Understanding floorplans and why it’s important

Written by realestateview.com.au in Buying


Floorplans are a useful architectural tool that enables you to see an overhead view of the dimensions and layout of your home. Usually shown as a horizontal split from bird’s eye view at the height of the windows, a floorplan lays out everything from doors and the way they open to staircases and the direction that they travel up or downward.

Floorplans can be overwhelming at first glance, but once you know what each of the lines, shapes and symbols mean, they are much easier to take in.

If you are working with a builder or architect – particularly if you are building from scratch – you will soon become very familiar with the many symbols on a floorplan. But as a renter or first home buyer, an understanding of this will help you determine whether a property is going to work with your everyday life.

Here is a glossary of the main symbols you will see on a standard floorplan:

are the full, unbroken lines on the floorplan. The outer walls of a dwelling are represented with a thicker, bolder line. The inner walls are shown with thinner lines.

icon-doorDoors are shown as a straight line perpendicular to the wall, with a connecting arc. This arc shows the way that the door swings, either in to our out of a room. Two broken lines indicate sliding doors, often with an arrow indicating the way that they slide.

icon-windowWindows are shown as three thin lines within the walls. For windows that open, they are depicted similar to doors with the arcs showing the trajectory.

icon-stairsStairs are shown as a series of parallel lines encased in a rectangle. An arrow will show the direction that the stairs travel up or down.

icon-ofpFireplaces will be indicated with OFP (Open Fire Place).

icon-acAir Conditioner will be shown as AC.

icon-wcToilets are marked as WC (Water Closet)

icon-bedroomBedrooms are often listed as Bedroom 1, 2, 3 in successive order with the lowest number denoting the largest bedroom. The largest bedroom is also known as the Master Bedroom.

icon-wirWardrobes can be built in (BIR) or walk in (WIR). The floorplan will also show a scaled representation of their size.


The floorplan will be drawn to scale and will include the dimensions of each room. By assessing the layout of the room – looking at where the doors and windows fall – you can get an accurate idea of where your furniture may or may not fit into the space.

The floorplan also places each room in its exact location in the house. This is important  if you do not want your bedrooms to be close to the living areas. Or if you prefer the master to be separate to the other bedrooms. The layout of the home can be a deal breaker, so analysing the floorplan before inspecting can save you time, and prevent you from getting your hopes up.

Of course a floorplan cannot tell you everything about a property. It does not account for lighting, decorations or colours – things that contribute to the overall feel of the room. But it is a significant start. Arm yourself with the best knowledge and understanding when you are looking to rent or buy. The ability to read and interpret a floor plan will help you to make an informed decision about your future home.