Bathroom Space Planning (page 1 of 3)

Consider how you will use the space and arrange the room layout to suit your lifestyle


When planning a bathroom renovation, the first question you should ask is “What is the footprint of the bathroom, and does it work for me based on the way I live in that space?”

Consider what the bathroom offers you now in the form of plumbing fixtures (tub, shower, sink, toilet); surfaces (floor, countertop, backsplash); finishes (cabinets, hardware); lighting (vanity, general) and the overall look and feel. What are the trouble spots? Get those on paper. And don’t forget to refer to your completed Day in the Life of Your Bathroom Questionnaire and Bathroom Goals Worksheet.

Common pitfalls in a bathroom include vanities that are too low. “We bring those up to 36 to 38 inches, depending on the client’s height,” says Lori Carroll, president, Lori Carroll & Associates, Tucson, Ariz. Dated plumbing fixtures, as in the avocado sink and tub, are also reasons for a remodel. Neutral is the name of the game in today’s fixtures.“

Compact and Complex

The bathroom might be the smallest room in the house—and this is certainly the case in a powder room—but it can be the most complicated area to remodel because of its tight quarters. Plus, a lot happens in the bathroom, and the design must accommodate all of your activities.

There’s a whole lot of nitty-gritty. We’re talking about everything from laying tile (you’ll be making lots of cuts to accommodate for nooks, crannies and downright cramped spaces) to door-swing allowances.

Trades work one at a time. Because there isn’t a whole lot of extra elbow room, even in a master bathroom, you generally can’t have more than one person working in the space at a time. That means timing the project perfectly to ensure that it stays on schedule.

Technology changes everything. Toilets that conserve water, warming drawers for towels, whatever you can think of likely exists for this compact space. The question is: How many features will you actually use in the bathroom—and how much can you fit into the existing (or expanded) footprint? This is where your Day in the Life of Your Bathroom Questionnaire and Bathroom Goals Worksheet come in handy.

Next Generation Bathroom Features

Or, you could be remodeling because your bathroom didn’t grow with you. You’re older now, and you need certain comforts to improve functionality, such as grab bars that are disguised as towel bars and a larger door entryway that’s easier for you to maneuver in and out.

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