How to create a wall elevation in a word processor

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the wall elevation I posted when I was trying to figure out what to do with one of my dining room walls. Since that post, I’ve been requested to write a blog post explaining how I create a wall elevation in my word processor. I’m only too happy to oblige, even if it takes me over a month to get around to it! 😉

Being more of a planner rather than someone who can just ‘eyeball it’, I often whip up an elevation in Pages (the word processor on my Macbook) when I’m trying to work out what to do with a wall because it helps me visualise what size and type of art / shelves / furniture will work before I make any purchases.

For example, I created a quick elevation when I was planning the gallery wall in my son’s room to help me determine the size of art + frames and how to space them relative to the bench that sat against the wall:

Quick digital elevation to plan the size and spacing of art on gallery wall

and here’s how it turned out:

ARTY HOME gallery wall.jpg

A wall elevation uses the same concept as a floor plan – it’s a drawing to scale, except instead of a top-down view, it’s a straight-on view. Below are the steps I follow to create a wall elevation in my word processor. (NOTE: I use Pages, not Microsoft Word. I haven’t touched Microsoft in about a decade so I can’t comment on how well these steps will translate to MS Word or any other word processor. As long as you’re able to draw lines, rectangles, insert images and specify exact sizes for these in your document, then you’ll be fine.)

First, roughly draw your wall on a paper (it’ll probably start as a rectangle) and include any features such as skirting, picture rail, panelling, fireplace, door or light switch… whatever is relevant to your plans for the wall. This needs to be nothing more than sketchy.

Measure your wall and note down these measurements on your drawing. To draw an elevation using a scale of 1:10, you’ll need each of these measurements divided by 10. You may find it useful to write down the scaled measurements next to the actual measurements on your drawing.

Very sketchy drawing of the wall, showing the features and measurements

On your word processor, open up a document and size it to A3 landscape: most walls scaled down by 1:10 should fit within this document size. A3 = 42cm x 29.7cm so if your wall is larger than 420cm x 297cm, then you’ll need to either use a larger document size, or use a scale of 1:20.)

Use rectangles and lines to draw (and colour, if you like) your wall, sizing and positioning them according to the measurements you on your sketch. Select Text Wrap = None for your shapes, so that the position of one doesn’t interfere with the position of another.


Finally, plan your wall! For any objects that you want to add to your wall, you’ll need to save the images from the internet, note down their actual height and width so you can work out their scaled down measurements (keep the scale constant at 1:10), and remove any background (if you’re not sure how to do that, google how to remove background from an image in Photoshop / Photoshop Elements – whichever you use – and check out the tutorials). Drag the image into your document, select Text Wrap = None, resize it according to the 1:10 scale dimension and play around! Why not even indulge in styling up a virtual shelfie? 🙂


A wall elevation isn’t totally foolproof of course. When I put up my shelves and styled them, I realised I didn’t want Klimt’s sunflower print, but instead something with less colour, so I went for this gorgeous Tree of Life lithographic print from Degree, which looks like a tree ring, except the image is made up of little animals. Very clever, I think, and highlights a very important message about conservation. Even though I didn’t stick to the plan fully, creating an elevation did help me to figure out the layout for this wall, which now looks like this. I’m pretty happy with it. 🙂


Taking a shortcut

If you find drawing to scale a little cumbersome, you could take a shortcut: take a straight photo of your wall and resize it to a 1:10 scale in your word document (100cm of wall width = 10cm on your document), then embellish it with your ideas of what to do with it. For example, when I was thinking of painting diagonal stripes in my son’s reading nook, I used a scaled photo of the wall and played around with the thickness and positioning of the lines until I was happy with it.

Photo of reading nook superimposed with planned stripes and art position (excuse the mess!)

This showed me that 10cm thick stripes worked best and made it easy for me to know where and how to position them. This is how they turned out:

Arty Home - Kid's Reading Nook 2.jpg


So there you have it, folks. I like to visualise my ideas before I implement them and I find digital elevations are the best way to do this. Do you use any visualisation tools to plan your decor ideas or are you one of those with the enviable talent of being to design with just your gut feeling and have it turn out beautifully? I’d love to know!

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  1. September 29, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    First this is an amazing blog post! Such a great idea. I don’t know what pages is but will find out. Also Do you have to buy photoshop app or is,it free?

    • Meera
      September 30, 2016 / 11:18 am

      Thanks so much Katherine, so lovely of you to say! 🙂 To answer your questions: Pages is a word processor, part of the iWork suite of applications for Apple. As for photoshop, I think the app only has very basic functionality. I use Photoshop Elements on my computer. It costs a fraction of the cost of the full Photoshop, even better if you can get a discount. Elements has become so powerful now, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not having the expensive Photoshop. But then, I don’t have very fancy graphic design skills!

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