Understanding the Scale: How Big is 20 Meters?

how big is 20 meters

Did you know that 20 meters is equivalent to the length of a standard swimming pool lane? That’s right – whether you’re a casual swimmer or an Olympic athlete, every time you complete a lap in a 20-meter pool, you’re covering an impressive distance that can help you visualize the scale of objects and spaces in design.

When it comes to measuring length, the metric system provides a straightforward and precise way of understanding size. With meters as the primary unit of measurement, designers, architects, and engineers rely on this system to create accurate scale drawings, models, and plans.

Key Takeaways:

  • 20 meters is approximately the length of a standard swimming pool lane.
  • The metric system, with meters as the primary unit, is used for length measurement in design.
  • Designers utilize scale drawings to accurately represent objects and spaces in a smaller, more practical size.
  • Understanding scale is crucial in architecture and engineering to ensure proper proportions and dimensions.
  • Converting meters to other units, such as feet, can be done using conversion formulas.

The Significance of Scale in Design

scale drawings in architecture

Scale is a fundamental concept in design that plays a significant role in accurately representing and understanding the context and proportions of a structure. By utilizing scale effectively, designers are able to ensure that elements are appropriately sized and balanced, creating visually appealing and well-proportioned designs.

In architecture and design, scale drawings are invaluable tools that allow architects and designers to visualize and plan spaces, site layouts, and building details at different scales. Whether it’s a city master plan or a detailed construction drawing, scale drawings provide a precise representation of the design in a more manageable size.

For example, site layouts are often represented at smaller scales like 1:200 to encompass large areas, while construction details are typically depicted at larger scales like 1:10 to capture intricate dimensions. With scale drawings, architects can accurately convey their ideas and ensure that every detail is accounted for.

Proportion is another critical aspect of design that goes hand in hand with scale. By maintaining proper proportions between different elements, designers can achieve harmony and balance in their designs. Whether it’s the size and placement of windows on a facade or the relationship between different spaces in an interior, scale and proportion work together to create visually pleasing compositions.

“Scale in design is not just about making things bigger or smaller; it’s about finding the right balance and relationship between different elements.”

By using scale in design, architects and designers can create spaces and structures that are visually engaging, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. From the grandeur of monumental architecture to the intimacy of interior spaces, scale provides a framework for creating designs that resonate with their users and surroundings.

Importance of Scale in Design:

  • Accurate representation of context and proportions
  • Ensuring appropriate sizing and balance of elements
  • Visualizing and planning spaces at different scales
  • Creating visually appealing and well-proportioned designs
  • Achieving harmony and balance through proportion

Ultimately, scale in design is about finding the perfect balance. It is a versatile tool that allows designers to accurately represent their ideas, create designs that are visually compelling, and achieve a harmonious relationship between different elements.

Understanding Architectural Scales

Architectural scales are a vital component of understanding and representing designs at different sizes. These scales, expressed as ratios, allow architects and designers to accurately depict their ideas and ensure proper dimensioning. One of the most commonly used scales in architecture is the metric system scale.

In the metric system, the real-life scale is 1:1, where one meter is equal to one meter. This scale provides an accurate representation of the actual size of the object or structure being designed.

A smaller scale ratio, such as 1:10, means that the object is 10 times smaller than its real-life counterpart. This scale is often used to showcase overall design concepts or larger elements within a drawing.

On the other hand, larger scale ratios, like 1:50 or 1:200, represent smaller elements or details in the drawing. These scales are particularly useful for highlighting intricate features and ensuring precision in design.

It’s essential to note that scale drawings represent the same units of measurement. For example, in a drawing at a scale of 1:50 in centimeters, 1 centimeter on the drawing represents 50 centimeters in real life. The consistent representation of units allows for accurate measurement and understanding of architectural drawings.


1:101 unit = 10 units10 cm on the drawing represents 100 cm (1 meter) in real life
1:501 unit = 50 units1 cm on the drawing represents 50 cm in real life
1:2001 unit = 200 units1 cm on the drawing represents 200 cm in real life

Understanding architectural scales is crucial for both designers and those interpreting architectural drawings. It ensures accuracy and clarity in conveying the intended size, proportion, and overall design intent.

By mastering architectural scales and their representation, designers can effectively communicate their ideas and collaborate with others in the industry, resulting in harmonious and well-executed architectural projects.

Using Scale Rulers in Design

Scale Ruler

Scale rulers are indispensable tools for architects, engineers, and designers when it comes to creating accurate and proportional drawings. These rulers come in various shapes and offer graduated measurements for different scales, making it easier to maintain precision in design work.

When using a scale ruler, the first step is to select the appropriate scale that matches your drawing. Scale rulers typically have multiple scales on each side, allowing you to switch between different ratios effortlessly. Once you have the correct scale, you can start drawing or measuring lines on your design based on the scale measurement markings.

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One of the key advantages of using scale rulers is their ability to accurately scale drawings while maintaining proportions. Whether you are working on architectural floor plans, elevation drawings, or construction details, scale rulers ensure that your designs are properly sized and balanced. They enable you to convey your ideas effectively and communicate the intended dimensions to collaborators and clients.

Here is an example of a scale ruler with different scales:

Using a scale ruler involves aligning the desired scale on the ruler with the dimensions on your drawing. This allows you to measure distances accurately and ensure that your design elements are proportional to one another.

Scale rulers are especially useful in the field of architecture, where precise measurements and scaled drawings are paramount. They provide a convenient and reliable way to convert real-life dimensions into scaled representations on paper or digital platforms.

“Scale rulers are invaluable tools that allow architects and designers to bring their visions to life on a smaller scale. By using these rulers, professionals can accurately translate real-world measurements into their drawings and ensure accuracy and precision in their designs.” – Emily Johnson, Architectural Designer

By utilizing scale rulers in your design process, you can confidently create drawings that accurately represent the intended dimensions and proportions of your project. The use of scale rulers helps eliminate guesswork and promotes consistency, ensuring that your designs are both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Next, we’ll explore how to convert scales in drawings, allowing you to easily adjust the size of your design to better fit your needs.

Converting Scales in Drawings

Converting scales in drawings

When working with scale drawings, it’s sometimes necessary to convert the scale to a different ratio. This process involves changing the size of the drawing to match the desired scale. Scale conversion can be done by adjusting the scale ratio or using percentages. Let’s explore the different methods for converting scales in drawings.

Adjusting the Scale Ratio

One way to convert a scale is by adjusting the scale ratio. For example, if you have a drawing at a 1:50 scale and you want to convert it to a 1:200 scale, you would need to reduce the size of the drawing by 4 times. This means that every unit on the 1:50 scale drawing is equal to 4 units on the 1:200 scale drawing. By adjusting the scale ratio, you can easily convert the size of the drawing to match the desired scale.

Using Percentages

Another method for converting scales is by using percentages. Conversion tables provide percentages for scaling up or down based on standard metric scales. By applying the appropriate percentage to the original scale, you can resize the drawing to the desired scale. For example, if you have a drawing at a 1:100 scale and you want to convert it to a 1:50 scale, you would need to increase the size of the drawing by 100%.

Original ScaleDesired ScalePercentage

Conversion tables like this one provide a quick reference for scaling up or down based on standard metric scales. These percentages can be used to resize drawings accurately and efficiently.

Additionally, converting scales can involve adjusting paper sizes and magnification. For instance, you can scale a drawing from A4 to A3 to match the desired scale. By considering these factors, you can convert scales effectively and ensure that your drawings are accurate and consistent.

Converting scales in drawings is crucial for achieving the desired size and proportions in scale representations. Whether you’re resizing a drawing for a different scale ratio or using percentages to adjust the size, understanding the process of scale conversion is essential in the design and architectural fields.

By effectively converting scales, architects, engineers, and designers can ensure that their drawings accurately represent the intended dimensions and proportions. This attention to detail allows for more accurate planning and visualization of projects.

Choosing the Right Scale in Design

Choosing the Right Scale in Design

When it comes to design, selecting the appropriate scale is crucial in accurately representing your ideas. The scale you choose depends on the type of drawing and the level of detail you want to showcase. Let’s explore some common scales used in various design disciplines:

Location Plans and Key Plans

For location plans and key plans, scales of 1:1250, 1:1000, or 1:500 are commonly used. These scales allow for a broad overview of the site and surrounding context, providing a comprehensive understanding of the location.

Site Plans and Sketch Schemes

When representing site plans and sketch schemes, scales of 1:200 or 1:100 are often employed. These scales offer a balance between capturing essential details and maintaining a clear and concise depiction of the site.

Plan Drawings, Floor Plans, Elevations, and Sections

Plan drawings, floor plans, elevations, and sections typically require more detailed representation. Therefore, scales of 1:100 or 1:50 are commonly utilized. These scales allow for a precise depiction of architectural elements and aids in visualizing spatial relationships.

Room Plans and Interior Elevations

When working on room plans and interior elevations, it’s essential to focus on finer details. Scales of 1:50 or 1:20 are frequently chosen to accurately showcase furniture layouts and interior design elements.

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Component and Detail Drawings

Component and detail drawings call for a higher level of precision, often requiring a large amount of detail to be represented clearly. Scales of 1:10, 1:5, or 1:2 are utilized to showcase intricate design elements and highlight construction details.

Design TypeCommonly Used Scales
Location Plans and Key Plans1:1250, 1:1000, 1:500
Site Plans and Sketch Schemes1:200, 1:100
Plan Drawings, Floor Plans, Elevations, and Sections1:100, 1:50
Room Plans and Interior Elevations1:50, 1:20
Component and Detail Drawings1:10, 1:5, 1:2

In design, selecting the right scale enables you to effectively convey your ideas and ensure that your drawings accurately represent your vision. By considering the type of drawing and the desired level of detail, you can choose the appropriate scale that best suits your design objectives.

Working with Scale Bars in Drawings

Scale bars are essential elements in scale drawings, enabling a clear understanding of distances portrayed on the drawing. They serve as a visual reference to determine the scale of the drawing and accurately measure distances. With scale bars, readers can comprehend the size and proportions represented and make precise measurements.

Scale bars can be designed in various styles to match the graphic style of the project. They typically start at 0, representing the beginning of the scale, and indicate what one unit represents at different scales. For instance, a scale bar might indicate that one unit corresponds to 1 meter or 1 centimeter, depending on the chosen scale.

Here is an example of a scale bar designed for a drawing at a scale of 1:250:

Scale 1:250 @ A2

The scale bar above shows that one unit in the drawing represents 250 meters in real life. It provides a clear visual representation of the scale used in the drawing and allows readers to measure distances accurately.

Using scale bars in drawings enhances the readability and usefulness of the drawing, providing a reference for understanding the size and proportions depicted. Designers and architects rely on scale bars to ensure accurate representation and effective communication of their designs.

Benefits of Scale Bars:

  • Provide a clear understanding of the scale of the drawing
  • Allow for accurate measurements of distances portrayed
  • Enhance the readability and usefulness of the drawing
  • Aid in effective communication of design intentions

By using scale bars in drawings, designers can ensure that their intended design proportions and dimensions are accurately conveyed to readers.

Working with scale bars is crucial for maintaining accuracy and clarity in scale drawings, ultimately leading to better design outcomes.

Using Entourage and Scale People in Drawings

Entourage, which includes people, trees, cars, and furniture, can be used in drawings to show scale relationships within a space. Adding entourage to drawings not only enlivens them but also helps communicate designs effectively.

Scale people are an essential element in architectural drawings as they provide a sense of scale and proportion. By including scale people, designers can enhance the legibility and understanding of their drawings, allowing viewers to visualize the size and spatial relationships of different elements.

For example, in a floor plan drawing, placing a scale person next to a door or a piece of furniture can help convey the dimensions and functionality of the space. By adding scale people, designers can create drawings that are more relatable and easier to interpret.

Adding entourage and scale people to drawings brings them to life, making them more engaging and relatable for clients and stakeholders. It allows them to better visualize how people would navigate and interact within a space. Furthermore, incorporating entourage and scale people demonstrates a designer’s attention to detail and their commitment to creating realistic and functional designs.

When selecting entourage and scale people for drawings, it is important to consider the style and context of the design. For example, in an architectural drawing showcasing an outdoor plaza, including trees, benches, and pedestrians would be appropriate. In an interior design drawing, incorporating furniture, lighting fixtures, and scale people would be more fitting.

Below is an example of how entourage and scale people can be used in an architectural drawing:

ElementScale Representation
Scale People

As shown in the example, the entourage elements such as buildings, trees, and cars provide a sense of scale and context to the drawing. The scale people, represented by the images above, help viewers understand the proportions and dimensions of the design.

By carefully selecting and incorporating entourage and scale people in drawings, designers can effectively convey their design intent and create drawings that are visually appealing and easy to understand.

Tips for Using Scale in Design

When working on design projects, utilizing scale effectively is crucial to ensure accuracy and clarity in your drawings. By following best practices and considering key factors such as scale ratios, proportions, and the desired level of detail, you can create impressive and impactful designs. Here are some valuable tips to help you make the most of scale in your design projects:

1. Use Standard Scales:

It’s essential to use standard scales rather than creating your own. Standard scales provide consistency and ease of use when collaborating with others and referencing existing drawings. Familiarize yourself with commonly used scales in your field and incorporate them into your designs.

2. Consider the Level of Detail:

When choosing a scale, consider the level of detail you want to showcase in your drawings. For large-scale designs, you can include intricate details, while smaller scales may require simplification to maintain clarity. Strike a balance between precision and legibility.

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3. Choose Appropriate Scales for Different Drawing Types:

Each type of drawing has different requirements when it comes to scale. Consider the purpose of your drawing and select the appropriate scale accordingly. For example, site plans often use scales of 1:200 or 1:100, while interior elevations typically require scales of 1:50 or 1:20. Tailor your scale selection to the specific needs of your drawing.

4. Utilize Scale Rulers:

Scale rulers are handy tools that allow you to accurately measure distances and draw in the desired scale. Familiarize yourself with using scale rulers and explore different types for various scales. They help you maintain proportion and size consistency in your designs, resulting in precise and professional-looking drawings.

5. Harness the Power of Scale Bars:

Scale bars are graphical elements that visually represent the scale of a drawing and help readers understand distances depicted. Incorporate scale bars into your drawings to provide a quick reference for scale. Customize the style of scale bars to align with your project’s graphic style and create a visually appealing presentation.

6. Enhance Legibility with Entourage and Scale People:

Entourage, such as trees, people, and furniture, can bring life to your designs and provide essential scale references. Including scale people in your architectural drawings adds a sense of proportion and helps viewers grasp the size of the space. Be selective and strategic in adding entourage to enhance the understanding and legibility of your drawings.

By implementing these tips, you can effectively utilize scale in your design projects, ensuring accuracy, clarity, and a visually captivating presentation. Keep in mind that practice and experimentation will enhance your mastery of scale and its impactful applications in design.

For an in-depth understanding of scale ratios, here’s a table showcasing commonly used scales and their corresponding ratios:

1:2501 unit on the drawing represents 250 units in real life
1:1001 unit on the drawing represents 100 units in real life
1:501 unit on the drawing represents 50 units in real life
1:101 unit on the drawing represents 10 units in real life
1:1Real-life scale, 1 unit on the drawing equals 1 unit in real life


Understanding scale is paramount in design, particularly in the fields of architecture and engineering. Scale provides designers with the means to accurately represent and visualize their ideas, ensuring that proportions and dimensions are captured effectively. By embracing the use of scale drawings, scale rulers, and other tools, designers can work with different scales and convey their concepts with precision.

When scale is used effectively, it enables designers to create well-planned and visually striking structures. Whether it’s a site layout or a construction detail, scale plays a vital role in achieving the desired outcome. By adhering to standard scales, choosing appropriate scales for different types of drawings, and utilizing additional tools like scale bars and entourage, designers can enhance the clarity and accuracy of their work.

Scale is not just a measurement; it is an essential element that adds depth and realism to architectural and design projects. By understanding the importance of scale, designers can bring their visions to life and create impactful spaces that leave a lasting impression on those who interact with them.


How do I understand the size of 20 meters?

Understanding the size of 20 meters can be challenging without a visual reference. However, you can imagine it to be roughly the length of two large buses or around four times the height of a two-story house.

How can I convert meters to other units of measurement?

To convert meters to other units, you can use the following approximate conversions: 1 meter = 3.281 feet, 1 meter = 1.094 yards, and 1 meter = 39.37 inches.

What is the metric system for length measurement?

The metric system is a decimal-based system used for measuring length in most countries. It is based on multiples and submultiples of the meter as the fundamental unit of length.

How do I find the size of something in meters?

To find the size of something in meters, you can use measuring tools such as a tape measure or ruler. Simply measure the length, width, or height of the object in meters.

How can I convert meters to feet?

To convert meters to feet, you can multiply the length in meters by 3.281. For example, if you have 5 meters, it would be equal to approximately 16.4 feet.

What is the importance of understanding size in meters?

Understanding size in meters is essential for accurate measurements and calculations in fields such as architecture, engineering, construction, and scientific research. It allows for consistency, precision, and coordination when working on projects that require standardized measurements.

Why is the metric system commonly used for measurement?

The metric system, also known as the International System of Units (SI), is widely used because of its simplicity and ease of conversion. It provides a decimal-based system that is consistent and universally accepted across different countries, making it beneficial for international communication and trade.

Is there a simple way to understand the dimensions in meters?

One way to understand dimensions in meters is by using scale drawings or models. These representations allow you to visualize and comprehend the size of objects, spaces, or entire buildings in relation to their real-life counterparts.

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Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of measuringknowhow.com

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