tNeed o sacrifice - door width or vanity depth?

piscesgirlJuly 15, 2012

Need some advise. Our bathroom is 7.5ft wide x 7ft. deep. In our remodel we are not changing the current layout. You enter the room and the shower is to the left and vanity to the right. See picture below.

When you enter the room the shower off to the left hand side is approx. 36" deep, the bathroom door is 28" wide and the wall that the vanity is on is 21" deep (right hand side). Since this wall is only 21" deep this means we can only fit a 18" deep vanity cabinet when you factor in the counter overhang.

The question we are having is should we minimize the door from 28" wide to 24" wide in order to make room for a standard 21" deep vanity cabinet.

The bathroom door is on the same wall as the master walk-in closet door which is 30" wide (there is a chest between the two doors). The bedroom entry door is also 30" wide. The difference between our 28" wide bathroom door and the other 30" wide doors is almost un-noticable, but I am sure if we changed the bathroom door to 24" the difference would be very noticable. Not sure if we can get a 26" wide door, but I am sure that would also be noticable.

If it were you, would you sacrafice the door with to get a standard vanity depth? If yes, would you consider making the closet doorway also 24" wide so it matched or leave it alone?


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Yes, if it were me I would make the door narrower to get more vanity depth. That's more important to me than the size of the doorway. And, no, I wouldn't go to the trouble of making the doors the same. My bathroom door is generally open so it wouldn't be all that noticeable and you say you have a chest of drawers between them so I wouldn't go to the trouble. Just my .02.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 11:01PM
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Can you swing a pocket door? That would help with some of the congestion, which you're going to have regardless of the door width.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 11:30PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

24" door is really narrow, esp for a space used as frequently as a bath and esp with the size people are becoming....

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:28AM
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I would not do a 24" door as it would be very narrow. Plus, I'm not sure the additional counter space you gain going from 18" to 21" is really necessary since the vanity is so long. As Kevin asked, can you do a pocket door? Or a barn door?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 10:30AM
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I would definitely NOT do a 24" doorway into the bathroom. It's very narrow and as pointed out above, with people becoming bigger, it could affect resale value. It will also make your bathroom feel like a cave with a tunnel between the vanity and shower unless it's very bright in there with lots of windows and/ or the shower doors are frameless.

An 18" vanity is definitely wide enough at that length and if you dont put in a knee hole but do all cabinets/drawers underneath you should have plenty of storage as well.

What I would definitely do is move the sink away from the doorway especially if the door opens inwards and you use the bathroom at the same time as someone else. A pocket door would not really solve congestion if the sink stays where it is. If two people do use the bathroom at the same time, it would be awkward to get in and out the shower while someone was brushing their teeth with the sink in that location or even to walk past someone at the sink while trying to enter or leave the bathroom. Morning rush would be a nightmare.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 11:08AM
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I wouldn't do a narrow doorway into a bathroom either. Besides the narrow feel going into this major room, think of the 'what-if' of trying to get in with crutches, a wheelchair, or if you or your spouse are ever incapacitated in any way. Since you have a long vanity, can you shape the vanity to give you the needed depth where you need it? I would also vote for a pocket door rather than go too small.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Our 1/2 bath has a 24 inch door. Do not do that for a full bath, you will feel the difference. It feels narrow, and i'm not an overly large person. If you increase the vanity depth, the aisle might be too narrow. Try putting some chairs back to back at the widths in question to see how it feels, might help you figure out if you like the narrow widths or not.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 11:40AM
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I have the worst of both ... a 24 inch doorway and an 18 inch wide vanity. In my case, the bathroom is only 4.5 feet wide, so there is no option to make either larger.

The 24 inch door does feel narrow. By the time you add in the trim, the opening is actually closer to 23 inches. While I don't mind it, I'm a relatively small female and I've lived with it for almost 20 years.

The 18 inch vanity is fine. The only downside is that I didn't have as much choice when I went to look at vanities since 21 inch seems to be the standard. I did get a smaller sink and I also did a tile wainscot behind the vanity instead of the standard backsplash in order to have as much depth as possible for the faucet and sink. But as far as using it, I don't notice much difference with the narrow depth.

Given that you have a very wide vanity, I think I'd go with the narrow vanity over the narrow door.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 7:19PM
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Hmmm... ok, I was wrong. :) Consensus is to not use a 24" door. I was surprised doors came in 24" but when I saw that was a standard size I figured it would be ok. And, I'm a vanity hog. But, it really isn't the depth so much as the length of a vanity that matters when I look at how I use it. So, I stand corrected. Keep the door width and go with a narrower vanity. =)

As for a pocket door... I had a lot of those in an older home I owned at one point. I kind of hated them. For one thing they are so inconvenient and not what we are used to that you don't really end up using them, and for another mine tended to get scratched sliding in and out of the pocket. I'm sure that was an install issue, but it wasn't just on one of the doors. And should I tell you about the dead mouse I found in the pocket of one when I pulled it out? No? Ok. Nevermind. =)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:36PM
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I have a 24" door in my main bathroom and it has never been an problem. I wouldn't consider a persons body size unless you're dealing with severe obesity - at my largest when pregnant (I get huge!) it hasn't been an issue.

The bigger consideration I imagine would be the floor space you'd be taking up with a deeper vanity. I hate pocket doors as well, I rarely see ones that work perfectly - I would say a 24" door is better than a pocket door.

I agree that the length matters more than the depth with storage, things in the back tend to get lost. The only reason I am making a deepr cabinet is because I want to have extra space behind my faucet, I hate the tiny space that's impossible to clean

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 12:34PM
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I also have two 24" bathroom doors to two different bathrooms in my house. The door sizes are original to the 1970s house. The only time the 24" door has ever been an issue is when I tried to move a 24" deep vanity into the bathroom and had to pull off the door stop and discovered that the bottom of the door frame bows in so it's not even 24" there. For me, 24" would be just fine. I never even noticed when we purchased the house or even questioned whether the doors were particularly narrow. Personally, I would rather have a standard depth vanity and a 24" door.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Another one with a 24" door to our kids bathroom. It isn't an issue for us, nor I think even noticeable for the vast majority of people. But bigger would be better. I would still keep the width you have and have an 18" vanity.

I hope to put a barn door on our 24" bathroom door next year, it is the door opening into the bathroom that is the greatest problem, in my view.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 11:30PM
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Wow. Thanks for all the feedback. Seems like majority are against the 24" door.

One advantage is our neighbors have the same bathroom layout, so I can see what they have done and the pros and cons.

Neighbor #1 did a pocket door (28" wide), but it wasn't easily done. There wasn't enough room to have the pocket door pull to the right (vanity side) and the left is the wall with the shower pipes so our neighbor actually built out their entire bedroom wall to a double thickness in order to allow for a pocket door and shower pipes to be in the same wall. However the pocket door doesn't aid in the vanity depth. With a 28" door they still only have an 18" vanity cabinet.

Neighbor #2 has a 24" door and changed the swing of the door so it swings into the bedroom rather than the bathroom. Neighbor #2 has a 21" vanity

My husband hates pocket doors and not to mention we don't want the additional cost of changing walls or loosing bedroom space to fit one, so we are going the route of changing the swing of the door as our neighbor #2 did. We just needed to determine the size of the door.

I personally didn't even notice that neighbor #2's door was smaller than ours until I noticed her vanity sink was larger, and that got us measuring. I am a petite woman so that may be why I didn't feel the difference. My husband wasn't with me at the time, so I am not sure if he would feel the same about a 24" space. He didn't seem to care for making the door that much smaller when we discussed it.

Since our current wall depth is 21.25", we are litterally talking about needing an extra inch or two on the vanity, which is frustrating because we would be giving up 4" of door width for 2". If getting a 26" or 27" door was easy, we would consider it. But that is a custom door and again, probably not worth the trouble or money.

Since we have 21.25" inches to play with I am now thinking, keep the 28" door, do a 19" vanity cabinet (19.75" with full overlay doors), 1.5" overhang from the cabinet so that would be 20.5" total depth. We are looking at marble top with ogee edge.

I guess I could look at a 20" cabinet with a 1" overhang, which would be 21" total depth, but since we are currently in the planning/ordering stage and haven't started demo. I would like to give ourselves a little bit of room for play in case the walls or door molding isn't exactly the same as it is now. Not to mention it probably would look better if there was a little bit of space and the marble top wasn't hitting the door molding.

Thoughts? 19" with 1.5" overhang or 20" with 1" overhang? Something else?

I really appreciate all this great feedback.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Forgot to mention that my concern with the vanity depth was not around counter space. Our vanity will be 83" long with only 1 sink. The concern was around the smaller sink size required.

Currently we are looking at sinks with an 11" depth, and there are not many. I have found one that is 9.8" bowl (Nantucket sinks) and one that is a 11.5" bowl (Cheviot).


    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 5:51PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Can you put a step in the vanity so it is narrower near the door and then gets wider as it goes into the room? If you slid the sink down some, you might have room for a cabinet with drawers at the narrower depth and then bump it out for the sink area and cut it back in if you want so the sink area counter would have the shape of like a bay window....

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 9:59PM
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Thanks AnnieDeighnaugh for the suggestion. I really like vanities that have different depths and angles.

Unfortunately the drawing I priginally posted is not that clear, but the left side of the vanity has a large window over it. To the right we have 35" of wall, which is where we were planning on centering a mirror and the sink below. If we centered the sink in the middle of the vanity it would be halfway between a window and wall...which would just be odd.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 11:00PM
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We have a similar problem with both bathrooms in our lake house. I think the people who built the house shrunk the plans and forgot to check clearances needed. Anyway, we opted for a vanity that did not go all the way to the the wall so the door will clear. My husband actually built them out of Ipe. Solved the problem for us and the open look made the small bathroom seem larger. We use baskets underneath for storage.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Your post got me measuring doors. While I knew that our master bath pocket door is on the narrow side, I considered the door to the hall bathroom "normal". Turns out the "normal" door measures 24 inches and the pocket door 23.5 inches. I am surprised 24" seems not wide enough too many here. For us it definitely works well, never had any issues with it and just through this post discovered that it could be a concern. And yes, the pocket door feels narrow, but this is no problem for us.
We have a similar sized master bath, just 1 foot deeper. We only have a vanity with one sink, but thanks to the narrow door it is 24" deep. Also, at the far end, we have a soaking tub that we love and did not want to exchange for more sink space.
Without thinking twice I would go for a 24" door if that gives you the counter space depth you want.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:57AM
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After your post I went home and took a look at my bathrooms with the 24" doors. In both cases, there is some additional space between the doorway and the vanity and on the other side of the doorway. This means that there is at least slightly more than 24" between the vanity and the wall behind. This gives a little additional room for the door to swing in and also a little more standing room when the door is open. You might want to also make certain that whatever vanity depth you select allows you to access the storage in the vanity.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Consider putting a 12-15" wide cabinet with a 15 or 18" depth at wither end and the sink in a 21" depth cabinet in the center. You might wind up with a slightly smaller mirror, but you should be able to balance the window or go even smaller with a pair of sconces and still be fine. That would give you some great storage for linens and all the other things you might want to have in a bathroom.

If the space to the left of the window is less than 12", I would consider making the top open shelves that face out toward the sink and make the bottom drawers.

The one thing I would want to avoid is a tiny sink that meant I was forever splashing on the counter or the floor. I want the water to go in the sink. If you have to go shallower, look at a rectangle with a decent depth.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 5:45PM
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