Planning a bathroom renovation is exciting and inspiring. Scrolling through Pinterest and watching home renovation videos can spark the imagination and broaden the possibilities of what your home could become. However, renovation plans can sometimes exceed the realities of budget, time and space. And it’s vital to assess the physical limitations of the renovation space before selecting fixtures or design features to avoid costly changes during the reno. By keeping a few guidelines in mind during the planning stage, your dream bathroom renovation can become a reality, regardless of space limitations.
The Essentials of Space Planning
Considering the available space is the first step of any bathroom renovation. Just because you love the oversized, vintage vanity you found at the thrift shop does not mean that it will fit in your bathroom. The first step to space planning is to measure the actual dimensions of your bathroom space and create a scaled drawing. Accurate measurements are imperative because proper placement of plumbing fixtures and cabinets will heavily depend on the precision of your measurements.
Be sure to indicate the following on your drawing:
- Position of windows
- Doorway placement and dimensions
- Radiators and ventilation
- Water pipes and wires
- Built-in cabinets and storage areas
- Direction of swing of doors
- Location of all switches, electrical outlets, and light fixtures
- Placement of adequate towel racks
Including adequate storage in the planning process is important, as well. Aesthetically pleasing bathrooms are nothing without storage options. Consider how many people will be using the bathroom regularly and whether a shower or tub or both is appropriate. Also consider whether one sink or two are necessary and if the space will allow for an additional sink.
Size Requirement and Clearance Guidelines
Although it is possible to locate or special order custom fixtures and cabinets, most bathroom renovation components typically come in standard sizes. The following guidelines can simplify your renovation planning:
Toilet bowls. Allocate a minimum of 30 inches for toilet bowl installations. Though, 36 inches is ideal in order to accommodate the width of the toilet. Industry standards require a 30 inch floor clearance in front of the toilet.
- Standard toilets measure approximately 15″ high.
- Toilet tanks are between 30″ and 39″ high.
- Standard toilet tanks measure 21″ wide. Smaller ones are available for tight spaces and measure 15″ wide.
- Shorter models are available and measure 26″ deep. Longer ones are available by special order and measure 30″ deep.
Bathtubs. If you are replacing your existing bathtub, it is best to replace it with the same size tub. When adding a bathtub, consider the following measurements:
- The smallest bathtubs on the market measure 30″ x 60″ and the largest measures 42″ x 72″.
- Allow for a 30″ reach to the faucets outside of the bathtub.
Showers. Installing a shower that is not an exact replacement means that a few things should be considered:
- The minimum allowable space for a shower unit is 36″ x36″.
- Don’t forget to place towel bars and robe hooks within arm’s reach of the shower surround area.
Pedestal Lavatory Basins. Although they come in standard sizes, consider the surrounding area and how all of the bathroom fixtures will work together is important when deciding on lavatory basins.
- The standard size is 24“W x 33”H x 22″D.
- Consider the door opening style and whether it pivots or slides for space considerations.
Vanities. Vanities are a center piece of a bathroom and ensuring that the vanity works with the space, while remaining functional is an important consideration.
- Standard widths vary between 18″ and 72“. The recommended depth is 22” for a standard sized vanity.
- The height should not exceed 34“, including the counter surface. When installing a vessel lavatory, choose a 30” to 31″ vanity.
- 38″ clearance floor space is required in front of the vanity. If your vanity measures 22″ deep, allow for a total of 60″ of space.
- Vanities are not complete without overhead and side lighting. Side lighting is best when at eye level.
Accessories and Faucets. The finishing touches of your bathroom space are important for the overall look and feel.
- Mirrors are best when positioned 40″ from the floor.
- Shower heads are typically installed 80″ from the bathroom floor.
Traffic Clearance. Enjoying a functional bathroom space is the ultimate goal, so how much is enough traffic space?
- Allowing for a clear doorway opening of at least 36″ is typical of homes that are wheelchair accessible. But you can also consider pocket doors when minimal space is available.
- Standard and common clearances should be 30″.
By following these clearance guidelines and mapping out your room, you can rest assured that your bathroom will look more spacious and well always thought out!