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Guest Blogger: 5 Tips for Planning the Ideal Bathroom Layout

 Entry #2086, February 11, 2012

You might walk into the bathroom in your home and wonder what the heck the builders were thinking when they put a wall between the shower and sink area, making both of them too small, or why they would situate the sink right next to the door so that it hit whoever was in front of the mirror if another person entered. You could find yourself pondering who the heck thought it would be a good idea to attach a walk-in closet to the bathroom (where clothes will be subjected to steam). And yet, even though you may scratch your head over these functional missteps, do you really think you are more qualified to plan the layout of your bathroom, or that you can do a better job than trained architects or interior designers? In truth, you may actually be able to improve upon the design simply because you have to live with it and you know exactly where the problems lie. But you’ll probably want to consider a few things before you begin.

bathroom view raised tub

What bathroom layout works best in your home?

Image via: New Moon Design

1. Start with an empty grid.

The best place to begin when it comes to planning any kind of room layout is by measuring the dimensions of the room so that you can draw them onto some graphing paper and start from scratch with a floor plan featuring empty space. Of course, you might also want to use some software that can offer you templates, both 2D and 3D, to plan your layout, as well as images of items to place within the space so you can see what it will look like when complete. Sweet Home 3D is an open source (read: free) program that fits the bill. Or if you’re seeking a mobile solution, Home Design DIY (by Mark on Call) is a great option for the iPhone or iPad.

2. Consider the plumbing.

Unless you’re keen on shelling out some major money to route the pipes to suit your new layout you might want to pay attention to where the current plumbing outlets are when determining where to place the toilet, tub, and sink areas. You likely have a little wiggle room since adding a joint or extension here and there probably won’t add too much expense, but if you’re looking to save some money in your remodel, switching the tub and sink could definitely add some cost in terms of plumbing.

3. Find out what’s behind the walls.

If you’re dismantling the bathroom anyway, you might find that you have some extra space behind the walls to expand or at least to add some shelving for additional storage. This could potentially change your plans and allow you to install a larger tub or counter area than you originally planned for.

4. Try different layouts.

Whether you work on paper or use an app to plan your new bathroom design, you’ll no doubt want to try some different configurations. This means creating cutouts or using graphics of tubs, showers, sinks, toilets and the like and moving them around within the space to figure out which layout is the most advantageous in terms of meeting your needs. You obviously want to create the illusion of more space if possible, and trying a variety of layouts can help you to determine which configuration of parts will provide this. But you might also want to place the vanity mirror next to the window for natural light with which to apply your makeup. Or you may want the window in the shower to provide additional ventilation. These are things to consider when arranging the pieces that will make up your new bathroom.

bathroom view layout

Use these simple tips to layout your bathroom

Image via: LOTOS Construction

5. Try different products.

Toilets, tubs, sinks and so on come in all different shapes and sizes, so before you settle on ones that are the same as your previous models, consider that you could find options that better suit the size or shape of the space you’re working with. If you install a smaller toilet, for example, you could also add a toilet bidet seat or a waterless urinal. In short, the products you choose could definitely affect the overall layout, and you’ll want to plan for that before you start buying bathroom furniture.

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