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How to Read an Independent Living Floor Plan

Making your move to an independent living community like Wichita Presbyterian Manor has a lot of considerations. You may have already decided where you want to live geographically and what you can afford. Now it’s time to start looking at senior apartment communities and the living spaces they have available.  

Determining your wants and needs.

Before you start studying senior housing floor plans, it’s important to know what you want and need in your new independent living arrangement. Ask yourself:

  • Do you want one bedroom or two?
  • How many bathrooms do you need?
  • How much cabinet and closet space do you want?
  • What about a balcony or patio?
  • How about windows and light exposure?
  • Do you want to face east for sunrise or west for sunset?
  • Do you need a multi-use space for an office, den or craft room?
  • Do you want a washer and dryer? Or will you share a laundry area?

Looking at floor plans. 

Now that you have determined what you need and want in your new space, it’s time to study the independent living floor plans available to you.  

Most independent living communities, including Wichita Presbyterian Manor, will have their floor plans online with downloadable PDFs of each. For many people, looking at print outs of floor plans is the easiest way to compare between independent living apartments.

View floor plans with your list of wants and needs at hand. Also consider your furnishings and personal objects, especially if you are moving from a larger home. Think about the things you definitely want to bring with you. Take measurements of your belongings and make notes on the floor plans you’ve printed out.

  • How much square footage will your things take up?
  • Will everything fit into the space you are looking at?
  • Will it be too crowded?
  • Do you want or need to buy new things that will better fit the square footage, layout and style of your new independent living apartment?

Understanding square footage.

Calculating square footage is an easy math equation of length times width. This article from explains how to measure accurately and why square footage is important.  

Knowing the square footage of your current home and comparing it to your future independent living apartment is vital in making a good decision. If you live in 2,000 square foot home now, will one-third or half of that space be suitable? Or do you want something a little bit bigger?

For example, here at Wichita Presbyterian Manor, our one-bedroom apartments start at about 750 square feet. Two-bedroom units range up to twice that size. Our cottage-like duplexes give you 1,100+ square feet, plus a garage and patio.

Deciphering floor plan designs.

Once you start looking at independent living floor plans, you will start to understand the “design language” of lines, squares, shapes and symbols. It’s actually quite simple: 

Lines in a Floor Plan

  • Heavy solid lines depict the walls, outlining the rooms and other spaces within the unit. The rooms (living, bath, bed, kitchen, dining) will be marked within those lines, as will the dimensions (length x width) of each room.
  • Lighter solid lines show where the windows are, along with any outdoor spaces like patio or balcony.
  • Curved lines indicate entry doors, closet doors, and bedroom and bathroom doors.
  • Pointed arrow-type lines depict folding doors, often on a closet or laundry area.
  • Dotted lines typically indicate an architectural feature or cabinetry.

Squares, Shapes and Symbols in a Floor Plan

  • Squares or rectangles illustrate bathtubs, showers and vanities. If you see an X, that means the bathroom has a shower but not a tub.
  • Kitchen and laundry appliances are also noted in square shapes.
  • Appliances will be noted with abbreviations such as REF, DW and W/D – meaning refrigerator, dishwasher and washer/dryer. You might also see a P for pantry.
  • A square with four circles shows where the stove/oven is.
  • Ovals point out the sinks and toilets. Toilets also have a little rectangle to depict the tank.

Follow these guidelines and you will be an expert at reading floor plans before you know it!

Helpful Resources

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