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Bathroom Layout Ideas That Will Transform Your Remodel

There is more to remodeling a bathroom than simply replacing old fixtures with new ones–it is a perfect time to completely re-think the space, starting with the bathroom layout. A new bathroom layout can address a variety of challenges, such as improving storage, accommodating small children, adding safety features to allow for aging in place, replacement of small or outdated fixtures, and better overall utilization of the space.

There are endless bathroom layout ideas and options to consider, but an effective way to start your planning is by first thinking about what you like and do not like about the current bathroom, along with who will be using it, and how.  However, before we talk about designing a bathroom layout, let us explore some different bathroom layout ideas, which will help you think about your bathroom remodel from a unique perspective and might spark some innovative ideas for your project.

Bathroom layout ideas

When remodeling a bathroom, there are a variety of changes you can make to the layout, depending on your space, budget, and needs. Use Re-Bath’s bathroom design gallery for inspiration. Here are some of the most common changes made to bathroom layouts:

  • Changing the layout of the main bathroom fixtures: Just as rearranging the furniture in a room can completely change its function and feel, rearranging the positions of the toilet, sink, and shower/bath can significantly change the functionality of the bathroom and how it feels. These kinds of changes often require significant plumbing work, so it is often more costly than simply swapping in new fixtures or other cosmetic updates.
  • Expanding or reducing the size of the bathroom: Knocking down a wall and incorporating an adjacent space to create a larger bathroom layout is common. However, you can also reduce the size of a bathroom and add space to another room if desired.
  • Adding partitions or a water closet: Partitions can create additional privacy for the toilet or shower. For even more privacy, water closets or toilet rooms–a separate small room housing just the toilet and a dedicated ventilation fan–are a popular choice if space permits.
  • Removing partitions: If a more open feel is the goal, removing existing partitions can make a bathroom seem larger and airier.
  • Installing a double vanity: A common layout change involves replacing a single sink with a double vanity. In addition to giving each partner their own sink, double vanities often provide more storage space and can include a central linen cupboard placed between both sinks.
  • Incorporating universal design: Universal bathroom design simply refers to making bathrooms more accessible and is especially important for people with disabilities or those who want to age in place. Common universal bathroom design features include the installation of grab bars, comfort-height toilets, and larger, curbless showers, often with a bench that enables a bather to sit.
  • Updating the shower or tub (or both): One of the most common bathroom layout changes we are seeing is the switch from a tub to a walk-in shower. If you cannot remember the last time you actually took a bath, you might want to consider getting rid of the tub altogether and using that space for a larger, more luxurious shower. All this said, tubs still have their place in many households, and it is common to change the bathroom layout during a remodel to add an upgraded tub, such as a jetted tub or a trendy freestanding model. Check out Re-Bath’s tub & shower remodeling options.
  • Improve lighting and ventilation: Changes to the layout of the bathroom may require corresponding changes in where lights are placed, along with the number, location and size of bathroom ventilation fans.

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Bathroom layout basics

First, let us get on the same page regarding the basic types of bathroom layouts: full, three-quarter, and half baths.

  • Full bath: A full bathroom layout includes a bathtub, toilet and sink. Traditionally, the tub and shower have been combined, however, it is increasingly common to see a separate tub and shower in a large bathroom layout.
  • Three-quarter bath: A three-quarter bath has a shower, toilet and sink. This layout is becoming increasingly popular, even for master bathroom layouts, as expansive walk-in showers increase in popularity.
  • Half-bath: Half-baths, also called powder rooms, are small bathrooms with just a toilet and sink. They are most commonly seen adjacent to a home’s main living area.
  • Jack and Jill bathroom layout: A Jack and Jill bathroom refers to a bathroom that is shared by two bedrooms. Intended to be used by two children, Jack and Jill bathrooms are usually located between the two bedrooms, with an entrance from each. In addition to a bathtub and/or shower, Jack and Jill bathrooms usually have a dual vanity.

Whether designing a bathroom for the master bedroom or one for the kids to share, it is useful to think about who will be using the bathroom as you consider the layout. Many new homes today now feature three-quarter bathrooms with spacious walk-in showers, so depending upon your needs, as you plan your remodel, you may end up changing from a full to a three-quarter bath (or vice-versa.)

How to design a bathroom layout

There is clearly a lot to think about when it comes to choosing your bathroom layout. In this section, we will walk through the process step-by-step for making this big decision, as well as highlight important details you should consider along the way.

  1. Assess the users’ needs: Start by identifying who will be the primary users of the bathroom. Will it be shared by two adults who are getting ready for work in the mornings? Or is the primary user a retiree who is planning to age in place? Thinking about the needs of the people who will be using the bathroom regularly and what their particular needs are is the first step to take.
  2. Consider how the bathroom will be used: Are small children routinely bathed in the room? Does anyone frequently indulge in a leisurely bath? Will pets also be bathed in the room? Does a skincare and makeup enthusiast spend hours in the bathroom each day? Identifying the daily or weekly activities that happen–from make-up application to washing the dog or soaking sore muscles–will help ensure the resulting layout works for everyone.
  3. Storage: If storage is an issue, this is the opportunity to resolve that problem once and for all by adding a linen closet along a narrow wall, planning for a larger vanity or installing new shelving.
  4. The existing layout vs. a new layout: The layout of your existing bathroom, as well as your budget, will play a role in determining whether a new layout makes sense for you. If the new layout requires significant changes to the plumbing, changing the placement of electrical outlets and lighting fixtures, and re-locating ventilation fans, the costs will increase rapidly. It is also important to think through other details, such as the climate you live in. If you live in an area with very cold winters, for example, it is wise to avoid putting any water lines on exterior walls.

With these four elements in mind, you should be able to decide whether you want a new layout or are going to remodel using the existing layout. Getting quotes from contractors for the work a new layout would need is a crucial step, as the construction costs can easily outstrip the cost of new fixtures if significant work is needed. Consulting with a professional can help ensure you are taking everything into account, including local codes and permit regulations.

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Bathroom layout ideas for specific bathrooms

Some spaces take more imagination than others when it comes to rethinking the layout and placement of fixtures.

Small bathroom layouts:

Just because a bathroom is small does not mean it has to feel cramped. With a smart layout, a small bathroom can transform into an open and luxurious-feeling retreat. A few rules of thumb when it comes to designing a layout for a small bathroom:

  • Consider a walk-in shower with a frameless glass door to highlight dramatic tile. In addition to creating a dramatic focal point, a walk-in shower is much more space-efficient than a shower/tub combo.
  • Build up, not out. When it comes to fully using space within a small bathroom layout, think vertically. Add shelving above the toilet to increase storage without affecting usable floor space. Use recessed shelves in the shower to create homes for bottles of shampoo and soap. Recessed cabinetry above the sink is another space-saving win.
  • Ditch the pedestal sink. Though pedestal sinks technically take up less space than a vanity, the benefit is debatable when it comes to usable space. A vanity offers tidy, out-of-the-way storage that a pedestal sink simply does not.

 

Narrow bathroom layouts:

A long, narrow bathroom can also pose challenges when it comes to layout and design. Like their small-bathroom counterparts, narrow bathrooms also benefit from the use of glass walls and doors around the shower or bath as well as savvy use of vertical space.

  • Put the tub inside the shower space. Yes, you read that correctly. If you want to have both a tub and a shower in a narrow bath, a fresh option involves placing the tub within the walk-in shower area. A glass partition between the shower and the rest of the bathroom keeps things airy and bright while confining the shower spray.
  • Position the vanity to provide some privacy for the toilet. In some traditional narrow bathroom designs, the toilet is the first thing you see when you open the door. Re-think the layout of the room, and instead, place the vanity toward the front of the bathroom, and place the toilet next to it, toward the midpoint of the room. This will provide a little additional privacy for anyone using the toilet and create a more pleasant visual layout.
  • Install sliding or pocket doors to increase usable space within a narrow bathroom. If space permits, using a sliding or pocket door eliminates the need to plan around the inward sweep of a traditional hinged door.

 

Master bathroom layouts:

New bathroom trends are having a marked impact on master bathroom layouts and designs. Popular features that can impact the layout of the master bath include:

  • A dedicated toilet room or water closet: The National Kitchen and Bath Association’s Bath Trends surveyed leading architects, designers, manufacturers and contractors, and an overwhelming 71% of respondents said water closets are considered highly desirable by homeowners.
  • Freestanding soaking tubs: Freestanding tubs are at the top of everyone’s design list right now. Available in myriad sizes and shapes, soaking tubs can be used to create a focal point in the room, as well as adding spa-like features for the homeowner.
  • Bathroom refrigerators: A trend that is quickly gaining momentum is the addition of a refrigerator to a master bathroom. In addition to stashing beverages, refrigerators in the bathroom have a practical aspect – some medications require refrigeration, and many skincare products last longer and are more effective when kept chilled.

Changing your bathroom’s layout can resolve persistent challenges and truly make your bathroom work better for you and your family. But let us not overlook the innovative new features and fixtures that are available today. Free-standing soaking tubs, oversized vanities with miles of counter space and luxurious walk-in showers are beautiful, and while they might not work with your bathroom’s current configuration, redesigning your bathroom’s layout as part of your remodeling process will bring new design opportunities within your reach.