Bathroom design basics

A well designed bathroom would certainly increase functionality as well as aesthetics of the overall space. There are quite a few aspects to be taken into consideration while designing a bathroom.

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First of all consider the area available. Plan diligently in order to maximise the utility of the space without making it look cramped. Think about the layout – one wall layout, two wall layout or three wall layout; what would be most suited to the space and style of the bathroom design?

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While deciding on this aspect you should think about the outlets and plumbing for fixtures. Where would the door be placed? It should not hinder smooth entry and exit as well as free movement within. Space constraints would arise in a small bathroom – you should not have to enact Spiderman –  jumping  onto the toilet seat or squeezing yourself against the counter in order to shut the door, once you are in!

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The door should not touch the fittings and fixtures or open shelves, cabinets etc. Ideally the door should be 32 inches wide. For tiny bathrooms you may consider sliding or foldable doors.

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It is best to segregate the wet areas from the dry ones. Ideally the shower/tub should be placed away from the door. It is best to place the sink/vanity in the line of vision from the entry rather than the toilet.

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Ensure enough clearance between fixtures. Provide at least 30inches clearance between a fixture and the opposite wall or adjacent fixture. Sinks should be placed at a convenient height. The depth of the counter and placement of sink on/into it is important. You should not have to lean too much to use the sink and reach the faucets. If you are installing twin sinks, they should be placed at least 30 inches apart.

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This measurement should be proportional to the size of the sink. Countertop height should be convenient and it is best to do away with sharp edged designs. Keep at least 15 inches between the toilet and the vanity in smaller bathrooms.


Toilet height should be between 32 to 43 inches. This depends on the height of the persons using the bathroom. For the toilet paper holder the ideal height from the floor would be 26 inches.

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For the shower enclosure/cubicle a minimum of 30 by 30 inches should be considered. In small bathrooms sliding doors for shower enclosures would save space. It is better to place doors that swing outwards for shower enclosures; provided they do not touch any other fixture. Make sure that the shower controls are at a convenient height, say 38 to 48 inches from ground level.

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Bathtubs on platforms should have convenient steps that are not too high. Keep at least 10 inches width for the steps. Levers/faucets should be placed just below the rim; 33 inches from the floor.

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Give ample consideration to plumbing, ventilation and electrical in bathroom. Ensure that electrical sockets and switches are placed away from water. Follow safety norms. Install grab bars in the shower, bathtub area etc.

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Bathroom design would be incomplete without lighting. You would require ambient, task, accent as well as decorative lighting for the design to be complete. Layer the lighting to create functional and appealing design.

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Wall sconces/task lights near the sink/vanity; general lighting that illuminates the entire bathroom, accent lights that showcase the beauty of fixtures, beautiful walls/niches, art etc as well as a decent dose of decorative lighting would be nice.

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Choose fixtures and fittings that are in proportion to the size of the bathroom. This will not only enhance the space and make it more functional but also enlarge the bathroom and make it seem less constricting. Avoid mammoth counters/vanities in teeny weeny bathrooms. Instead, opt for sleek and slim designs.

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If the basics are in place, half the battle is won in terms of bathroom design – or should I say that consider the battle won 99 percent?



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