How to produce elevation drawings

Following on from “How to draw a room plan to scale“, this post deals with how to produce elevation drawings.

Why are these important? They will be required by professionals such as planning officers or building control to check that proposed and completed works have been done correctly. They are also useful for interior design to show before and after images and for contractors to show works to be completed.

Tools for Drawing

As with a plan to scale, elevations provide an accurate record of the dimensions, services and features in a room but from the perspective of looking directly at each wall. You will need a tape measure, a scale rule, a pencil and 4 sheets of A4 paper. Each elevation will be recorded on a separate piece of paper. To start, some rough drawings will be made and then transferred to paper as proper scale drawings.


An elevation shows the side view of a room (there will normally be 4) and should be marked A-A, B-B, C-C and D-D. Look around your room and sketch the 4 walls as you see them, as though they were rectangles, label them A-A etc. Then measure the height and width of each wall and write them down; take measurements at different intervals along the wall to check that they are uniform. Add to your sketch the sizes of items such as radiators, windows, doors, fireplaces (measure the width and height of each).Your sketch should look something like this:

Also, measure and add the size of skirting, architraves, power points, cornicing, chimney breasts etc. Make a note of anything and everything you think might be useful, you can never have too much information!

It is a good idea to take photographs of the room to refer to, a polaroid is ideal, but use any media which you can print out or download, to make a copy to attach to your survey. It is also useful to have a partner with you, they can hold the tape measure tight against items (for accuracy) and also act as a second pair of eyes to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Now you are ready to transfer your sketch to paper as an accurate scale drawing. Take your first piece of A4 and label it Elevation A-A, use a pencil to make feint lines first and then go over them in black pen when you are happy that they are correct. Using your scale ruler and turning the face to display the 1:20 scale, draw your wall using the measurements on your sketch then add in all the details you noted and draw to scale any features. Should your room be very large and the walls will not fit onto A4 paper then you can either use A3 paper or consider a different scale such as 1:25 or 1:50.

When you have practised several sets of elevations you will see just how easy it becomes. You may find that not all elevations are needed as some walls may not be included in your project. When providing drawings for professional purposes, however, such as applying for planning permission or building control, then it is as well to include all elevations in your  drawings for a complete look.

You can read “How to draw a room plan to scale” here.


My name is Caroline Sutton and I'm a wife and mother of 3 children, passionate about food, keeping me and my family healthy, gorgeous interiors and shopping! I have a degree in Biochemistry and Pharmacology and continue to be interested in the science behind diet and drugs. I also have a Diploma and City and Guilds in Interior Design and for the last 17 years have run a property company which develops, redevelops and manages rental properties: Sunlight Properties Ltd.

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