How to Design a Bathroom Layout


Bathrooms are typically the smallest rooms in a house. For every new bathroom built or remodeled, there's always a long list of must-have's and wants. Although, it seems impossible to get everything into such a small space, it is possible. Before thinking about what color to paint the walls, tiles to choose or bath fixtures to buy, it's important to sit down and design a bathroom layout first.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper and pencil
  • Bathroom architectural template
  • Room planning software (optional)
  • Check local building codes for building and remodeling requirements like, clear space needs, door placement, shower and tub size, fixture placement and lighting. Local codes stress minimum requirements, but organizations like the National Kitchen and Bath Association offer guidelines based on maximum comfort and organization.

  • Draw out the the room's dimensions on graph paper. Take wall-to-wall measurements of the space and ignore the current placement of fixtures. Add door and window locations. Also, mark the existing mechanical systems, like plumbing and electrical outlets. If costs are a factor, these systems should stay in place.

  • Gather dimensions for bathroom fixtures and parts, like vanities and storage closets. Don't forget towel racks and tissue holders.

  • Plan for maximum floor space. Most local codes require a minimum space of at least 21 inches in front of sinks, toilets and bathtubs. A more comfortable space is at least 24 inches. Keep in mind, handicap accessibility standards require extra space, such as room for wheelchair mobility.

  • Lay out the interior of the bathroom on the graph paper. A bathroom architectural template can help with this process or use a room planning software. Other than local building codes, there are no hard-and-fast rules to designing a bathroom layout. Move the fixtures and parts around until building and design needs are met.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most local building codes require some form of handicap accessibility. Even if local codes don't state it, think about adding clear floor space for accessibility and reinforcing walls to support bathroom safety bars for eventual installation.

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