CHALLENGE: How important is it to
keep accurate measurements when working with floor plans and elevations?
I seem to be having trouble transferring my thought process onto paper.
Could you please offer some suggestions and tools that will assist me
with my floor plans? I have not received any guidance on this part of
the design process.
SOLUTION: Accurate, appropriate and well-understood floor plans and measurements are required for anyone working with interior spaces.
The ability to draw a room to accurate scale and then implement those measurements into real-life scenarios is absolutely necessary. I will offer some necessary points of reference to help you get started.
Tools Required: Floor plans are required of interior spaces to accurately depict the size of the space. Most designers will draw floor plans to a scale of 1/4-inch equals one foot. In other words, every foot of space is rendered as 1/4-inch on a drawn floor plan.
An architect’s scale can be purchased at an office supply or drafting supply store to help in drawing floor plans on non-ruled paper. Drafting paper ruled in a 1/4-inch scale or vellum also may be used to draw your floor plans.
Some additional tools to get you started would be:
• Drafting tape—to secure your drawing to the drafting table
• Mechanical pencils in various lead sizes
• Drawing erasers
• Erasing shield
• Triangles—for drawing lines that are not horizontal
• T-squares—to draw horizontal and vertical lines
• Compass—to draw circles, arcs and radii
• 1/4-inch residential templates—to draw in accurate furniture sizes
• Drawing board
• Protractor—for measuring angles
• Watercolor or acrylic paints to enhance your drawings
Procedure: A quick lesson in drawing to scale:
Walk into a room with pencil and paper in hand and on your drawing paper accurately mark your point of entry. Start with a rough sketch of the space in the form of a bubble diagram. That is, plot the room by sketching out simple circles and label the spaces. Then, refine your drawing by measuring the space with a heavy-duty tape measure. Record your measurements in feet and inches.
As I walk into a room, I always start from the left and move to the right. That way I am always sure of the areas I have measured. Remember to include all wall breaks, window areas, doorways, etc.
Now, take your measurements and transfer them to a 1/4-inch scale drawing. This will take some calculations.
Elevation Drawings: There are three types of perspectives:
3. Three-point—oblique perspective (Gener-ally for tall, commercial type buildings.)
Elevation drawings usually are rendered to a scale of one inch equals one foot. This assists your client in getting a true visual representation of what the space will look like. An elevation drawing is viewed as if you were viewing a photograph of a room. The room is in perspective.
This skill will take some time to develop as practice is needed to learn this process. There are many books that will help guide you through the process. The book Architecture—Residential Drawing and Design by Clois E. Kicklighter, Joan C. Kicklighter and Ronald J. Baird is recommended. It is a text I use in my classes.
There are additional books and magazines that also show floor plans and elevations that can be purchased over the counter. Magazines specializing in house plans are excellent sources. Visiting model homes will give you another source for viewing various drawn plans.
Be sure to practice, practice, practice and you will start to understand this process, which is so important for interior design.
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured in numerous books and publications.