Learn to Read Blueprints

Jerome Felix

Blueprints are easy to grasp once you’ve reviewed them. Once you have the basic experience needed to read blueprints, it’s fun to follow the schematics.

Many people try to hit the books, read a website, or take a class to understand a blueprint, but you’ll get more out of these other materials if you first sit down with a blueprint and learn how to follow its legend.

  1. Jump in and try to read a blueprint. Continue looking at the blueprint until it makes sense. Notice how designers label the rooms, the windows and the doors. Treat this as a jigsaw puzzle, where you use the legend to interpret parts of the blueprint that escape your understanding. Start with the basics, like the general building outline, then work to the complex, like the building’s electric circuit setup.

  2. Use what you learn to further understand blueprints. When you get a working understanding on reading blueprints, information you read on the topic will be easier to understand. Check out a book from the “For Dummies" book series focusing on reading blueprints (see Resources below).

  3. Challenge yourself to create a blueprint from scratch. This will force you to learn to read blueprints with “hands-on” experience. You’ll learn better by engaging your hands and brain when you create a blueprint. Get guidance from an architect, or attend an architect course, where you’ll have an instructor’s guidance.

  4. Play “The Sims™” computer game and take the opportunity to build homes for your fictional family. Look at the surrounding rooms when your character moves from one room to another. View the other rooms, as you'll be able to see through walls in this game. Notice each room and what's in these rooms; this is a “3-D” version of what you’d see in blueprints.