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Just Add Water

How to design the best bathrooms for your new home

Janice Brewster

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the bath is the private getaway. Making your bath a dream destination requires thoughtful planning. During the design phase, you need to consider factors such as location, space constraints, types of fixtures and finishes, and any special needs your family might have.


Every home layout will be different, but in general, when placing a powder room, you want to balance the need for easy access to the half bath from any public space in the home.

“I don’t like a powder room right off the dining room or living room,” says Cheryl Kees Clendenon of In Detail Interiors in Pensacola, Florida, “but perhaps down a short hall.”

If you enjoy outdoor activities like gardening or have children at home, consider placing the powder room close to an outdoor entrance to limit the amount of mud and dirt tracked indoors.

For full bathrooms, locations near bedrooms is a given, but consider where the bath will be in relation to the beds. (You may not want to hear water whooshing through the pipes in the wall behind your headboard.)

Although it may be impossible to avoid, place large clothing closets away from the steamy atmosphere of the bath, advises Mary Fischer Knott, author of Kitchen and Bath Design: A Guide to Planning Basics. The moist air can be damaging to clothes.

Keep in mind that, in a two-story home, stacking bathrooms above each other will help reduce the cost of plumbing installation.


At a very minimum, a powder room requires about 30 square feet, Knott says. A space that measures 5 by 9feet is sufficient for a full bath. Having more space will allow for larger fixtures such as a double vanity or oversized shower, but beware of supersizing your bathroom.

“Do it well, have great products and ‘wow’ factor, and don’t worry about having a dance floor in the middle of the room,” Clendenon says.

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October 2017