Drawing House Plans

If you are thinking about building a home, adding on, or remodeling, drawing your own house plans is a fun way to explore your options and communicate your thoughts to your contractor or architect. The plans you draw can serve as a starting point for a meeting with the professionals you are working with.  The house plans you draw might be the basis of the construction drawings that come later and they will be helpful for getting a building permit for your project.


Draw House PlansCredit: Ronstik/Dreamstime.com

Things You Will Need 

  • Plain paper or graph paper
  • Tracing paper
  • Architect’s scale ruler
  • Pencil
  • Pens
  • Coored pencils (optional)


Steps for Drawing House Plans

1. Make a list of what the project will include.  For example, if you are adding a new kitchen, you may list kitchen, breakfast nook and utility room. If you are building a new house, you can list all the rooms you want it to have. Decide on the approximate square footage of each space and write it after each item on your list. 

2. Choose a convenient scale to work in.  Typically, ¼ inch to one foot works well.  You may use ¼ inch graph paper to help keep the drawing to scale and square, but it isn’t necessary.

3. Draw the rooms on paper, keeping to the square footage estimates you made earlier.  Consider which rooms should be next to each other and how foot traffic will flow through the spaces.  Also, consider noise when placing your rooms. For example, bedrooms off the kitchen might not be desirable.

4. Draw three of four different house plan designs, playing around with the configuration until you are satisfied with your layout.  You may wish to sketch in furniture to help you design the rooms.  To clean up your chosen drawing, use tracing paper over the original and outline your plan in pencil.

5. Draw wall thicknesses.  A good rule of thumb is 6 inches for interior walls and 18 inches for exterior walls.  If you know that your home will differ from this, use your own wall thicknesses. An architectural scale will help you to draw wall thicknesses to scale.

6. Draw windows and doors. Windows are typically centered on their walls.  Draw a centerline and offset a line on either side of it for the window width.  Draw a thin line, parallel to the wall where the glass would be to denote a windowpane. Draw doors similarly, but instead of a line for glass, draw the door swing, showing the door open to 90 degrees or 45 degrees.

7. Outline your drawing in pen and poche the walls.  Poche is a fancy way of saying to fill the walls in with black.  You may also choose to fill them in with gray, red or any color you choose.  Use pen or colored pencil.  Your plan will pop once you fill in your walls.

8. Draw furniture. This is an important step in drawing house plans.  Not only does it help give a feel of the room spatially, including properly dimensioned furniture will help you in the design process.  Furniture does not need to look fancy.  Simple rectangles with rounded corners and minor additions to communicate what the piece of furniture is work well.  For example, draw a line to show a pillow or a diagonal line to denote covers for a bed.


House Plan Drawing Tips

Another way of designing a home layout (in place of Steps 3 and 4) is to cut out rectangles (or other shapes) to scale for each room.  Move the rectangles around into different configurations, and when you are happy with the layout, use pieces of removable double stick tape to fix them in place. Continue with Step 5, placing tracing paper over the cutout pieces.

Add words to name rooms or keep it simple and let the furniture placement identify each room.


Anyone can draw house plans, and it is a fun way to dream about your future home or addition.  No, your drawing is not the end-all-be-all of your project.  You will most likely need a set of professional drawings to make sure your design is buildable and to get a building permit.  However, drawing your own floor plan is a good start, and it could save you time and money by communicating your thoughts more quickly and precisely to your contractor or architect.