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What Is an Elevation Drawing?

What Is an Elevation Drawing?

Designers and architects definitely have a lingo of their own, and sometimes it can be confusing to homeowners.  Read on to find out what they mean when they say they will create an “elevation” drawing for your project…

An “elevation” is a drawing that shows the front or side of something.  A floor plan, by contrast, shows a space from above – as if you are looking down on the room from the ceiling.  Thus, you see the tops of everything, but you cannot view the front, side or back of an object.  An elevation gives you the chance to see everything from the other viewpoints.

Floor Plan Drawing

The arrows on this floor plan show you which elevation drawing to look at for more details.

Elevations are essential in kitchen design, as well as other detailed renovations.  Without elevation drawings, you cannot see the details of your new cabinetry, the size of each drawer or the location of each cabinet.  A floor plan simply cannot communicate all of this information adequately.

While an elevation is not required for every renovation or redecorating project, they are very useful when designing items like a fireplace, bathroom vanities, bars, or any location with built-in cabinetry, such as an office or entertainment space.  The information shown on an elevation drawing will give you a chance to make small changes to the design before anything is built or ordered – you don’t want to be surprised during the installation!

While every detail isn’t typically shown on an elevation (such as the exact cabinet door style you plan to use), the major elements will be there, including cabinet locations, the direction each cabinet door opens (hint:  look at the “arrows” on the doors – the arrow points to the hinge, so you know which way the door opens!), appliance locations, height of cabinets and more.  On elevations intended for use during the preliminary design stage of your project, you will find much less detail.  Drawings intended for use as a guide for construction will include numerous notes and dimensions on the page.

Elevation drawing

This elevation drawing shows the cabinetry details of view "B" of the floor plan shown above.

Any good designer or contractor will provide you with elevation drawings when they are needed.  But, if they don’t offer them, be sure to ask about elevations, so you can be sure about what you will be getting when you see the final result of your project.

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5 Responses to What Is an Elevation Drawing?

  1. Ola!!!

    This is such a GREAT EXPLANATION of an ELEVATION.

    Thank you for presenting it in such a simple, yet informative manner.

    – Eddy

  2. […] so many things a designer can do for you! Do you want a consultation? A completed floorplan with elevations? Assistance with sourcing furniture and fixtures from “to the trade” sellers? Total […]

  3. Jeremiah H. says:

    Nice clear explanation. I’m going to use this for the high school architecture class I teach.

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