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How to read your home’s floor plan

One of the most common challenges when purchasing a preconstruction home is not being able to physically walk through the space. This makes floor plans an important tool to understand all of your home’s features. Floor plans give a flattened, two-dimensional bird’s-eye view of each floor, showing things like structure, door and window locations, but if you’re buying pre-construction for the first time, a floor plan can look like an undistinguishable collection of lines and numbers.

We’ve put together this guide to help you comprehend what you’re looking at on your next visit to a model home.




When you’re looking through floor plans, they’ll be accompanied by various renderings, which will be labelled with a ‘Style’ and square footage. These styles correspond with different exterior ascetics and elevations.


  1. Name of your Model

Each model will have a name that you can easily remember and refer to when deciding which home design you like. Sometime a number will be listed beside the name of your home, this refers to the size of the lot your home will sit on, measured in feet.


  1. Style Information

As mentioned above, the different style refers to the exterior look of the home. The styles may affect the square footage slightly, and for this reason, we may list the square footage corresponding with each size separately. In the example above, the elevation type does not affect the square footage of the home and is only listed once.


  1. Major Elements

Major elements in the floor plan will be labeled for ease of reading. These elements will almost always include the main features of your home, such as the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, porch, laundry room, foyer, great room etc. and may also include other important elements to make the floor plan easier to understand, such as the breakfast bar, soaker tub, storage area, linen closet, etc.


  1. Commonly Used Abbreviations

Because of space limitations, you’ll often come across abbreviated words throughout the floor plan. Here are a few common ones you’ll encounter:

  • I.C – Walk in Closet
  • W/D – Washer and Dryer
  • P. – Pantry
  • STOR. – Storage area
  • LN. – Linen closet
  • DN.- Used on stairs, indicating the stairway down.
  • OPT.- optional features that do not come standard with your home


  1. Dimensions

Throughout the entire floor plan, the dimensions of the various areas and rooms will be indicated in feet and inches. As with the example below, the bedroom contains 2 dimensions. The diagram below will give you a better understanding of how these dimensions relate to the space.


It’s important to note that dimensions are measured from the center of the room and assume the space is rectangular. The true dimensions can vary slightly with the shape and curvature of the room.


  1. Doors

All doors will be drawn indicating the direction they open. In the case of sliding doors, which may be seen on some closets and pantries, the door will be indicated with two thin or dotted overlapping rectangles, as seen in the example below.


  1. Cabinets

The presence of upper cabinets is indicated by a dotted line, as seen in the kitchen area above. This gives you an idea of their depth. Lower cabinets are built in and not specifically indicated, you can use vignettes and your sales and decor representatives to confirm the position and number of cabinets included in a specific kitchen layout.


  1. Closets

Different closets will have different doors and built-in storage systems. The door will be indicated by either a swinging or sliding door icon, and the storage system will be show by a solid and dotted line, which represents a shelf and/or rod feature for clothing organization.



  1. Stairs and Multiple Floors

It can be difficult to understand how the relationship between the different levels and open space between floors will all work together when looking at a two-dimensional drawing. Each staircase will display the location of the staircase and any features under the stairs (storage closets etc.). With the example above, a storage area under the stairs is indicated on the Main Floor Plan. The second floor is often open in some area to view the floor below, and this area will be indicated in some way. As with the example above, the Foyer is visible from the floor above as is labeled “Foyer Below”.


  1. Walls & Windows

The various walls, outside doors and windows will be indicated by different lines and icons. Shaded areas are used to show different features, such as pillars, and sometimes negative space around different features such as the shower to ensure a perfect fit. The various windows will be indicated by various rectangles that indicate the size and number of window panes there are.


  1. Options

Each floor plan will also list the Alternatives and Options available with each plan. These are alterations or add-ons to your home you can opt for if you choose. As with the example above, the Sapphire style has an optional Wine Bin and 4th Bedroom and an alternative layout to the Laundry Room.



We find that the best way to really visualize your space is to use a combination of our renderings, model homes or vignettes where available as well as the help of our sales and decor professionals. Start by visualizing yourself walking in the front door and take yourself through the home to really understand how your space will work, look and feel. Not every design will work for your lifestyle or living situation and that’s okay. And of course, if you have any questions, were always here to help you find the home that works for you.