How to use Sketch to design floor plans

After three years living in the East village with 2 roommates and three 🐭s, I finally moved across the river to Williamsburg. Having an entire studio apartment all to myself is too good, yet true.

So here’s a sneak peak:

a view of the apartment still occupied by previous tenants

I couldn’t wait to transform the space, yet I have to wait a few month till move-in.

So I started sketching some ideas on paper. After a few explorations, I realized that my drawings are not accurate in scale, thus not useful when it comes to taking measurement and planning purchases.

And every time I start working on a new idea, I have to draw the same picture over and over again.

two drawings of my kitchen plan

One of the best tools out there for visualizing interior design is google sketch up. Being able to build things in 3D is amazing — yet my furnitures aren’t the same size as the 3D models in the program. So that still doesn’t solve my problem.

As a web designer, I use sketch app every single day. Using sketch, I’m able to start small, and quickly iterate on ideas using a modular approach. So I started experimenting with using sketch to build my floor plan.

  1. Do the Prep

I use feet as my unit of measurement. For example, my apartment is 25.2 ft in length and 12.7 in width. The corresponding size in sketch is 252 px by 127 px.

In the Symbols page, I started out by setting up floor/front view. Then I made all of my furniture pieces into true-to-size symbols.

The Basic Floorplan Size Conversion
Floor plan and Front View

2. Drop it like it’s hot

Dropping the symbols on the page. It’s especially liberating; I’m not worried about messing up the comp and I can make many different versions very quickly.

7 different floor plans and narrowed down to one

3. Does this fit?

I had my eyes set on this dining table, but does it fit? No more guessing and plug in the numbers.

4. What goes into those cabinets?

It turns out that I can also use this to devise a storage plan.

storage plan for cabinets & underbed

And that’s it. Are you ready to make your own?

Here’s a sketch template for you to get started :)

Snap shot of what’s in the template

Thanks for reading!