Room 101 : Bathroom

Room 101 : Bathroom - roomfortuesday.comIt’s been a bit since I’ve taken the time to compile info for a Room 101 post, but after receiving lots of questions about our bathroom reno, I figured now is the time. Click through for TONS of measurements, design rules, and ideas for all things bathroom renovating. 

Whether you’re gutting an entire bathroom and starting fresh (like we did), or are just making some updates… the following should provide you with plenty of info to make informed and accurate design decisions.

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K E Y    Q UE S T I O N S

Ask yourself the following questions prior to updating a bathroom (answer truthfully):

  • Will children be using this bathroom? This might influence the decision to install a bathtub as opposed to a shower. Do you need room for a step stool? Maybe a floating vanity is a good solution, so the stool can slide underneath it!
  • How might this space affect the resale value of your home? Bathrooms and kitchen are prime rooms to tackle first because you almost always recoup the investment. If this isn’t your forever home, you might consider finishes that are appealing to more buyers.
  • Who else will be using this space (husband/wife, pets, etc.)?
  • Is storage important in this space (think of towels, toiletries, cosmetics, etc)?
  • How big is the room? Do you have room for a freestanding tub, separate shower, or a toilet room? Or is this just a tiny powder room for guests?
  • What is my budget for this space?
  • What are my NEEDS for this space?
  • What would be a BONUS this space might include if budget allows (towel warmer, etc)?
  • Is there lots of natural light? If so, how will you make this a practical environment for your routine (overhead lighting, pendants, sconces, etc)?
  • What is the overall aesthetic you envision?
  • If you could guess… how might you feel about this room in 3 years? 5 years? 10 years?
  • Is this the only bathroom in the house? You’ll need to make arrangements while it’s out of commission (been there / done that)!

Your answers should help you determine what your bathroom reno or update will entail and assist in honing in on a starting point. Whether you’re gutting and completely renovating, or tweaking what you already have, above all- consider function (like the tub vs. shower conversation I mentioned earlier), budget, and aesthetic.

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I T E M S    +    D E C O R    T O    C O N S I D E R :

To give you some ideas of highly functional and beautiful bathrooms, consider implementing some of the following items. Of course the size of your space will determine which pieces make the most sense for your room. Consider this your brainstorming checklist…

permanent fixtures:

  • vanity or double vanity
  • sconces
  • pendants
  • flush mount light fixture
  • fan / exhaust
  • recessed lighting
  • wall tile
  • floor tile
  • grout
  • wallpaper
  • paint
  • window treatment
  • shower curtain rod / track
  • mirror
  • medicine cabinet
  • plumbing fixtures (shower trim, widespread lavatory faucet, etc)
  • hardware accessories (towel bars, robe hooks, TP holder, etc)
  • built-in storage
  • vent covers

decor & accessories:

  • bath towels
  • hand towels
  • artwork
  • soap dispenser
  • soap tray
  • bath brushes or sponges
  • bath mats / rugs
  • plants
  • toiletries
  • ottoman / bath stool / step stool
  • freestanding storage cabinet
  • laundry hamper
  • shower curtain / liner

Obviously it would be dreamy to have most of these things, but realistically, most bathrooms aren’t large enough for ALL of this. Pick and choose what works best for your space and your family.

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C O N T R O V E R S I A L    A R E A S :

There are a few design topics that get differing opinions from designers when it comes to the bathroom. Read below and see if your philosophy aligns with my own. There isn’t really a correct answer- it’s more of a personal preference!

  • Bathtub vs. Shower… It’s no secret that if you don’t have room for both a bathtub and a shower, you’ll have to make this tough decision. You can opt for the best of both worlds and install a tub / shower combo (like we did), or you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of each. Showers are great space savers and often look better in small spaces, while bathtubs are better for resale value… especially if you don’t have any others in your home. Think about kids and bathing them- bathtubs are a family friendly option and that’s why they’re the best option for resale.
  • The Shower Niche… If you do have a shower, I’d highly encourage you to install a recessed shower niche for bath products. Gone are the days of shelves, hooks that suction to the tile, and baskets that hang from your shower head. Spend a little more on the custom route and reap the reward. It will look better, provide better organization, and give you more room for shower accessories.
  • Keep the Tub or Replace… you might remember this post about resurfacing the bathtub? If your tub is a weird color or in bad condition, but is heavy duty and cast iron- this is a great solution rather than replacing it altogether. Often times in older homes, the bathtubs are odd sizes and it can cost a lot to find a replacement of the same size. Decide whether refinishing your bathtub is worth it in the long run. If the bathtub is a weird shape, it’s probably best to demo it and start over with a new one.
  • Tiling the Surround… I’m a big believer in spending a tiny bit extra to tile the shower surround. Please say no to plastic, readymade tub surrounds (sorry folks) and opt for the tiled route. The outcome will be 100 times better and look so much nicer- I promise. Remember the resale value!
  • The Window… If there’s a window in your bathroom or shower, you’ll be faced with a privacy decision. Definitely select a window treatment or privacy (frosted or textured) glass that will provide your family with comfort knowing your neighbors won’t see you naked. Even if your window is taller or higher, privacy makes everyone feel more comfortable.
  • The Floorplan… Floor planning a bathroom can be tough. In addition to deciding on a single or double vanity, a shower, shower/tub combo, or freestanding tub, you’ll be faced with the decision of determining the location of the toilet. If you don’t have the space for a private toilet room, be sure to position the toilet in the most private place possible. My pet peeve is a door swinging directly toward to the toilet. I can only imagine the amount of awkward accidental walk-ins that occur. Take the steps to make sure your bathroom is a happy, private, and comfortable place.
  • Design… When it comes to design, don’t be afraid to get creative. Consider function and aesthetic, but also the resale value. Choosing a super trendy or weird tile, probably isn’t the smartest choice if this isn’t your forever home. Trust your gut instinct.

Room 101 : Bathroom - roomfortuesday.comOf course I wouldn’t wrap up the post without leaving you with the most important thing… a pin-worthy image with the finer details and all the measurements!

I will say this… a full bathroom usually requires a minimum of 36 to 40 square feet. 5′ x 8′ is the most common dimensions of a guest bathroom or a master bathroom in a small house. My bathroom is around 5 x 8… it’s pretty tiny and not ideal- but it works. Just to give you an idea of scale!

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*Kohler also has a super helpful chart with 101(!) bathroom floor plan layouts… click here to see them! I’d highly recommend this resource if you’re stumped or still in the brainstorming phase.

Obviously depending on where you live, the above measurements can vary. In the United States, we’re accustomed to larger spaces and would never consider a bidet or anything of the sorts necessary. Every country has a different culture, and with that comes different appliances and expectations in the bath. The above measurements and resources are standard in the U.S.

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O T H E R   I M P O R T A N T   M E A S U R E M E N T S

Tubs // Standard tubs with apron fronts are 60 inches long and 30 to 32 inches wide. The depth can be as little as 14 inches and as much as 20 inches.

Toilets // You need at least 30 inches of clear width for toilets, but 32 to 36 inches is much better for the majority of people.

Towel Bars // Towel bars are typically mounted between 36 and 42 inches above the floor along their horizontal centerline.

Bathrooms can be challenging from a design perspective. There is a lot of thought and planning that goes into a small space that gets used all the time. Has anyone struggled designing or renovating their bathroom? Hopefully this post will make it a little easier for you! Hit me with any questions in the comments below… I’m happy to help and add to the post as needed. Did I miss anything?

Room 101 : Bathroom - roomfortuesday.comFor more bathroom related posts (and to see the more of the spaces featured throughout this post): ORC bathroom reveal | show house bathroom reno | amazon finds for the bathreadymade bathroom vanities | my bathroom on dominobudget client bathroom | en suite bathroom reno | boho bathroom

How’s that for a GIANT Wednesday post? Can your brain handle all of this crazy mid-week info? Pin it for later! I’m taking the rest of the week off for ‘real’ work and kitchen demo. See you back here on Monday!

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  1. Fantastic post. Thanks! I’m ready to renovate our 5 x 9 bath but am having difficulty coming up with a realistic budget. We aren’t handy so will need to hire pros to do the work. I know price will vary depending on where one lives, but in your experience, for a basic (not extravagant) but nice bathroom, any ballpark cost? We won’t be moving any plumbing or walls.

  2. I agree with Kim, this is a fantastic and well thought out post. It’s the type of information anyone would be wise to reference when it comes to bathroom updating. Happy Holidays, Ardith

    1. Thanks so much Ardith!! xox

  3. Thank you SO MUCH for this! I’ll be using it for my bath reno early next year! And that Kohler resource is incredibly handy. I’m drooling over the 319 sq. ft. bathroom floor plans. That’s half the size of my entire condo. :)

    1. Yay!! So happy to helpful. Yes- that Kohler floor plan guide is golden… hang onto that one! xox

  4. I noticed the very last picture you posted there is no tile or back splash. Does the wall get ruined at all from water? We’re renovating right now and have that exact vanity and trying to figure out what to do. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sonya! You definitely have to wipe it clean and intentionally keep an eye on the drywall if it’s not protected by stone or tile. I lived in that bathroom for four years and didn’t have any issues- but I’d consider myself a clean freak. ha! Hope this helps! xox

    2. We are a family of 7 and our 5 kids under 10 have yet to ruin the walls behind the sinks in the bathroom we inherited when we moved into this place 2.5 years ago. We are about to reno it now and will not be timing the backsplash or extending the counter up the wall.

  5. Maureen Kennedy says:

    Great post! We are in the process of designing a bathroom renovation and you have given some excellent tips. We are opting for a walk-in shower because we have a clawfoot tub in our other bathroom. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks so much, Maureen! Good luck with your bathroom reno. I’d also opt for a walk in shower if I had a gorgeous bathtub elsewhere in the home. Good call! xox

  6. PAOLA BARBARO says:

    Hi Sarah!
    Is the sink+vanity in the last picture by Ikea?

  7. Hi! Where is the black and white floor tile from in the very top picture? Or what brand is it? Love that look!

  8. Stephanie says:

    What is the paint color you used for the bathroom in the top picture? Getting a new all white subway tile surround and white tub next week and that looks like a perfect grey!

      1. Hi, I had the same question Stephanie had about the paint color, and I believe she meant the first picture with the pedestal sink. Is it possible to let me know what color is that? Thanks you so much!

        1. Hi Fernanda! Ohh gotcha- that one is Gray Clouds by Sherwin-Williams. xo

  9. Thank you for this post! Struggling with our house we just purchased – old home and bathroom dimensions of 6×7 so trying to get creative with the layout. May need to build into another room’s closet for some extra space. It being the only bathroom – do you think expanding the room for more floorspace is worth it? Would make the other bedroom a little smaller.