Planning a Bathroom Renovation

Practical tips for good bathroom design

Bathroom remodeling is an excellent way to add value to your home, but you've got to plan carefully to make the job as easy and cost-effective as possible. This requires you to think through your bathroom design very carefully, as you could make adjustments which could go a long way towards improving the functionality of the space. However, it is recommended that you keep existing plumbing infrastructure in place, because your costs will soar if you decide to start moving pipes around. On the other hand, if your budget allows for plumbing upgrades, don't be afraid to consider brand-new layouts altogether.

Bathroom Plans: Popular Layouts

Bathroom elements are typically arranged according to one of three major configurations:

  • Half bathrooms. These bathrooms have only toilets and sinks; they lack showers or bathtubs. If you're going to renovate a half-bathroom, concentrate on the aesthetics of the room, but don't ignore the functionality. Add task lighting around the sink and mirror, so residents can take care of grooming tasks like shaving and applying makeup if the main bathroom is in use. In half-bathrooms, you should aim to place the toilet as far away from the door as possible to enhance privacy and make the most of your available space.
  • Three-quarter bathrooms. A three-quarter bathroom has a stand-up shower, toilet and vanity area. In this case, try to keep all the plumbing infrastructure located along the same wall, as it will be much easier to manage. A three-quarter bathroom is usually an exception to the "put the toilet as far away from the door as possible" rule, as it's usually the shower that's closest to the far wall.
  • Full bathrooms. Bathtub-shower combinations add value to your home, and can be laid out in a wide variety of ways. One popular option is to place the tub and shower on the opposite side of the room from the vanity sink and toilet, with the toilet occupying the corner of the room against the far wall.

You can vary these three basic layouts in an endless number of ways, depending on the actual shape of the room and the positioning of your existing plumbing infrastructure. Regardless of how you choose to arrange the room's components, always prioritize the addition of lots of lighting, especially task lighting around the vanity areas. DIY experts recommend "over-lighting" the bathroom, and installing dimmer switches allowing occupants to customize the lighting levels to meet their needs at particular times of day.