What is a Floor Plan Symbol?
As a client or a novice in the field of interior design, you may get lost in the sheer amount of architectural symbols, texts and numbers you see on an architectural plan. It could appear daunting to understand these symbols precisely. But it would help if you learned about them so that no miscommunication arises between you and the people you work for and with.
It could also be beneficial to you, as a homeowner, are dealing directly with a contractor and view construction drawings or a set of blueprints of your home design. Knowing how to read a floor plan can help you understand what you need and how your idea would look in reality.
A standard floor plan will show you structural elements like doors, walls, windows and stairs. The floorplan would also show other essentials like plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems.
The blueprint symbols used are general outlines of what the actual object is. So, for example, you can observe signs of sinks, stairs and tubs that look like the accurate top view of the actual item.
These symbols are like a different language that you need to learn. Professionals in the construction and design industry use this language to communicate effectively. Most floor plans also include legends that describe the colours, symbols and text the floor plan uses to leave no room for miscommunication.
The legend is often printed along with the title block at the bottom of the right side of the sheet. This is because it houses several architectural notations, and many of them are standardised symbols that would appear on every floorplan. There could be slight variations, but the basic outline would remain the same for all.
Read also – How To Read Floor Plans: 8 Elements To Read A Floor Plan
Types of Floor Plan Symbols
To start understanding a floor plan, you must learn and understand the standard symbols that you will see in all projects. Following is a list of standardised characters for day to day use.
1. Compass Symbols
This symbol will help you navigate through the floor plan and show you the property’s orientation concerning the cardinal directions. It is mainly represented by a circle with a north arrow pointing towards the north.
Read also – How To Draw A Floor Plan?
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2. Door Symbols
The doors are annotated by a large gap between the walls and a curved line that shows the direction of the swing. In addition, the path traced by the swing is shown in a dotted line showing the clear area the door would cover. However, there are different ways to show a door depending on the type of door that is to be installed.
For typical triple hinge door swings, the curved line makes a quarter circle arc indicating the extent of the swing (up to 90 degrees).
Double doors are indicated with a symbol like a letter M, with the two curved arcs meeting at the centre.
In closets that have bifold doors, it is always indicated as open doors. It is symbolised by two twin peaks and a space between them. The distance between them shows where they will meet when the door is closed.
When a sliding door or pocket door is shown, it is mainly indicated with a rectangle representing the door inserted into the wall and is attached to a dotted rectangle. The dotted area shows where the position of the door would be when closed.
Read also – 19 Floor Plan Mistakes To Avoid
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3. Window Symbols
Windows are shown as part of the walls. They are symbolised by an empty rectangle inserted into a wall with a solid hatch.
Sliding windows are symbolised by three parallel rectangles representing each sliding window panel joined at the edges below the other.
Casement windows look like mini doors, with an arc showing how much they protrude from the wall while they are open.
Bay windows are shown by breaking the straight line of the wall, and the face of the window is pushed outside.
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4. Stair Symbols
Like most symbols, staircases are seen parallel from the plan view. Simply put, they look like a series of rectangles attached from side to side. The rectangles can change to other geometric shapes depending on the design of the actual staircase.
Sometimes they are also indicated with a line running through the middle and an arrow at the top. This shows the direction of the staircase. The arrowhead indicates going UP.
Mid landings are shown as large slabs of rectangles or squares as per design.
A curved staircase looks like a bicycle tyre with all the sections attached to the central circle or pole.
Read also – 14 Different Types of Staircases
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5. Wall Symbols
The most basic and typical element of the floor plan is the walls. They would have a much-standardised representation worldwide unless something unique, e.g. a wall made up of glass bottles.
The intensity of the lines indicates the location of the solid wall. Thicker lines indicate the interior walls of the architectural plan, whereas exterior walls are shown by double lines or a thin black outline.
The material of the wall also plays a massive role in their representation. Brick or concrete walls are coloured with hatches at 45-degree angles. Items like wood are shown in a brief depiction of wood grains. Insulated walls are indicated in spring like a pattern infused in the walls.
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6. Appliances Symbols
Appliances like refrigerators and stoves are indicated as a simple outline of the item itself. In the case of built-in appliances, it is shown in dotted lines accompanied with a short text or an abbreviation, e.g. DW for dishwasher. The dotted lines, therefore, indicate they the appliances are hidden under the counter or inside a storage unit.
Sometimes they are additional details, such as a drawing of the four burners in the case of a stove in the kitchen.
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7. Plumbing Symbols
Plumbing fixtures are predominantly depicted as would be seen from the top in a parallel perspective. They include items like a bathtub, toilet, shower and sinks. The sink sizes can change depending on what type it is, such as single vanity sink, cabinet sink, double sink, kitchen sink, freestanding sink etc.
Uncommon fixtures include items like urinals. Sometimes bathroom features are also depicted, such as towel racks.
Read also – 10 Best Bathroom Design Apps and Software
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8. HVAC Symbols
The HVAC system, otherwise known as the central ac system, is depicted by various symbols for different system areas. These areas include wall vents, ceiling vents, air conditioning units etc.
The more detailed floor plan for HVAC would carry details of items like heaters, pumps, return air vents etc. The system’s piping can be seen in two parallel lines running through depicting the ducts to carry the air.
Items like a heating subcontractor may require separate drawings of their own since it could get too congested if you plan to show both heating and cooling on the same line.
Read also – The Definitive Guide To Use Line in Interior Design
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9. Electrical Symbols
Electrical plans will carry a host of symbols that will signify the lighting points, locations of wall jacks, thermostats, TV and switch outlets. They will also have markings of electrical items like ceiling fans denoted by a circle and three lines originating from the centre like a propeller. The light point is represented by a small circle and crosshairs extending beyond the circle’s circumference.
Electrical floorplans always include a legend since there are a lot of symbols that you would need to keep track of. Sometimes along with the item name, a small note on the feature is also written if it requires further explanation, such as the wattage of a particular light.
Read also – 20 Best Floor Plan Apps
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10. Furniture Symbols
Furniture symbols are almost always self-explanatory. Depending on the draughtsman, they can draw items like sofas and tables in simple rectangles or extensive details. Sometimes it becomes mandatory to consider the detailed furniture drawings of the couch and armchairs to overlay them into the standard home plan.
Sometimes draughtsmen also draw plants and props on top of the table for artistic effect. This is mainly done when the floor plan is made for sale or marketing purposes.
Most commonly used symbols in the common areas like the living room and dining room range from sofas, armchairs, dining tables, dining chairs, sideboards, cupboards to smaller items like tepoys, pouffes and side tables.
The bedroom can carry the bed and nightstand symbols and should be to scale. For example, the bed is denoted by two small rectangles inside the head of the larger rectangle, indicating the pillows. A line with a triangle below the two rectangles represents the blanket line.
This is a basic form of annotation. Many firms use more detailed drawings where the material and the folds of the cloth are also incorporated to make the drawing look better. The site plan generally sees outdoor furniture like garden seating or patio furniture. In addition, the site plan covers the landscaped area around the built space.
Read also – 6 Steps To Design Your Dream Home
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Floor Plan Abbreviations
Apart from just symbols, floor plans also carry a lot of characters in the form of abbreviations. Abbreviations are used when there is no space to show a symbol, or there is a lack of space to denote it, especially in the case of some technical drawings. Some of the commonly used ones are listed below. It could be an abbreviation for either the item or a type of material as well depending on the use:-
- AB – Air Brick
- AL – Aluminium
- AP – Acoustic Plaster
- ASPH – Asphalt
- AT – Acoustic Tile
- B – Basin
- BAL – Balustrades
- BC – Bookcase
- BHD – Bulkhead over
- B/I – Built-in
- BK – Brick
- BV – Brick Veneer
- BWK – Brickwork
- C – Cooker
- CAB – Cabinet
- CBD / CPD – Cupboard
- CD – Clothes Dryer
- CF – Concrete Floor
- COL – Column
- CORR – Corrugated
- CR – Cement Render
- CT – Ceramic Tile
- CW – Cavity Wall
- D – Door
- DG – Double Glazing
- DH – Double Hung (windows)
- DP – Downpipe
- DPC / DPM – Damp-proof course / damp-proof membrane
- DW – Dish Washer
- FA – Floor Area
- FB – Face Brick
- FCL – Finished Ceiling Level
- FFL – Finished Floor Level
- FL – Floor Level
- FW – Floor Waste
- GM – Gas Meter
- GPO – General Purpose Outlet (i.e. powerpoint)
- HTR – Heater
- HW – Hot Water unit
- INSUL – Insulation
- KIT – Kitchen
- LIN – Linen Cupboard
- LINO – Linoleum
- LVR – Louvres
- M – Meter
- MSB – Master Switch Board
- O – Oven
- PBD – Plasterboard
- R / REFRIG – Refrigerator
- RL – Reduced Level
- RS – Roller Shutter
- RWH – Rainwater Head
- RWP – Rainwater Pipe
- RWT – Rainwater Tank
- SC – Stop Cock
- SD – Sewer Drain
- SD – Sliding Door
- SHR/SH – Shower
- SS – Stainless Steel
- TC – Terra Cotta
- TEL – Telephone
- TRZO – Terrazzo
- TV – Television
- U/G – Underground
- U/S – Underside
- V – Vinyl
- VENT – Ventilator
- VP – Vent Pipe
- W(number) Window – Basic window number
- WB – Weatherboard
- WH – Water Heater
- WC – Water Closet
- WM – Washing Machine
- WR – Wardrobe
Why Foyr is the Best Software to Create Floor Plans?
Before the turn of the century, draughtsmen did all architectural drawings by hand in black and white. The introduction of computers gave rise to computer-aided design and drafting (CADD). But now, clients and designers request 3d perspectives to understand the space better. Most designers face the central problem of converting a 2d house plan to 3d. After drafting a floorplan, it takes more time to insert 3d elements and extrude the walls to make a 3d design.
But the introduction of Foyr Neo has changed the face of the game. With Foyr, you can make a 3d floorplan with the click of a button. And to add to that benefit, you can immediately get an automatically generated photorealistic floorplan in seconds. You can also make use of the readymade templates for a quick start. Most software cannot match the time and energy saved in making a floorplan in Foyr Neo anywhere. You can also choose to sign up for a 14-day free trial.