How to Draw Electrical Plans

Plan out electrical work before taking on a major remodel.

electrical plan and installation equipment

BHG / Kevin Norris

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

A home electrical plan or house wiring diagram is a vital piece of information to have when renovating, completing a DIY project, or speaking to a professional electrician about updates to your electrical system. A detailed plan can provide a quick, easy-to-understand visual reference to ensure that you know and can communicate where to find the switches, outlets, lights, phone connections, wires, appliances, and other electrical elements.

However, you can't just pick up a marker and a scrap piece of paper to sketch out an overview of the home. The completed plan needs to be a detailed, accurate representation of the house and the electrical system. It should also incorporate the use of well-known or commonly used electrical symbols so that professional electricians and other contractors are able to use the plan as a reference for any renovation projects. Use this guide to learn how to draw electrical plans or wiring diagrams for your home.

What to Know Before You Begin

Before getting started, you'll need to decide on the best method for drawing detailed representations of your home electrical system. You can go with a simple paper and pencil option, though it's recommended to make use of a ruler or another straight edge to improve the accuracy and detail of the finished product. Another option is to purchase planning software that comes with a suite of functions to help you complete the wiring diagram, including electrical symbols, commonly used abbreviations, legends, and drawing tools.

If you choose to sketch the electrical plans with paper and a pencil, it's recommended to study widely accepted electrical symbols to identify where wires, switches, relays, circuits, receptacles, and other individual electrical components are located in the home. This list of electrical drawing symbols is a great place to start.

What You'll Need


  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Paper
  • Planning software


How to Draw Electrical Plans

The key factor to keep in mind when drawing electrical plans is that they need to be accurate. Make sure you take careful measurements of the layout and consider adding counters, cabinets, and other blueprint features to the plan to help visualize where electrical components are located in the home.

  1. Create a Layout of the Home

    layout of home

    BHG / Kevin Norris

    Before adding any electrical components to your plan, you need to sketch an accurate layout of the home. Using your planning software or paper and pencil, make a scale drawing of each room and everything in it, including counters, cabinets, appliances, and large furniture, like beds, couches, or tables. Don't complete this sketch from memory. Walk around your home and take proper measurements with a tape measure to ensure the accuracy of the plan.

    This initial sketch will serve as the basis for the electrical plan, so be sure to include items or objects that will be able to help you visualize the electrical system layout. Any items or objects that are frequently moved around the home can be left out of the plans because the location of these objects has no bearing on the layout of the wiring diagram.

  2. Identify Electrical Components

    identifying electrical components in electrical plan

    BHG / Kevin Norris

    With your home layout ready to go, you can start to add electrical components to the plan. Start with the interior layout, beginning with the entry and exit points. Identify the location of lights, switches, fans, electrical outlets, and any semi-fixed electrical devices or appliances, including PCs, TVs, printers, washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, clothes dryers, and garbage disposals. Make sure to label the electrical components with commonly used and recognized electrical symbols and abbreviations.

  3. Draw the Electrical Wiring

    draw electrical wiring

    BHG / Kevin Norris

    After identifying and labeling the correct locations for the main electrical components throughout the home, you will need to draw the wired connections throughout the house. Make a clear, accurate wiring diagram, showing where the components of a circuit are located, as well as the signal connections between devices.

    Not only will this aid professional electricians when they are working on the electrical system, but it can also help facilitate future renovation projects by visually indicating where wires are located throughout the home. This allows you to take proper precautions when working in these areas to avoid damage to the electrical system.

  4. Add a Legend of Electrical Symbols

    adding legend to electrical plans

    BHG / Kevin Norris

    Even with study and practice, you may end up including an uncommon symbol or using an unfamiliar abbreviation on your electrical plan. To ensure that the plan can be easily read and understood, it's a good idea to add a legend to the wiring diagram for reference. If you are using a piece of paper and pencil, just include the legend on the side of the plan or even on the back of the paper. Typically, planning software will have the option to include a detailed legend of the symbols and abbreviations used in the electrical diagram.

  5. Complete a Walkthrough with the Electrical Plan

    reviewing electrical plans

    BHG / Kevin Norris

    Once you are satisfied with your electrical plan, complete a walkthrough of the home to verify the accuracy and detail of the wiring diagram. Ideally, all electrical components will be included in the plan and will be located in the precise areas as indicated by corresponding electrical symbols or abbreviations.

Electrical Plan Drawing Tips

There are a few things to keep in mind to better understand how to draw electrical plans for your home. First, consider the placement of furniture and how it will be reflected in your plan. If you are making an electrical plan for the layout of a new home that isn't yet finished, you can plot the ideal layout for your electrical components based on the intended position of your furniture.

Similarly, a plan can help you address any shortcomings in your electrical system, like having too few outlets or improperly spaced lighting. Renovating the electrical system can come with a high cost, so if you get the opportunity, it's a good idea to install additional wall and ceiling outlets for electrical devices, appliances, and lighting.

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