How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

February 2, 2017

Yay! You've just gotten your floor plan from HDB, and you can't wait to kickstart your renovation. But there's just one problem - you can't read floor plans.

Don't worry, you won't need an architect or interior designer to help you decode; we broke down some common symbols to help you figure your floor plan out in seconds.


Pretty obvious what lines in a floor plan represent - walls. However, different strokes signify different types; Here are three walls you will most commonly find in HDBs:

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

1. Structural Walls

Either a foundation wall or pillar that holds a building together. Cannot be hacked (even if you ask HDB pretty please).

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

Can’t hack a bomb shelter? Make it a highlight feature wall and space breaker. This fun, concrete-finished wall acts as a separator between the kitchen and bedrooms.

Interior Designer: Free Space Intent
Location: Punggol Walk

2. Normal Walls

Walls that segregate different areas, like bedrooms. Can be hacked, with approval from HDB.

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

Here's an idea for your extra study room. Remove the walls and replace it with a glass-box style partition for a clear, unbroken look.

Interior Designer: DISTINCTidENTITY
Location: Sumang Link

3. Gable-end Walls

Walls with short awnings on the exterior to protect the apartment from sun and heat. Usually found in corner units.

4. Wall Length (in mm)

Lines with numbers surrounding your home. These four to five digit numerals represent actual wall dimensions in millimetres.


A floor plan is like a bird eye's view of your home; Which probably explains why your door doesn't look like one on paper. These are four common door symbols to look out for in your layout:

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

1. Swing Doors

Those wedged-looking corners in your room are used in a floor plan to show a door and its swinging angle.

Most rooms have doors that swing inwards, with the exception of the household shelter door that swings out. Avoid doing any structural changes or add furniture that might obstruct the movement in this area!

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

This applies to both HDBs and condos. Maintain a clean and uncluttered walkway around the shelter door by building storage space flush to the walls.

Interior Designer: Earth Interior Design
Location: Seahill

2. Folding Doors

More commonly found in service yards and bathrooms, foldable doors are represented by a 'V' or zig-zag line.

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

A folding door can still look stylish - in the right finish. A white framed door set in clear glass blends perfectly with the kitchen scheme.

Interior Designer: Mr Shopper Studio
Location: Joo Seng Road

In general, homeowners are free to customise the door type (sliding, block, revolving), as long as it does not require hacking a structural wall or block walking space.

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

Now, here's something you don't see everyday in HDBs. If you have enough space, why not build a double revolving door like this maisonette bedroom?

Interior Designer: DISTINCT idENTITY
Location: Bukit Batok

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

For a minimal, seamless look, camouflage your doors into a feature wall, so that it looks concealed at first glance.

Architect: JOW Architects
Location: Clementi

Are your doors provided for?

Knock knock, who's there? Oh wait, you might not even have a door to knock on. You can find out whether your apartment has pre-built doors provided by HDB through the stroke used in a floor plan.

  • 3. Dotted/Dashed - Doors not provided by HDB
  • 4. Solid Line - Provided by HDB


Fancy living in a glass box? Not happening in an HDB, that's for sure. Most of us have to make do with these 3 common windows you can find in floor plans.

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

1. Sliding Windows

On a floor plan, a sliding window is shown as a thin, hollow line by the walls, which can be hard to notice.

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

Match your sliding window frame to the background, so that it doesn't jut out from the rest of the space.

Interior Designer: Innerglow Design
Location: Yishun Street 61

2. Casement Windows

Windows that you can swing open, much like a door. Represented by closed wedge shapes.

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

Interiors for this living room are kept simple to frame this home's wide-spanning casement windows, which allow ample sunlight to filter in as well.

Interior Designer: Space Atelier
Location: Upper Serangoon Road

3. Top Hung Windows

Small windows placed near the top for ventilation. Usually found in the bathrooms.

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

Worry about privacy? Install a mini blind on your top-hung window to keep blinding lights and pesky eyes away.

Interior Designer: Mr. Shopper Studio
Location: Joo Seng Road

Some window styles are better suited to a particular area over others. For example, louvred or top-hung windows are usually installed for bathrooms, as they are easier to use from a greater height. On the other hand, casement windows are great for ventilation, as they provide a bigger surface area for air to move in.

Keep in mind that HDB also has some regulations for installing certain types of windows:

  • Casement windows cannot be used by the corridor, for safety.
  • Homeowners cannot change the look of their 3/4 or full-length windows as that will affect the exterior. It can only be replaced if damaged.

Other Funny-Looking Symbols

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

1. Stairs

Mostly for maisonettes, staircases can be identified by lined rectangles, with arrows indicating the direction of movement.

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

Think out of the box - Add some fun elements to your stairwell, like installing monkey bars or overlaying an inspirational quote on its geometric planes.

Interior Designer: Space Sense Studio
Location: Hougang

2. 50/100 Drop

This label Indicates a drop of 50mm or 100mm in floor level. Found in wet areas (kitchen, balcony, bathrooms) where washing and cleaning are frequent, this enables better drainage and avoids flooding the other parts of the house.

How To Read Your HDB Floor Plan In 10 Seconds

Don't like having a ledge between your living space and balcony, go for a seamless transition between two spaces by levelling up with cement screed.

Interior Designer: D5 Studio Image
Location: Upper Thomson Road

3. Ramp Up

The 'RAMP UP' label shows areas that are installed with ramps, to help negotiate any level differences (such as the 100 drop).

4. Laundry rack area

No more pesky bamboo poles; Newer HDBs will come installed with a laundry rack, represented by 3 black lines found near the service yard.

Now that you've got your layout all figured out, its time to find a professional who can help you execute those plans. Simply drop in a quote request, and we can match you up with 5 interior designers for free! All recommendations made by Qanvast will also be covered under our Qanvast Guarantee scheme, up to $50,000.

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