How to Read a Floor Plan

When you’re in the market to build a new home, the browsing process can be exciting. Single storey, double storey, layout, features — there’s plenty to explore. And while images can give you a great indication of how a space might look and feel, it’s the floor plan that gives you the complete picture of how the layout works.


For some, reading a floor plan might come naturally, but for others it can just look like a confusing bunch of lines and codes. To help, we’ve got some tips for reading floor plans so that you can make a well-informed assessment of every home design you come across.


What is a floor plan?

First up, let’s just clarify what a floor plan is.

Once upon a time, the floor plan might have been referred to as the blueprints. The blueprints probably also included the site plan, working drawings and more, in addition to the floor plan that we are talking about.

The floor plan that you will see in brochures and on websites, including for Fairhaven Homes, is a map of a home’s rooms from bird’s eye view. Kind of like looking down onto the house with the roof removed.

Here are a few features you might notice on floor plans, and how you can best interpret them:


  • Identifying different levels on your floor plan

For a single level home, the floor plan will just be one diagram, whereas if you are looking at a double storey floor plan it may across two documents — one for the ‘ground floor’ and one for the ‘first floor’ or ‘second level’ of the home. Generally, the lower level will feature first.


  • Reading the measurements

Floor plans are drawn to scale, meaning that they reflect the correct proportions of the home they represent but shrunk down so you can observe them easily. The measurements for each room or space will be noted on the floor plan and are generally written in metres or millimetres. For example, a bedroom marked as 3.5x3m is three and a half metres by three metres.


  • Room name shorthand

As floor plans are working on limited space, we try to keep the text to a minimum. This means we often use shorthand to label the rooms and features on a floor plan. Here are some common ones:
-Bed 1, Bed 2, Bed 3: Bed followed by a number simply identifies a bedroom. They are often numbered in order of size with Bed 1 being the largest or by being the Main Bedroom (hosting an Ensuite).

-Pdr: Powder Room

-Bath: Bathroom

-Ens: Ensuite

-WIR: Walk-In-Robe

-Ldry: Laundry

-WC: Toilet


  • Identifying windows and doors 

Windows and doors have their own small diagrams. The windows appear as solid multi-line rectangles, while the doorways are dotted lines. Doors are either a line drawn to appear as an open door in a doorway, or a line alongside a wall with a small arrow to show if it is a sliding door. Similarly, you will see small drawings of stairs, toilets, baths and sinks which are usually quite easy to spot.


We are here to help

We aim to make the process of reading a floor plan and making considered decisions about home designs as simple as possible. If you have any uncertainty when you’re exploring our floor plans, just reach out to our friendly team with questions you may have — we are happy to help.

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