How to Measure and Draw Floor Plans to Scale

Drawing a floor plan to scale is an important skill for designers and builders to master. Whether you’re a contractor planning a new home design or a designer creating a furniture layout, accurate floor plans are a must. However, traditional methods for creating floor plans are often time-consuming, overly complicated, or less than accurate.

Finally, there’s a better way.

In this 5-minute read, we’ll share some pro tips that help you measure and draw a floor plan faster than ever. Plus, you’ll see how easy it is to create 2D and 3D floor plans with modern design software like Cedreo. Then you’ll be able to use those designs to impress clients and land more deals.

Let’s start with some tips for accurately measuring the floor plan.

UI shot of the Layout step
Note: If you need to draw the floor plan from scratch for a new building or already have an existing plan in JPG or PNG format, skip to the second section “Draw Floor Plans to Scale”.

Accurately Measure Floor Plan Dimensions

Before you start to draw a floor plan, you first need the measurements. It’s time to get out your tape measurer and a pen and paper. You can use graph paper and an architect’s ruler as well, but they’re not really necessary for this step. The idea at this point is to make a rough sketch with measurements that you can then refer to as you draw the floor plan in Cedreo.

Although it’s important to be accurate, the degree of accuracy will depend on your project. If you’re drawing a plan to help layout furniture, you can get away with being accurate down to the nearest inch. If your project includes installing kitchen cabinets or bathroom fixtures, then you need to be as accurate as possible (down to the nearest ¼” or ⅛”).

#1 Measure the room or building perimeter

Being by measuring the perimeter, starting with the longest wall. As you measure, start drawing a rough sketch of the space and add notes with the dimensions. If you’re measuring an entire house or a large room, it’s best to work with a helper. And if you’re running your tape measure along the floor, be sure to account for any baseboard trim. This could affect your measurement by ¾” or more.

#2 Measure interior and exterior walls

Now, continue measuring the remaining interior and/or exterior walls. Don’t worry about door and window openings at this point. As you measure, add the walls and accompanying measurements to your sketch.

#3 Measure doors and windows

Once you’ve finished with all the walls, it’s time to add the wall openings. When measuring an opening, start by measuring from the nearest corner to the inside of the door or window jamb. Then measure the width between each side of the door or window jamb. Don’t forget to measure the height of each window or door, as well as how many inches it is from the floor (in the case of the windows). This will come in handy later when creating the 3D plans.

As you add the doors to your sketch, don’t forget to mark which way the door opens. And depending on how detailed you need your plans to be, you can also measure and take note of things like the type of casing around the openings as well as how many inches wide it is.

#4 Measure any existing or new built-in fixtures

The floor plan must be designed according to the family standard of living as some outstanding architectural ideas can be more expensive to build but also involve high monthly spends afterward like high vaulted ceilings or large spiral staircases.

#5 Measure wall elevations

Mark the height of the walls. If needed, you can make an elevation sketch that is basically a view of a wall as if you were looking straight at it. An elevation sketch is a good place to mark the height of windows, cabinets, and other fixtures.

#6 Take note of room layout and dimensions

Review your notes and complete your sketch of the space. Double-check what you’ve measured and make sure you’re not missing anything. A complete set of dimensions will streamline the drawing process once you’re ready to create the floor plans to scale.

Draw Floor Plans to Scale

Now that you have sketched a layout and measured the dimensions, it's time to draw the final floor plan to scale so it can be shared with your team and clients. You could use a CAD program for this step, but modern home design programs like Cedreo make it so much faster.

Import floor plan

Cedreo lets you quickly import an existing floor plan in JPG or PNG format. Even if you have drawings in PDF or DWG format, you can simply take a screengrab and import it into the Cedreo floor plan designer. Then adjust the scale and trace over the existing plan.
UI shot of the trace image option

Draw exterior and interior walls

Whether you’re working with a rough floor plan sketch or an imported plan, Cedreo’s continuous drawing mode streamlines the layout process. Each click is an angle, so basic rooms can be drawn in just four clicks. As you draw, you can quickly switch between wall types. Plus, you’ll see updated dimensions as you work.
UI shot of the layout step

Label rooms

If the floor plan includes multiple rooms, it’s helpful to label each (kitchen, living room, master bedroom, etc.). This is especially helpful for clients because it makes the 2D plans easier to understand. And once you’re finished, you’ll be able to see the surface area calculations for each room type.
UI shot label rooms

Add wall openings and windows

Choose from 650+ doors and windows in Cedreo’s design library. Just drag-and-drop them to their positions on each interior and exterior wall. Then customize the dimensions of each opening according to what you’ve marked in your sketches. Cedreo even gives you the ability to customize design features like trim, window sills, and shutters.
UI shot of the openings step

Include dimensions

As you draw the floor plan to scale, double check the measurements in Cedreo with what you wrote down as you were measuring the space. If you have to adjust a door or change the size of a room, Cedreo makes it easy. Just click on walls to move them or resize them, or type in new measurements. In the Plan tab, you can also customize which measurements will appear on the final plan you share with your clients.
UI shot set up dimensions

Add furnishings

Now it’s time to really make the drawings come to life. Drag-and-drop furniture onto the 2D and 3D plans. As you add furniture, Cedreo gives you the flexibility to customize the dimensions of each piece.
UI shot Furnishings step

Check layout in 3D view

One huge advantage of drawing a floor plan to scale in Cedreo is that you can simultaneously view the 2D and 3D plans. Instead of having to switch windows to see your 3D plan with each change you make in 2D, you’ll instantly see it reflected in the 3D drawing window. This is really nice for visualizing the functionality and flow of the space as you draw.
UI shot visual HD step

Finalize surface area table

In Cedreo, go to Plan > Table Area and select which rooms you would like included in the final surface area calculations you’ll share with your client.
UI shot plan step surface area table

Download and share

Once your design is finished, Cedreo gives you the option to download the 2D plans to scale in PDF format. These are perfect for presenting to clients or printing for use during the construction process. You can also download 3D renderings in JPG and PNG formats for easy sharing with your clients. These photorealistic renderings add a professional touch to your presentations so you can close more deals.

Draw Floor Plans to Scale!