How to Design a Bathroom

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Remodeling a bathroom can be quite a difficult undertaking, but having a proper idea of what you want for the remodeled space can help you save time, money, and effort. Read this article for advice on designing your bathroom.

Basic Considerations

It can be quite difficult to include all of the various features you want while still achieving a style that suits your preferences. A lot of it depends on the plumbing and wiring that already exists. It's less work if you don't have to relocate those features.

Typical standard dimensions for bathroom fixtures.Always comply with local building codes. As you begin to plan your new bathroom, you will first consider the layout of the current space and decide which problem areas require the most attention. Then inspect the plumbing and decide which upgrades you need. It's easier to reconfigure the outlets and vents. The less you change the layout, the more money you can save.

You also need a lighting plan. Most bathrooms have a bright light above the mirror. Softer lighting controlled by a dimmer switch offers a relaxing alternative when you aren't using the mirror. When it comes to planning materials, choose high-grade waterproof options to save effort later. To cut your utility cost, you may also install efficient appliances and fixtures.

Planning a New Bathroom

Sketch a scaled plan for your new bathroom on graph paper so that you can see how space will flow. Include all of the details, such as outlets, entrances, and windows. Also, sketch the cabinets and fixtures.

The first step in planning your new bathroom is to draw the existing bathroom to scale, noting all dimensions.

Fixtures and Components

Visit your local home improvement store to see the cabinets they have for sale. You can also get inspiration from books and magazines.

Most bathtubs are 30x60x15-inches, but if you have the budget you can install a 36-inch deep tub. Shop around and find a style that suits your taste.

The easiest sinks to install are those which hang from the wall. Vanity sinks look great if you have the room and the budget. Other things to consider are whether you want the sink to be self-rimming or rimless and flush or framed. Don't forget that a small storage cabinet is a great feature for linens and cleaning supplies.

Most toilets are comprised of 2 pieces, which are the tank and the bowl, but you can also install a single piece toilet. You also must choose between a reverse trap toilet and a siphon-jet toilet, the latter is the more efficient flushing system.

Determining the Final Design

Once the general layout has been planned, make full-side cardboard cutouts of the new fixtures and cabinets to get a full sense of what the new bathroom will feel like.

An L-shaped bathroom keeps all plumbing on one wall.


Bathrooms with a single wall usually just have a tub, sink, and toilet along the wall. Some homeowners prefer the L-shaped bathroom, while others prefer either a U-shaped or corridor bathroom.

First, plan the space for the tub or shower. It's usually put against the back wall. After you've decided where to put the tub, you'll choose a place for the sink and vanity, followed by the toilet. You'll need a 30-inch clearance for the sink and a 20-inch clearance for the toilet. Don't forget to plan your storage space.

Trim and Finish Work

When preparing the design for trim and finishings, consider your own taste and think about what style you'd like. Identify and prioritize your objectives before sketch the design according to code. Shop around and read magazines to get ideas about what features and styles to include.

Construction Preparation

Make sure you have all of the required permits before you begin work. Compile a list of all the various tools and supplies that you need, and make sure you have the funds for your budget.


Plan each phase of construction and have all of your supplies ready. Have an inspector check your work if needed.

Information in this article has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors.