How to Read Floor Plans

Shopping for a new home is great, and understanding what you’re looking at makes it even better. At HBFA, we get it, renderings and floor plans can be a bit intimidating for new home shoppers. By understanding how to read floor plans, you can get a better idea of your home's potential layout and whether it will meet your needs. Floor plans can also help you visualize how the home will look once it's completed. (Pretty cool, right?) Floor plans are a crucial part of the home construction journey, so today we’re empowering you with the tools you need to read floor plans like a pro!

What is a floor plan?

A floor plan is the backbone of the new home build. Much like a map, it is a two-dimensional drawing that shows the interior of your new space from above. The floor plan shows the home’s layout, including the location of rooms, doors, and windows. The floor plan can also show furniture and other features of the home Most floor plans will have a legend to help you read what is included in the drawing.

How to read a floor plan?

When it comes to reading floor plans, there are a few tips that can help you better understand exactly what you're looking at.

The first tip is to locate the compass. This little directional will help you define 'North'. Why does that matter to you? Well, simply put, it will help you visualize where the sun will move throughout your home and if you’ll be getting enough of it. Shall golden hour be in the living room? Or is it better in the kitchen? The compass and the window placement will show you this.

Next, get familiar with dimension and scale. You don't have to be a math whiz to grasp the size of a room or the scale of furniture inside of it. The perimeter of a floor plan should have a ‘to scale’ number listed. This will allow you to understand the total dimensions of a space. For example, the scale provided could outline a primary bedroom with 8' markings indicated, and that would mean the room measures, well, 8 feet.

Symbols and shapes. Another important component of reading floor plans is understanding the symbols and shapes. While there are quite a few, here are a few common floor plan symbols you’re likely to encounter in your plans:

  • Lines: Solid lines represent walls, arced lines represent doors, and dashed lines in a rectangle represent windows.
    • Fun fact to know: Not all doors are drawn the same! In fact, the beauty of floor plans is that they can be pretty detailed and showcase the exact door type in the home. While a traditional door is drawn perpendicular to a wall with a curved arc, signifying it’s open; a barn door, alternatively, is drawn as a dark thin rectangle that sits in front of the wall.
  • Symbols: Circles represent light fixtures, squares with circles represent outlets, and defined, stacked lines represent stairs.
    • Another fun fact to know: Most electrical layouts will have their very own dedicated page to make reading a bit easier. In that layout, you’ll be able to define the location of everything from light fixtures to light switches.
  • Arrows: Arrows will show the flow of the floor plan, entrances, and exits.

How does reading a floor plan help you as a homeowner?

Reading a floor plan can help you understand the layout of a space and visualize how the rooms are arranged. When you're looking at floor plans for your home, be sure to pay attention to the following features:

  • The size of the rooms: Make sure that the rooms are the right size for your needs. For example, a small bedroom might not be suitable for a family with young children. (You can do this by checking the dimensions and scale as mentioned above.)
  • The location of the rooms: Consider whether the location of the rooms is convenient for your needs. For example, you might want the kitchen to be near the dining room so you can easily serve food.
  • The layout of the rooms: The floor plan will show you how the rooms are arranged in relation to each other. Pay attention to traffic patterns and make sure that there is enough space for furniture and other items.

Best way to customize your floor plan

Ready to start designing your dream home? HBFA’s virtual floor plan customizers let you start designing your new home now. You can head over to the communities section on our website and check it out for yourself!

Final Thoughts

With a good understanding of floor plans, you’ll be able to visualize how each room will flow together and determine where specific furniture and fixtures should go.

This can make all the difference in creating a comfortable and stylish home. Fortunately, HBFA is here to help. Our team of experts can walk you through every step of the process, from choosing the right floor plan to selecting the perfect finishes. So if you’re ready to create the home of your dreams, we’re ready to help!