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DIY Bathroom Layout & Space Planning - Tips

Jan 17, 2008
If you're building or remodeling your home, the bathroom is one 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 good looking. 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 take care of a multitude of other grooming and hygiene needs. It's probably the first room you visit in the morning and the last room you visit at night.

After a few years of watching some TV program, you probably are fired up to remodel your own bathroom. Before you strap on the tool belt, be sure you are legally entitled to do any DIY renovation changes in your bathroom. If you rent, you are not legally allowed to do any home renovation. That's the prerogative of your landlord. You can talk to the landlord about minor changes you can make, such as a new paint job or installing new towel racks. But if you own your bathroom, you can think about a bathroom layout & space planning.

In your bathroom layout & space planning concepts, forget about doing any electrical or plumbing jobs yourself. Leave that to a licensed professional. That professional will also be aware of the local building codes to make sure your bathroom is not only legal, but safe. But if you are planning any major bathroom layout & space planning, such as knocking a wall down to add a windmill you better check with your local zoning board to see if you are allowed to do so, or if you need a building permit.

Your local zoning board may need a plan of your bathroom layout & space planning of your renovation project before they can issue you a permit. You can sketch your ideas, use graph paper, or use a home renovation software program to print out plans to submit.

You'll need to include the square footage of the completed project, materials used and if there are any major changes (like having his or her toilets in the same bathroom - hey, it could happen).

Your first bathroom layout & space planning designs will not be perfect. Expect to make mistakes. This is how we learn. Be sure to note where doors, windows, plumbing and electrical outlets are in your proposed bathroom layout & space planning designs. By separating the fixtures into individualized compartments, several family members can use the space together while retaining some privacy. For example, the tub/shower and toilet could be placed in one space and a single or double-bowl vanity in a second area. This would allow one person to use the vanity area while someone else was using the tub/shower area. Dividing the space into three separate areas may be the best approach for a larger family. One long vanity, with the toilet and tub/shower in their own nooks, allows three people to use the space concurrently.

Don't be too attached to these plans, as most likely they will go under constant modification from the zoning board, any hired professionals, or your own brain. Remember to keep in mind when drawing your bathroom layout & space planning that eventually you'll have to clean everything. You need materials that clean easily, and cabinets that fit when pulled out or to be physically able to reach the toilet paper when you are sitting on the toilet. You need to be able to easily maneuver about fixtures in order to give them a good clean, or repairs, if need be.
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