Bathroom Layout Imperatives


Remodeling an existing bathroom will take a lot of consideration on your part if you want to incur the expense of moving basic fixtures and changing the basic layout. Remodeling the bathroom is not just about moving fixtures, it’s also involves a lot of re-working of plumbing and mechanical systems that you can’t see. This involves systems like pipes to bring fresh water into the room, pipes to bring hot water from hot-water heater, pipes to carry away wastewater, pipes to carry away waste, vent stacks to keep pressure equalized and to prevent sewer gasses from entering the house, and so forth. 

Your contractors (as this will be complex work and not something you want to do yourself) will not only need to solve whatever problems they encounter in your individual house, but also within the confines of rigorous building codes designed to safeguard your family\’s health and your home\’s safe function. If you’re looking to moving a fixture just a few feet for aesthetics reason, weigh out the cost to doing this whether it is feasible or not.

Bathrooms can be categorized under one of 3 basic layout:

  •  One-wall layout

The toilet, sink, and combination shower/tub plumbing is aligned along one wall. This layout is also frequently used for powder room or half bath layouts. Extra fixtures, such as a bidet, a separate tub, and a separate shower in a one-wall bath, may be found in this layout.

  •  Two-wall layout

Two-wall baths usually have the toilet and sink on one wall and the shower/tub combo (or separate shower and tub) on the other. The layout may also have the toilet and bidet on one wall and the shower/tub and the sink on the other. 

  •  Three-wall layout

The toilet, sink and combination shower/tub are all placed on the different walls. It is a layout used mainly in a master bath. If you are remodeling an old bath and want to install a number of new upgrades, a room that\’s already plumbed in the three-wall layout may be the easiest to work with.

Other matters that need to be taken into consideration when planning the layout of your new bathroom are:

  •  Mechanical systems

The best bathroom layout (and easiest to renovate) is when you have all the plumbing built in one wall. Not only does it saves materials, but makes it a lot easier to make repairs if needed. This is what is describe above as ‘one-wall layout’. 

  •  Electrical outlets and switches 

These are easier to move than plumbing pipes, as long as there is reasonably easy access to the wiring. Lighting is important when redesigning your bathroom. Include lighting over the mirror, task lighting and soft ambient lights. For a whirlpool built for two, indirect mood lighting may fit well. 

  • Maintenance

Ensure that when you install new fixtures, walls, and tilings to take into account maintenance requirements. Stained grout, mildew, soap buildup, and so forth will weather materials in a high-moisture location. Make sure they are waterproof and washable.

  •  Energy and water conservation

Consider installing low-flow shower heads and insulating hot water pipes,r the newer toilets that flush about 1.6 gallon of water. Though initially pricier options, the cost will come back in the first year in reduced water bills.

Fixture Placement Requirements 

Below is a list of standard measurements from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (US) on placement requirements for fixtures in the bathroom:


  •  15″ (38 cm) or more of clearance space from the centerline of lavatory bowl to a wall or similar obstruction. 
  •  30″ (76 cm) or more of clearance space between the centerlines of double-bowl lavatories. 
  •  At least 30″ x 48″ (76 cm x 122 cm) of clear floor space in front of the lavatory. 


Water Closet/Bidet 

  • 16″ (41 cm) from the centerline of a water closet or bidet to a wall or similar obstruction, or fixture adjacent to it. 
  • At least 48″ x 48″ (122 cm x 122 cm) of clear floor space in front of the water closet or bidet. 


  •  Shower size large enough to comfortably use, at least 34″ x 34″ (86.36 cm x 86.36 cm). 
  •  Tub size large enough to comfortably use. 
  •  At least 60″ x 30″ (152 cm x 76 cm) of clear floor space in front of shower/tub. 



  •  The bathroom entrance door swings so that it does not interfere with people in front of fixtures. 
  •  Allow fixture spacings that more than two people can use the space comfortably.
  •  Water closet and bidet in separate compartments or shielded from entrance view.