Consult These Designer-Created Bathroom Layouts Before You Renovate

Hadley Mendelsohn
·3-min read
Photo credit: THOMAS LOOF
Photo credit: THOMAS LOOF

From House Beautiful

Laying out a living room can be overwhelming simply because the furniture arrangement options are endless. But when it comes to bathrooms, things are decidedly more permanent, seeing as you're working predominantly with appliances and plumbing access instead of moveable furniture. So, before you renovate, you'll want to make sure you've seen all the best layout options possible. We consulted Karen Swanson of New England Design Works to find out some of her favorites and share them with you. Ahead, discover three expert-created bathroom layout ideas and then apply the templates that make the most sense to your own setup.

2 Stacked L-Shaped Bathrooms

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

"In this scenario, I was hired to design the kitchen," Swanson tells us. When one of the occupants happened to mention that she was disappointed the space didn't allow for a tub, Swanson asked to take a look at the architect's drawing and "realized he'd given so much space to the family bathroom and that it had too many doors to open and close between the various functional areas." So, to streamline the design, she added "a private toilet compartment, space for the husband to shave and get ready that wouldn't bother the wife who'd still be sleeping (the larger vanity in the main bathroom became hers). They got their tub, and also added a tub for the kids."

Rethinking the door arrangements had some major payoff. "Let's call this 'how to fit 10-pounds of sand in a 5-pound bucket,'" Swanson jokes, since they ended up getting so much out of an initially tricky space.

More Bathroom Design Inspiration

4 Symmetrical Task Zones

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

When Swanson inherited this tricky floorplan, she had to get creative with the layout. Originally comprised of two bedrooms, a small bathroom, and an awkward makeshift laundry zone in the hallway, the entire space was converted into a larger bathroom with a big walk-in closet and a proper spacious laundry room. "It's always a challenge for people to give up a bedroom ([due to] resale value) but a lot of the older homes here in New England are a hodge-podge of tiny bedrooms and disappointingly small bathrooms, so grabbing space from an adjoining room to accommodate great storage, a king-size bed, a nice bathroom is something a lot of people do," she tells us.

She presented the clients with a few different layout options and they ended up choosing the one that still allowed them to access the laundry from the hallway. As you can see, this layout allows for a separate shower and tub, a private toilet compartment, and a heated towel moment. She always tucks the toilet in the most discreet location possible: "Giving that particular appliance some privacy should always be the top of mind when you embark on a layout redesign," and it shouldn't be the first thing you see when you walk into a bathroom.

Simple Walk-In Shower Rectangle

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

"This was a simple makeover in that we kept the toilet in the existing condition and then removed a tub to replace it with a shower," Swanson explains. The occupant requested double sinks, but Swanson felt like the sink on the left was in an awkward spot because the way the connecting bedroom door swings, so she tried to convince them to compromise with a single sink that offered roomier storage.

In the end, the occupant still wanted double sinks, so Swanson turned to her Instagram audience and polled her followers asking whether they'd choose double sinks with less storage or one sink with more. "Some said two sinks saved their marriage, others felt the extra storage gained by one sink trumped everything," she shares. So, there are pros and cons to both layouts if you're tight on space and you should definitely consider which suits your lifestyle and what the rest of your bathroom and storage situation in your home looks like.

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