Bathroom design and planning

Bathrooms are an area of your home where a great deal of time is spent. Bathrooms, like kitchens, perform a specific function for helping to maintain your family’s health. The space required for them and where bathrooms are placed, should never be an afterthought. Here are five questions to ask yourself as you begin the design process.

1. How many people will be using your bathrooms?

If you’ve ever lived in a home where there is always a line for the bathroom, then it won’t take much of an argument to convince you that you need more bathrooms in your new home. An isolated, master bath ought to be your first priority. It makes sense to allow for the utmost privacy for the two main adults of the house, especially since they will still be living in the house when everyone else is gone.

After the master bath, consider a bathroom ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 for the remaining members of your household. If you have a large family made up of mixed genders, it is best for two to three boys or two to three girls to be paired in a bathroom as boys and girls tend to use bathrooms differently. Ideally, you can place a bathroom between each pair of bedrooms.

2. Should you provide a bathroom for visitors or a utility bathroom?

A guest bathroom or utility bathroom may or may not be necessary in your new home depending upon several different considerations. Here are some instances where an extra bathroom might be necessary:

  • You have regular, overnight visitors. Provide a bath and shower near the guest bedroom to give them a little more privacy and not make them feel like they’re imposing.
  • One of your family member’s works in conditions where they are greasy, muddy or dirty when they come into the house. In those cases provide a utility bathroom with a shower near the back door or garage so that grime isn’t spread into the rest of the house.
  • If you entertain a lot and want to provide a separate bathroom for your guests, consider putting in a half bath that is easily accessible to areas where you regularly entertain.

3. Do you have special fixtures in mind?

When you are planning bathroom space, keep in mind that corner tubs, whirlpool tubs and specially designed showers require a great deal of space, not only for plumbing and equipment, but clearance in front of them as well. For your master bath, you might consider a few other options as well:

  • Separate tub and shower.
  • Separate wash basins.
  • A makeup station.

4. Should you install tubs or showers?

As suggested, it is nice to have both a tub and a shower in the master bath, but choosing whether to install tubs, showers or the combination really depends upon preferences, space and the age of your children. Generally speaking, young children and girls tend to prefer bathing in a tub. It makes sense to provide both in those situations because their needs change from time to time. Older boys are usually interested in getting a quick shower and getting out. For them, a shower will work fine. Guests don’t tend to use tubs for bathing either, so if you’re providing a guest bathroom, just put in a shower. Space can also be a factor when it comes to choosing to install a tub or shower. If your bathroom space is limited, you will probably have to go with a shower.

5. Where are the other fixtures that require plumbing?

Another consideration for designing your bathroom is trying to group them near other areas that require plumbing. By grouping bathrooms together, bathrooms with kitchens or bathrooms with utility rooms, you can create a common plumbing chase between the two areas and minimize the distance that water and sewer lines have to travel. Especially in the case of copper pipe, long distances can become expensive.

Professional Advice

There are a couple of instances in bathroom designs where you ought to seek professional advice. The first instance is to make certain that building codes are met as related to plumbing. The second instance is for obtaining advice on the capacity of water heater you will need to make certain that you don’t run out of hot water.


When considering your home design, bathrooms can make an enormous difference in the comfort of your home. Since bathrooms are essential elements in the overall health of your family, consider them carefully and make sure that everyone in your home has a certain amount of privacy and comfort when using a bathroom.

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