7 Easy Steps to Make a Floor Plan in Sketchups – I’m gonna show you how to quickly and accurately create a basic floor plan in SketchUps. Whether your goal is to create a 2D floor plan in SketchUps that you’ll turn into a 3D model later, or you just wanna draft a quick floor plan in SketchUps to share with a client, if you follow the seven key steps I’m about to share with you, you’ll find SketchUp to be an amazing tool for conquering this piece of the design process. And it doesn’t require using or being familiar with AutoCAD or any other CAD programs.
7 Easy Steps to Make a Floor Plan in Sketchups
Okay, ready to jump into the steps? Now see the 7 easy steps to make a floor plan in SketchUps below:
1. Start in a 2D template.
For all projects you work on in SketchUp, I recommend that you use a template that starts you with a plan view or a top-down view. This is even more important when you set out to create a floor plan in SketchUps.
As a quick reminder, here’s how you switch your template. For SketchUp Pro, if you’re a Windows user, you’ll start by going to your top menu and selecting Window. If you’re using SketchUp Pro on a Mac, you’ll select SketchUp.
From there, open the Preferences window and select Template. Depending on which version of SketchUp you’re using, the template will be named differently.
It might say Plan View or Construction Documentation. If you’re a Windows user, you’ll click the button at the bottom right to finish. Mac users, you just close the window. Now your current file’s template won’t change, but when you start a new file, you’ll start in the new template. If you’re using the free web-based version of SketchUp, you won’t have access to the template you need, but you can get close enough by switching to a top view from the Scenes menu.
2. Draw your floor
Now that you’re in a plan view, the next step is number two, draw your floor. For most of your projects, you’ll either be starting from an existing floor plan in SketchUps file, or from measurements taken in the field.
Once you have your measurements, the first step is to draw the floor. To do this, you’ll need to use SketchUp’s basic drawing tools, typically, either the Line tool or the Rectangle tool. The Line tool is the most versatile as you can go dimension by dimension around the floor plan in SketchUps to draw it out. The process there is to click and begin drawing in a direction, then type in a dimension and press Enter or Return on your keyboard to finish drawing a line or edge.
Then just continue on around in that fashion, entering the dimensions one by one until you have the footprint drawn in. The Rectangle tool can be a quicker choice in situations where you have a more straightforward rectangular shape to your floor. In that case, you can start with a bigger rectangle for the overall width and length of the space, and then use either the Line tool or the Rectangle tool, along with the Eraser tool, to either add areas to or subtract areas from the main footprint. Now remember, in SketchUp you’re drawing at a one-to-one scale, meaning that when you draw a larger rectangle and it appears small, it’s just because your SketchUp camera is zoomed out.
If that’s the case for you, simply roll your center mouse wheel forward to zoom in and get closer. Or if you’ve entered your dimensions and you can’t see the entire footprint, roll your center mouse wheel back to zoom out. When you zoom, the blue axis will appear but you can just ignore it.
3. Draw your exterior walls
And now you’re ready for the next step. Number three, draw your exterior walls. All right, once you’ve drawn your floor, you can use the Offset tool to create your exterior walls.
To do that, pick the Offset tool. Click once on the face. Move the mouse to begin offsetting the wall. Type in the dimension for your wall thickness and press Enter or Return on your keyboard. Next, you’ll need to create doorway openings.
Now there are a few ways to go about this, but when you’re new to SketchUp I recommend you use the Tape Measure tool to set up guidelines that show you exactly where your openings need to be.
To do this using the Tape Measure tool, click once on the inside edge of an exterior wall, then move the mouse towards where the opening will be. Then type the dimension on your keyboard and press the Enter or Return key on your keyboard, and you’ll have your first guideline. For the second guide, repeat the steps, only this time your first click is from the existing guide and your dimension is for the width of the opening. Now you can take the Rectangle tool and draw a rectangle that snaps to the intersection points of the guidelines on your walls, and then take the Eraser tool and erase away the outside edge.
And you repeat these same steps for all the door openings around your exterior walls. Note that you shouldn’t worry about the window openings just yet because you’ll handle those later. One of the most important things to learn in SketchUp is to group almost everything. If you don’t group things at this stage, you might find yourself with a huge mess later when you wanna move anything or make adjustments. So group now and your future self will definitely thank you.
(electronic whirring) – Thanks for the tip, man. – I got you. (bell dinging) (electronic whirring) So now that you’re at a point where you’ve drawn your floor and exterior walls, select everything and make it into a group. While you’re at it, now’s a great time to assign a tag to that group. This will make it easier to isolate the exterior walls as needed down the road.
4. Draw your interior walls
Okay, once you’ve got your floor and exterior walls grouped, you’re ready for the next step. Number four, draw your interior walls. Again, for new SketchUp users, I recommend you use the Tape Measure tool to create guidelines based on the dimensions from your field measurements. Then use the Rectangle tool to trace in each wall segment. As you go, you can use the Eraser tool to delete any unnecessary edges.
And just repeat these steps again and again to draw in all the interior walls. If at any point along the way you end up with too many guidelines getting in the way, you have two options.
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In some cases, you may need to get rid of just one or two. To do that, you can erase them with the Eraser tool. But in cases where you don’t need the guides you’ve created anymore, go to your Edit menu and select the option for Delete Guides.
You’ll clear all of them out so you can start again from a blank slate. Once you’ve drawn all of your interior walls, don’t forget our previous tip and do yourself a huge favor and make them into a group. That way you’ll avoid all the headaches of struggling with an ungrouped plan where everything is stuck together.
Just be careful not to select the floor and exterior walls group. In fact, to make it easier, you can turn off the tag for that group so all you see are the interior walls.
And don’t stop there. Once you’ve made the interior walls into a group, go ahead and create a tag for them and assign that tag to the group. That reminds me. (electronic whirring) – Thanks for the tip, man. – I got you.
(bell dings) (electronic whirring) Okay, you’re at an important crossroads with this example. If your plan is to create a 3D model of this space, then at this point, you can move on and begin building your 3D model on top of what you’ve created so far. You can cover the rest of that workflow in our SketchUp for Interiors course on our website. But in this example, I wanna show you what you need to do to finish a basic floor plan in SketchUps in 2D without having to build the 3D model.
5. Add your windows and doors
To do that, let’s move on to the next step. Number five, add your windows and doors. Components in SketchUp are similar to blocks or symbols in other CAD programs, that is, geometry that’s drawn to represent objects in your design, such as windows, doors, fixtures and furniture. For the first part of our example, I’ll show you how to create your own component for a window. Again, you can start with the Tape Measure tool to set up two guidelines that represent the width of the window. Using those guides, draw in your window.
Now since we’re just setting up a basic reference plan for this example and not worrying about adding all the details you may want for, say, a construction document floor plan in SketchUps, I’ll just create a basic window symbol. But you’re free to use SketchUp’s drawing tools to add as much detail to the window as you’d like. Once you’ve got your window drawn, select it all with the Select tool, then right-click and select the option for Make Component.
Then name it something sensible and click to Finish making the component. To save time when you have more than one of something in your plan, such as multiple windows with the same dimensions, you can make a copy of it.
You do that using the Move tool. On a Mac, press and let go of the Option key. On a PC, press and let go of the Control key to turn on the copy function. Then click on the corner of the window and move your cursor to the corresponding intersection where the copied window belongs and click to complete the move.
The best part about copies of the same component is that if you need to make a change to one of them, both copies will update together, saving you a bunch of time.
Just to remember that to make any changes, you must first right-click, and select the option for Edit Component. Then when you’re done making changes, right-click outside the component, and select the option for Close Component. But what about the case where you have another window that’s not the same size? Of course, you could create a new component from scratch that’s the correct size. And in some cases, that might be your best bet, but it’s also worth pointing out that you can modify your existing component to fit.
Here’s how. Start by using the tape measure to set up guidelines for the new window. Follow the steps from before to move another copy of the window component. Then right-click on the component and select the option for Make Unique. Then right-click on the component, select the option for Edit Component, and modify the component to fit.
Because you made it unique from the original component, the changes you make to it won’t update the other instances of the opponent.
Okay, next up. You can use the same process I just described to create the doors. First, draw a rectangle with the correct width and thickness. Then use the Arc tool to draw the swing.
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Make it into a component and use the Move tool to copy it around the model. Sometimes it’ll be oriented the wrong way for the opening. In that case, with the Move tool, hover over the component. You’ll see that it actively highlights blue and that there are four red plus signs. Hover over one of the red pluses until the cursor turns into a Rotate icon.
Then click and let go of your mouse button on that red plus to begin rotating. Now you can move your mouse and hover over the tick marks on the Rotate cursor to rotate in 15-degree increments until you’ve rotated the proper amount.
Then click and let go of the mouse to finish the rotation. Other times, the door will need to be mirrored or flipped. To do that, right-click on the component and choose Flip Along.
And then you’ll either need to flip along the component’s green axis or the component’s red axis, depending on the orientation of the component. If you’re not sure which to choose, just try one. If the result isn’t right, you can undo back and try the other option. Now once you have the door oriented and flipped in the proper direction, you’ll need to move it into place. With the Move tool, click on the corner of your door component and then move your cursor onto the corresponding corner of the door opening in the plan, and click to finish the move.
And when you come to a door that has a different width, it’s probably fastest to just draw a new one. Okay, once you’ve created all your windows and doors, it’s time to add your furniture and fixtures, but you don’t have to draw everything by hand.
6. Import furniture and fixtures
There’s a faster way to add 2D symbols that we’re ready to cover in our next step. Number six, import furniture and fixtures. It’s true that you can draw all of your own 2D components for the things you need to show in your floor plan in SketchUps.
But a great thing about components is that once they’ve been drawn by someone, they can easily be shared and reused again and again. If you’re looking for 2D components that have been shared by others, a good place to start is SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse. To access the 3D Warehouse in SketchUp, go to your top menu and select Window. Then select the option for 3D Warehouse. In the 3D Warehouse search box, type 2D and the name of the object you’re looking for, and press Enter.
Click over to the Models tab and you’ll see a bunch of results.
Some of them won’t be what you’re looking for, but there should be plenty of usable options as well. When you’ve found a component you like, click on the Download button and agree to download it directly into your model. When it finishes downloading, click anywhere in white space to set it down. Remember, if the component isn’t oriented properly, you can rotate it or flip it.
Move it into place with the Move tool. And remember to click on a precise point of the component and then click on a precise point in the floor plan in SketchUps to match things up perfectly. In many cases, the component you choose won’t quite work as it’s been drawn. For example, often you’ll find that a component is the wrong size to fit into your design. When that happens, you have a couple of options.
First, you can always delete the component and go looking for a new one on the 3D Warehouse.
Another option is to scale your component with the Scale tool. Just note that when you need your symbols to be accurate, this may create distortions. For example, if you scale a real-world product, you might unintentionally warp key dimensions. Now instead of using the Scale tool, there is a third option.
You can edit the component. That’s right. You can edit a component you download from the 3D Warehouse, just like you would if you had made it yourself. To do this, right-click on the component and pick the option for Edit Component.
Then use SketchUp’s drawing and editing tools to make the changes you need.
Now as you build your own components, or find quality ones on the warehouse, one thing I always recommend is to collect the best ones and do a library to use on future projects. To save you some time, we put together a starter library for you and put a link to it in the notes, along with directions on how to use it. Whether you find symbols on the 3D Warehouse or you use the ones we’ve created for you, remember to organize the components using tags as you go. This will save you a ton of time and frustration later if you need to create different views or try out different schemes with your floor plan in SketchUps.
7. Style your plan for presentation
All right, you have all your 2D symbol components in place.
Now you’re ready for the last step. Number seven, style your plan for presentation. At this point, you’re ready to take your floor plan in SketchUps in any number of directions. Perhaps you’ll wanna add some colors or materials to liven it up. Maybe you’ll wanna take it into Layout where you can easily add a title block, labels or dimensions.
Or maybe you’re ready to start building in 3D. Here are a few fundamentals you should know to get your floor plan in SketchUps ready to present to a client or colleague. First, unless you’re adding color and materials, you’re likely to want your floor plan in SketchUps to be black and white.
To make that change, you need to use the Styles feature.
Open your Styles dialog. Mac users will find it under the Window menu, while PC users will find it in the Default Tray. Click on the Edit tab. Click on the second box for face style. Then click on the second box for hidden line.
This will turn everything black and white. While you’re in the Styles dialog, you can also click on the first box for edge styles and see if things like extension, endpoints, or even jitter are helpful for presenting a more preliminary rough sketch type of a look. If you’re using SketchUp Free, you can select one of the predefined black and white styles from the Styles tab. Just know that you can’t edit any of the styles unless you upgrade. Once you’ve settled on a style, you may also wanna hide the axes.
To do that, go to your top menu. Select View and click on Axes to turn them off. Now that everything is looking like you want it, be sure to save the scene.
First zoom and pan to get a good view. Then open your Scenes dialog.
Mac users will find it under the Window menu option, while PC users will find it in their Default Tray. In the Scenes dialog, click the plus icon, and name the scene. Now you can get back to that exact view anytime you need. And, of course, your final step will be to export an image or PDF of your floor plan in SketchUps.
To do that, go to File, Export, 2D Graphic.
Pick the format type you want, name it and click Export. Know that image files, like JPEGs, will be rasterized, or have a set pixel dimension, which means that line work may not be crisp depending on how you plan to size and present the final image. PDFs will be vector files which will show crisp line work at any size. If you’re using SketchUp Free, you can export an image by going under Menu, Export, but just know that you only have the option to export a rasterized PNG, unless you upgrade. And that’s it.
Congratulations. You made it through all seven steps to create your first floor plan in SketchUps.
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