How to Plan & Draw a Room
Using an Architect's Triangle Ruler

Drawing a room layout to scale using an Architect's TriangleRuler is a key ingredient to success, if you desire completesatisfaction with your new home and/or home décor project!

Whatis a scale drawing?

It'sa replicadrawing of a room or object, but at a uniform fraction of itsoriginal size. Having a "scale drawing" of a room benefitsyou in many ways:

  • Plan precise kitchen and bathroom cabinet, fixture and appliance layouts.

  • Achieve accurate bedroom, living room, dining room, and all other room arrangements.

  • Select appropriate sized furnishings and accessories for each room.

I'venever drawn a room before, is it difficult?
Actually,it's quite simple.If you know the room's exactdimensions and can draw a straight line, with the help of anArchitet's Triangular Ruler, drawing a room to scale will be a snap!

Usingan Architect's Triangular Scale is also quitesimple, once you get the hang of it, so don't let all those littlelines and numbers intimidate you.

Staedtler(R)Architect & Engineer Scales

AnArchitect's Triangular Scale is the samelength as a regular 12" ruler, but with threesides that exhibit differentincrements of measurements.

Usinga Triangular Ruler

Holdthe trianglular scale so that its length is horizontally in front ofyou, then rotate it backwardswhile noticing that each side has four sets of completely differentmeasurements.

Let'stake a look at the side where you see a large "1" on thefar top left corner and a "½" on the far top righthand corner.

Now,set the ruler down in front of you so that you can view the entirelength of it clearly.

Lookingfrom the left to right you will see a series of small, narrow linesthat are numbered from 9 to 0. These numbersindicate inches in the scale of oneinch equals one foot (1"=1') with the lines spaced at ¼"increments.

Thenext line right of the "0", you will see is spacedfurther apart, which is a "20" and then followingthat to the right is a "1".

Thenumbers closest to the top of the ruler (20, 18, 16, 14, and so on)belong with the measurements that read from the right to left (inthis case for a ½"=1' Scale) and the measurements locateddirectly under (1, 2, 3, 4, and so on) belong to the 1"=1'Scale.

Let'stake a 10 foot by 10 foot room and draw it down to scale. Forexample:

In¼" Scale, a 10' x 10' room is drawn 2½" x 2½"

In½" Scale, a 10' x 10' room is drawn 5" x 5"

Takea look at the example below of a ¼"=1' Scale drawing fora 10' x 10' room:

DrawingWalls for Accuracy

Firstof all, the thickness of a wallis often drawn according to itslocation. If you notice in the illustration above, theexterior walls* are a bit thicker than interior walls and are drawnthat way for basically two reasons:

  • To depict the outline of the home's foundation.

  • To differentiate between the interior and exterior walls*.

*Exteriorwalls tend to be thicker interior walls due to the variance inmaterials used for constructing them. However, a wall that contains apocket door, as illustrated above, is drawn thicker than the home'sother interior walls due construction requrements.

NotAll Walls Are Constructed the Same

Thereare several different ways a wall can be constructed. The typeand installation of materials that are used will determine thicknessof a wall.

Let'sconsider the following example:

A2x4 stick framed interiorwall with ½" gypsum board on each wallside ends up being 4½" thick. When you take into accountthat a 2x4 is not actually 2" x 4", but instead only 1½"x 3 ¾". Therefore...

...whenyou draw out an entire floor plan, draw the interior wall thicknessto scale in order to maintain accuracy of the plan's overalldimensions.

An exteriorwall is often framed with either 2x4's or 2x6's.Therefore, add the thickness'of the exterior wall frame plus theinterior surface material you plan to use.

A2x6 framed exterior wall with 5/8" gypsum board on the interiorsurface, with lap siding over structural sheathing onthe exterior surface, the wall endsup being 6¾" thick.

MaterialsMake A Difference in a Wall's Thickness

Whenyou consider all the differenttypes of materialsand methods used forconstructing a wall, the thickness between eachwall type can be slight or extreme.

Wallscan be constructed of either: Concrete Block, Steel Frame,Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Walls, StructuralInsulated Panels, and Stick Frame, to name a few.

Asyou research possible candidatesfor your home's wall construction, it is important to discover howthick the wall will be in order to get a more accurate measurementfor the entire floor plan.

Ifyou have several walls spaced between two oppositeexterior walls, there could be several inches difference in theindividual room sizes once the home is built.

Whenarranging a large room, a fewinches difference in the room's dimensions may not be such a bigdeal, but for small spaces it could be a nightmare!Clickhere for great researching ideas.

Drawa Door to Reflect Its Opening

Each of the followingdoors are represented in the room drawing illustrated above. Let'stake a look at their differences:

  • Hinged Doors– are drawn to show the direction that the door swings opens into a room.

  • Sliding Doors – are made from two separate panels that move on a track system. One side is often fixed, where the other side slides back and forth for opening and closing.

    You will want to draw an arrow to indicate the direction the door opens to ensure the proper door is ordered.

  • Bi-fold Doors – these are quite simple to draw, but you'll want to make sure to research the availability of door sizes before planning to place this type of door into your home – especially if you are going to place them side by side. Otherwise, you may be out the expense of ordering custom doors.

  • Pocket Doors – This type of door slides into a wall on a overhead track system. If you have a room with numerous doors, or even a small space that a hinged door would get in the way, a pocket door is the answer.

    Please Note: If you'll notice in the room illustration above, the wall with the pocket door is slightly thicker - even though it is an interior wall.

Doorscome in several differentdimensions. However, certainfactors can warrant a door's size. Our planningguidetakes a good look at factorsthat effect a door's size and its placement.

DrawingWindows is a Breeze

It'sas simple as a rectangle drawnwith a line across the center of it, as shown in the illustrationabove. If you can draw that,then you've got it made!

Windowscome is several styles and sizes. And like doors, they are oftennamed for the way they open.

  • Awning Windows – Crank open from a hinged top.

  • Casement WindowsCrank open up from a hinged side.

  • Double-Hung Windows - A set of two window panes where each slide vertically on a different track to slide open and closed.

  • Fixed Windows – Don't open at all. They are often Transom Windows, or Side-Lites fixed next to an entry door.

  • Sliding Windows – A set of two window panes where each slide horizontally on a different track to slide open and closed.

  • Bow and Bay Windows – Are comprised of one or more window types in order to add extra space to a room.

Whendrawing individual rooms, it is better to draw them out in a ½"scale. You will find that you have more room to work with each roomso you can be more detail oriented.

FurnitureArrangement For a Sure Fit!

Okay,now that I have my room drawn out, what is the next step?

Thenext step would be to find out if your furniture and accessories willwork in your room's design anddécor, but that will take a little more work.

Beforechoosing a home plan, it is important to makesure that each room's furniture and accessories will fit. And thebest way to do that is to make furniture and accessory templates.

DesignSecrets for Making Your Own Templates in Seconds!

Whywaste money buying templates that don't work. We reveal how you caneasily make your own templates at very little cost to you!

Ittakes only secondsto create a furniture, cabinet,or appliance template accurately. All you have to do is follow oursimple instructions and violà, you have room arrangement atits best.

Thisone of a kind guide offers easy instructions and "ConversionCharts" to help you make precisetemplates – even for that uniqueand unusal piece!

Rememberthat we share all this with you here at BuildWiselyor you can download it in pdf formatfor easy reading and printing.

BuildWisely's Home Building Guide
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You'llKnow Your Furnishing Will Fit!

Thebest way to find out if a house plan - right down to each individualroom - will actually fit your furnishings is to draw each room downto exact scale on paper.

Wehave found a design and layout kit that works quite nicely with ourplanning concepts. You will find it to be a great asset to use whileplanning your home. Click on either the photo icon below, or linkbelow for more information.

Staedtler(R)Drafting Kit

Tobegin drawing a room:

  • Find out what scale the floor plan is drawn. If you don't know, choose a room within the floor plan that has the dimensions listed.

  • Next, take your triangle ruler and place it along one of the room's walls. Rotate the ruler until the wall measures its exact dimension on the Architect's Triangular Scale. Search for Home Plans!

    For example: Let's consider a 12 foot long wall: You have rotated the ruler until you have found that ¼" scale measures the line of the wall exactly from 0 to 12. Now, all the other measurements of that room drawing will be in ¼" scale. See, it really is easy.

Doyou prefer drawing your rooms on your computer?


Foryour convenience, we have created printable GraphPaperthat you maydownload for freeand then print off as much as you would like, as longas you have paper loaded and ink in your computer's printer. Use thispaper to easily draw out any room to scale.
FreePrintable Graph Paper!

Thesize of the squares on the graph paper are ¼" each, whichwill allow you the option of converting any room to the followingscale sizes:

    • 1 square per foot = ¼" scale.

    • 4 squares per foot = ½" scale.

Ifyou have yet to purchase an Architect's Triangular Scale, thefollowing links will take you directly to a website so that you maypurchase one without leaving your home.

Forinformation on ordering an Architect's Triangular Scale, click on thefollowing link ð Staedtler(R)Architect & Engineer Scales

Forinformation on ordering a design and layout kit, click on thefollowing link ðStaedtler(R)Drafting Kit

ClickHere for Recommended Home Planning Tools.

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Rememberthat we share all this with you here at BuildWiselyor you can download it in pdf formatfor easy reading and printing.

BuildWisely'sHome Building Guide

Ideas for designing your home using a Triangle Ruler