Designers, and Drawings, and Plans... Oh My!

Understanding Architectural Drawings and the Role of an Interior Designer


Concern over such things as atmosphere, furniture, colors, and textures can affect customer satisfaction and sales. Your interior designer (in some cases, in partnership with your Market Manager) will lead you through the design process, taking each of these factors into account. Using your input, the designer will provide ideas for an appealing space that meets your functional and budgetary goals. Designers may be responsible for:
• Developing floor plans and seating plans in dining areas

• Developing color schemes and selecting finishes

• Suggesting signage and merchandising related design needs

• Providing furniture layouts and furnishing material/finish specifications

• Working with architect and electrical engineer to design the lighting


Whether you are in renovations, additions, or new construction, you will need to be able to read architectural drawings. Like many professions, architecture has its own unique methods for conveying information. Architects and designers communicate using drawings and words to describe how a building will look and function. It is important to understand what the drawings say in order to give feedback and make sure that you are satisfied with what the architect or designer has done.
How to Read Plan Drawings

The floor plan is a bird’s eye view of a particular floor level of a building after an imaginary cut is made horizontally through the walls. The upper floors and/or roof are then removed so you can “see down into the building”. The floor plan shows the exact size and outline of a particular floor. It includes every wall, door, window, permanent fixture, electrical outlet, and other proposed interior construction.

How to Read Section and Elevation Drawings
A building section is a view of a building after making an imaginary vertical cut through the building. One side of the building is then pulled away so you can see inside the rest of the building. The purpose of a section is to show the interior space of a building, its floor-to-ceiling heights, foundation depth, framing material, wall finishes, and mechanical equipment.

An elevation is a straight-on view of a building wall. This is like taking a photograph of the wall of a building. The elevations are usually oriented north, south, east, or west. The purpose of an elevation is to show the treatment of exterior or interior walls and roof.

Importance of As-Built Drawings

When the project is complete, the contractor should provide as-built drawings for all new and renovated construction. These drawings must be kept in a safe place. Additional sets of drawings should be kept with key personnel. The minor field modifications and relocation of any plumbing, electrical, and mechanical work during construction can play a major role in additions and renovations done at a later date.

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