should also take into consideration the volume of the space. A good way to achieve this is to focus on the measurement and the potential obstructions that may occur. Understanding the jargon and symbols associated with floor plans will help you see your dream home differently.

Please note that the views shared above are for informational purposes only. Archimple LLC does not
guarantee the accuracy of the information shared above and will not be held
liable for any action taken based on the posted information. 

More To Read:

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2022

More Similar Posts

Bungalow Vs Craftsman House- What's Your Own Choice?

It is difficult to say which style is better, Bungalow Vs Craftsman. It depends on what you are look...

Carpet Vs Hardwood Health Benefits, Longevity, Price Point & More

Regarding home flooring, homeowners have many options, but two of the most popular choices are carpe...

Cost of Drafting House Plans- Revealing All Hidden Fees You Should Know About!

Drafting house plans is essential in any construction project, providing the blueprint for the entir...

Townhouse Vs Apartment Pros And Cons- An Ultimate Guide To Make You Satisfy!

Townhouse Vs Apartment are two popular options when choosing a place to call home. While both offer...

How Much Does A 12x24 Inground Pool Cost- Get The Clear Budget Concept!

Who won’t love to have a fascinating how much does a 12x24 inground pool cost besides one...

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mansion- Our Experts Opinion

Building a mansion is a dream for many people. It represents luxury, elegance, and a certain level o...