Alright friends… after sharing a Designer Trick post all about flooring planning back in February, I promised I’d follow up with my personal process for floor planning in Adobe Illustrator. I will say (as an interior designer), floor planning in Adobe is not the norm. It’s comfortable, convenient, and quick for me, so it feels like like second nature at this point, but I was honestly surprised to hear how many of you floor plan in AI as well (which is awesome)! It’s an easy, accessible software that totally gets the job done. I hope my video tutorial is helpful if you’re dabbling in floor planning. It’s extremely helpful for furniture placement, determining traffic paths, and creating an accurate plan that is most importantly, to scale. Click through to see how I do it.
I’ve been working from the balcony since the weather has been so nice lately. Before it gets terribly hot here in Utah, I’ve been taking advantage of mild summer days. Of course the dogs lounge outside while I work, but Cash refused to leave the scene once I pulled out my camera, so he’s in every single photo. He sits across from me at the bistro table like a human… it’s ridiculously cute. He’s like my little colleague. I know I’ve spent wayyyy too much time at home alone during quarantine because I start talking to him about work stuff. Sometimes he’ll tilt his head and I’m convinced he knows what I’m talking about. Ha!
Exactly one year ago, I shared a video explaining how I edit interior photos in Photoshop. Just like I said in that post last year… I’ve been working in Adobe software (Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, Lightroom, etc) for over 16 years! I also graduated art school with a BFA in graphic design, so I’m very comfortable in Adobe Creative Suite. If you’re just getting started, give yourself some grace and practice, practice, practice. It takes time to learn the ropes. Ready to dive in? Click play below (and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more helpful videos)…
Floor planning in Adobe Illustrator takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a very quick process… especially if you keep your standard architectural elements and vectors in a master file, ready to copy & paste. Floor planning is a game changer when laying out a space and visualizing how a room will look and flow. I floor plan every single room I design!
Was this video helpful for those of you who use Illustrator? If you’re not into tech and software, not to worry… floor planning on grid paper is equally as effective. You just need a notepad lined with a grid, a ruler, a calculator, and a pencil with an eraser. Regardless of how you do it, it’s an important step in the design process I’d recommend everyone try!
AleMay 27, 2020 at 4:40 am
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this tutorial. Thank you! I love the tip about using the measuring shape to help place things in the right spot. Never would have thought of that. Going to try making a simple floorpan today :)
Question: Would gridlines be helpful in any way? I always assumed you would use them, but I see you didn’t need to.
SarahMay 27, 2020 at 6:43 pm
Yay!! So glad to hear that, Ale! I always use little shapes to measure- it’s so fast and easy. I’m a visual person, so it makes more sense in my brain. You could definitely use gridlines. I never use them because I haven’t felt the need, but if you’re trying to visualize how balanced a space feels- it might be helpful. I try to keep it quick and simple, so the less lines- the more streamlined my process feels. Let me know if you have any more questions :)
PeggiMay 27, 2020 at 6:14 am
Great tutorial, as always! If I had this software, I’m pretty sure I could bang out a rudimentary floor plan. I also learned a new meaning for the term “vectors” today. (Much more pleasant than the one floating around the airwaves these days!) I must say that you have the cutest and best-behaved officemate! I loved having Joe around while I worked from home, but he gets creative when he decides he needs attention! During one meeting, he stole and chewed up a pencil. Another time, he snagged a page from my gradebook.🐶 Cash is much more of a gentleman. Your office views are pretty spectacular, too! Cheers to a productive Wednesday!💜
SarahMay 27, 2020 at 6:39 pm
Haha! Cash is an awesome officemate, but Crosby is the one who finds creative ways to get attention (just like Joe). He usually tries squeaking a toy right in my lap or steals papers from my desk. lol! Hope you had an awesome Wednesday :)
LaurenMay 27, 2020 at 7:29 am
So cool! I’m going to try my hand at one this weekend and see if I can’t come up with something really amazing for our master bedroom! Thank you for pulling this together Sarah! What an awesome tutorial. Short week Wednesday! Does anyone else feel scrambled?? I keep feeling like I’m forgetting something haha!
SarahMay 27, 2020 at 6:37 pm
Yay!! Let me know if you have any questions. I definitely feel scrambled… I started making notes in my planner yesterday in the “Monday” column. Haha! Weird week!
KatieMay 28, 2020 at 8:41 am
Yes! Thank you so much for sharing this. We are moving into a rental in a couple of months. Feeling very inspired to map out my floor plans with current (and new) furniture, even if I can’t make any permanet changes to the space. I’m 99.9% sure I know the answer to this but.. which do you do first, mood board or floor plan? And do you always use PS for mood boards or do you also use AI? Thanks again!
SarahMay 29, 2020 at 9:19 am
Yay!! So happy to hear that Katie, and congrats on your upcoming move. That’s really exciting! Floor planning is SO helpful before you start shifting and moving things around. I always make a plan first. In terms of what comes first… the moodboard or the floor plan? I’m sure everyone has a different process, but I do mine simultaneously. Typically I have a starting point for a room (an awesome piece of furniture, a rug, an architectural element, etc). I’ll plug the known dimensions into the floor plan first, then moodboard different items that work, making sure they fit the size requirements and floor plan as I go. So maybe I’d answer floor plan to that question? I always use PS for moodboards (never Ai). Hope this helps :)
Salem BrieskeMay 29, 2020 at 10:20 am
Sarah! This floor plan tool is incredible! I can’t wait to take a stab at it. Thank you so much for sharing. My husband and I flip and renovate houses. I design other flips to help other investors out as well and this is going to take my floor planning game to the next level. Would you mind sharing the source for your vector files? I have scoured the internet to try to find a set I like and they are actually pretty hard to find! Thank you again for sharing!
SarahMay 31, 2020 at 11:07 am
I hope it’s helpful! Let me know if you have any questions once you dive into it :) My vectors files are old, but you can easily find them if you search “interior design floor planning vectors” on Google. Alternatively, you can purchase stock vectors here: https://www.shutterstock.com/search/interior+design+floor+planning+vectors
ChelseaJune 3, 2020 at 4:20 pm
I’m a scientist who uses Adobe Illustrator to make scientific figures for journal articles (seems to be the norm software for this, at least in my academic sphere). If anyone is looking for a free alternative to the Adobe suite, Inkscape is my recommendation! It’s essentially a dupe, with some small differences.
And, I echo the advice to practice, practice, practice. I used to dread working in AI b/c it can be clunky and unintuitive at first, but the more you practice the easier and more enjoyable it becomes.
LaurenJune 3, 2020 at 7:53 pm
Thank you for the recommendation Chelsea!! I’ve been searching for a dupe/free version!!
SarahJune 4, 2020 at 9:31 am
Yes- amazing! I’ve never heard of that software before, so that’s another incredible resource I’ll have to add to the list :) Thank you Chelsea.
SarahJune 4, 2020 at 9:40 am
That is incredible, Chelsea! Thank you so much for sharing your Inkscape resource with everyone… I had never heard of it until now. Like you- I used to hate Illustrator because it felt overwhelming, but now it’s my go-to. You’re right- it’s all about practicing :)