Bathroom Planning Offers Space for Everyone


If you're building or remodeling your home, the bathroom is a space you can't afford to overlook. Considering how much time you spend in this room, you definitely want it to be comfortable, functional, and attractive.

The bathroom is more than a space for three necessary fixtures; it's the place where you can relax after a long day, change your clothes, mend your wounds, apply your makeup, comb your hair, and groom. It's probably the first room you visit in the morning and the last room you visit at night.

How do you begin to make the luxury bathroom of your dreams? The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recommends beginning by assessing your needs for the space.

"First, you must determine who will use the bathroom," says John Spitz, CBD, CKD. "Doing so will affect the mood of the space as well as the features included in it."

The Family Bathroom

"Traditionally, all fixtures in the bathroom are placed in one open space," says Spitz. "However, for a family of four or more who is sharing one bathroom, zoning the fixtures would work much better."

By separating the fixtures into individualized compartments, several family members can use the space together while retaining some privacy. For example, the shower and toilet could be placed in the first area while the vanity is in a second area. That would allow someone to use the vanity while someone else uses the shower. Dividing the space into three separate areas may be the best approach for a larger family. A long vanity with the toilet and shower in nooks allows three people to use the space concurrently.

The Children's Bathroom

"Small children always pose unique concerns in the home," Spitz says. "They require more safety features and lower heights, but also adaptable features that allow for a child's growth." Some features which should be included for children are safety latches, door locks, above-floor storage for cleaning supplies, shower valves, a pull-out step under the vanity, and adjustable pole-mounted showerheads. "Many of the safety features listed for a child's bath can and should be included in all bathrooms," says Spitz.

The Master Bath Suite

When planning a bathroom for adults only, or a master bath suite, it is important to note that the space is for privacy, relaxation, and efficiency. "When space is limited, but you want a large private bathroom, the master bath suite is the answer," Spitz adds. "By stealing space from the bedroom, the master bathroom can be enlarged, creating a private retreat."

Adult baths may also incorporate added amenities, such as whirlpool tubs, saunas, and bidets. These fixtures increase the level of relaxation and luxury. For those who dream of a more efficient place to dress and groom, Spitz suggests improving the storage and closet area.

"Adequate cabinets are a must in the adult bath," says Spitz. "Built-in-drawers, racks, and hooks should be added for clothing storage and divided shallow drawers, as well as deeper drawers and adjustable shelves."

The Guest Bath

This specialized space is also known as the half bath because it does not include the tub/shower fixture. This is the bathroom that typically is used by guests. "Obviously, this type of bathroom requires less space than a full bath; however, comfort is still important and should not be overlooked," Spitz adds.

The powder room should incorporate enough space for fixtures as well as storage, and enough room for the user to comfortably enter and exit the space. It is also important that the room includes proper soundproofing and ventilation.

As you can see, a bathroom remodel, no matter what style, is a major undertaking. Beyond planning the type of bathroom it will be and the users it will serve, there are electrical, plumbing, and clearance considerations that also must be carefully planned. With all these things to consider, it's easy to see that this is not a do-it-yourself project. Spitz recommends working with a bathroom specialist, or a Certified Bathroom Designer (CBD). These are professionals who know the ins and outs of bathroom planning and can make your dreams become reality.