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How To Read a Floor Plan for Feng Shui

Whether you’re buying, building, selling or renovating a home, you’re likely to come across the floor plans at some point along the way. These 2-dimensional drawings depict the layout of an entire floor, allowing you to visualize the space before seeing it in person. You’ll learn more about both the functionality and the Feng Shui of a home, but to get the most out of these blueprints, you have to know how to read them.

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Here’s how to read a floor plan for Feng Shui:

  1. Learn what a floor plan is and what the symbols mean.
  2. Identify the home’s features on the floor plan.
  3. Figure out the elevation of the floor plan.
  4. Visualize your layout based on the floor plan.

In the rest of the article, we’ll look more closely at each of the floor plan’s components and what they can tell you about a home.

1. Learn What a Floor Plan Is and What the Symbols Mean

The floor plan is a 2-dimensional drawing of a home viewed from the top as if the roof were missing. You’ll see the shapes and sizes of each room, along with many interior elements, which allows you to visualize the entire space at once.

Floor plans are one of the many types of blueprints that go along with the construction of a new home or building. They serve a variety of purposes, including:

  • Helping architects and designers visualize a given space.
  • Helping builders and tradespeople physically build and install components in their correct positions.
  • Helping real estate agents sell a property, especially one that may not be finished.
  • Allowing homeowners to visualize a space, identify problem areas, and make adjustments.
  • Helping owners plan for the purchasing and arrangement of all the interior materials, appliances, and furniture.
  • Helping Feng Shui professionals achieve pinpoint accuracy with their recommendations.

Dimensions and Directions on a Floor Plan

Floor plans are drawn to scale, meaning everything is smaller but proportional so that you have an accurate idea of what things are going to look like. Generally, the dimensions of each room are included, and can be represented in feet and inches or metres and millimetres.

different measurements used on a floor plan

The floor plan above has dimensions in feet and inches, the one below in millimetres (1/1000th of a metre). In both images –

  1. Is the overall external wall length,
  2. Is an external length. Above 8’10” is the measurement from the center of the wall to the start of the window. Below it is from the window to the door.
  3. Is  an internal measurement that doesn’t appear externally.
  4. In the picture above is the thickness of the stairwell wall, whereas for below the two measurements (250 & 360mm) show how far the wall extends into the room.
different measurements used on a floor plan

Sometimes the dimensions of major features will be present as well such as built-in or walk-in wardrobes, fireplaces or kitchen benches.

In addition to the dimensions, most floor plans will tell which way is True North. Knowing this tells you more about how sunlight will enter the home.

different north icons used in professional floor plan design.

Two common types of North symbol. There are many variations on this symbol, it is usually located in the top left or right of the plan.

Common types of Scale Bars. These are usually not as stylized as the North symbol. Visit ArchiSoup to learn all about them.

2. Identify the Home’s Features on the Floor Plan

Reading a floor plan is essentially just understanding what each of the symbols means, and some floor plans will be more extensive than others. The rooms on the floor are generally labeled, but most of the other features are represented by shapes and lines.

Let’s take a closer look at these features.

Exterior and Interior Walls

The walls of a building or home appear as two parallel lines on a floor plan. This is what you’d see if you could look at the walls from the top. The outermost walls are often darker or depicted slightly wider than the interior walls, and in some cases, all of the walls are colored in.

Windows and Doors

Just like in the actual home, the windows and doors on a floor plan are located within the walls.

Whereas the walls of a floor plan are often filled in, windows will remain white or uncolored to emphasize a break in a wall. Doors are almost always depicted as being open and appear as a single, solid drawn at an angle.

There’s often a curved line attached to the door to indicate the swinging path.

The representation of these features may vary depending on their style. For example, bay windows might be drawn differently than a standard, fixed window.

a floor plan showing doors, stairs and windows for helping with feng shui floor plans

Here’s a small plan made in Floor Plan Creator that shows – A standard door, a pocket door, an external glass sliding door and a garage roller door, two standard windows and a stairwell.


Stairs on a floor plan appear as a series of rectangles. Many floor plans include a directional arrow to show you which way the stairs are ascending. The actual path of the stairs is depicted, so if the stairs change directions at all, you’ll see this as well.

Furniture, Appliances, and Fixtures

Basic floor plans usually include other fixed features of a home, including:

  • Stoves and other major appliances

  • Sinks

  • Fireplaces

Many floors also approximate the size of other features, such as beds, tables, and cabinetry, and include these in the image, which often appears as squares and rectangles.

The inclusion of these features gives you a better idea of what the interior is going to look like, as well as how much space you’ll be left with once these items are in place. Smaller items that are more related to interior design are typically omitted.

different kitchen icons used in professional floor plan design.

Kitchen: Stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, single and double sinks.

different bathrooms icons used in professional floor plan design

Bathroom: Bath, corner shower, standard shower, shower spray head, spa/jacuzzi, standard w/c, hung w/c and two types of vanity sinks.

3. Figure Out the Elevation Of the Floor Plan

A traditional floor plan only offers a limited view of a given space, which is why there are other drawings that usually accompany them.

Floor plan elevations depict the side view of a given area. These drawings give you information about the height of various features and allow you to see the space from an angle that the basic floor plan doesn’t provide.

For example, side elevations reveal the height and length of cabinets, windows, and roofs, among other things. The inclusion of elevations gives you a much clearer picture of what the home will look like.

a feng shui floor plan showing the top and side elevations of a kitchen

4. Visualize Your Layout Based On the Floor Plan

The purpose of a floor plan is to give you a visualization, and once you know exactly what you’re looking at, you can use the information to make smarter decisions.

Understanding a floor plan will help you determine the following:

  • Whether or not there is enough space for all of the people living in the home.

  • How functional the layout will be.

  • How natural sunlight will enter the home.

  • If you will have enough storage space.

  • If the layout of the space fits your lifestyle.

Once you are familiar with the many shapes and symbols that make up most floor plans, you can read these blueprints in a more effective way.

But Why Do I Need to Know This for Feng Shui??

Floor plans show you what a home or a building is expected to look like. You’ll commonly see floor plans when you’re shopping around for a new home or apartment, but they can tell you much more about the quality of the space.

Knowing the location and types of windows and doors tell you where the Chi enters and exits the building. Tap and showerheads are like water features when they are on. A floor drain in a bad position can take your wealth away as easily as a badly located toilet.

The more you can understand about the technical aspects of building and what all the symbols mean, the better your understanding and application of Feng Shui will be.

Floor Plan & Feng Shui Resources

Here is a list of books, websites, services, courses that we use and recommend.

Cate Bramble has devoted her career to highlighting the differences between ‘feng shui-lite’ to the original intentions of the Chinese masters. Here she presents the authentic principles in a technical, no-nonsense pocket book specifically for architects. This practical guide includes line illustrations that present the principles of feng shui, and their application in architecture through planning principles, services, building elements and materials, in an accessible, easy reference format. The author explains feng shui from archaeological sources and evidence of practice in the east, contrasting it with what passes for feng shui in the west. She analyses the practice in terms of such concepts as western systems theory, viewshed, space syntax and the ‘pattern landscape’ theory of urban planning.

By Cate Bramble.

How to Read Houses is an insider’s guide to recognising and appreciating the diversity of domestic architecture that reflects the location, the fashion, and the technological savoir-faire of the age – from Tudor timber-frames to the truly unconventional. Compact enough to travel with you yet comprehensive enough to provide real answers, with real examples, this handy reference guide: Provides an understanding of the architectural vocabulary; Enhances the appreciation of visits to landmark houses; Explores the main architectural styles, as well as the materials and components of a house, through beautifully rendered illustrations, photographs of classic examples and the words of a friendly expert.

By Will Jones.

Flying Stars is the most popular, intriguing and misunderstood Feng Shui system in the world. This book delivers a detailed explanation of how time and space will affect all categories of Feng Shui-prosperity, relationships and health. A fully illustrated, comprehensive and systematic home-study course that is designed for anyone who wants to put Flying Stars Feng Shui to personal, professional or practical use. With over 20 years experience, Master Liotta Dennis reveals the best tricks-of-the-trade. Step by step you are guided to shake up the energy and make-over your home or office while simultaneously learning the profound secrets of Flying Stars.

By Feng Shui Master Denise Liotta Dennis .

Secrets Of Your House Charts arranges the texts of thousands of years of Chinese traditional practices, summarizing them into easily digestible sections. This book is easy to understand and use to get your feng shui right. Instructions and guidelines are specific and practical, written to explain, clarify and simplify making all your placement and timing decisions easy. Learn to diagnose problem areas. Understand the importance of time changes in luck. Master the compass formulas of feng shui. Become specific in your practice of feng shui.

By world-renowned Feng Shui expert Lillian Too.

Dean French

With over two decades of practical Feng Shui experience, Dean French is known for his down-to-earth attitude, perceptive observational skills, and his direct and honest communication. Amongst his clients, he has a reputation as an accomplished consultant that has grown through perseverance, professional diligence, conscientious integrity, and the outstanding transformative life shifts they receive.

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