Double sinks for a 61" vanity?

alexagrnSeptember 27, 2013

We are about to begin a number of remodeling projects, one of which is a remodel of our guest bath/girls' bath. We have two little girls (3.5 years and 15 months), and they share this bathroom. It also serves as a guest bathroom. The vanity for this bathroom is in between two walls, and the space is just over 61' inches (I think it's 61 and 3/8').

I am of the opinion that we should get double sinks. I think they will be handy when our girls are a little older. DH, however, thinks it will be too cramped because the left side of the vanity is next to the door, so one couldn't open the door if someone was standing at the left sink. I don't think that's a major issue since it seems unlikely that someone will be opening the door while someone else is at the sink, but maybe I'm wrong.

We need to decide what to do in the next few days and I'm really torn.

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First, make sure that the swing of the bathroom door will not be restricted by an open vanity drawer or door inside the bathroom. Code prohibits that. The idea being that if someone in the bathroom became incapacitated, an open vanity drawer or door in the bathroom should not prevent someone outside the bathroom from entering to provide assistance.

A 60" vanity is tight for two sinks. Just for layout, code requires a minimum of 15" from the centerline of the sink to an adjacent wall, and a minimum of 30" between the centerlines of the two sinks. Recommended distances for "comfort" are 20" and 36" respectively.

So yes, you could fit two small sinks. But the area will be cramped.

Personally, I'd go with a single larger bowl offset away from the bathroom door with open-counter grooming space on the left side of the vanity, closer to the door.

Mu opinion? I fully understand the desire for you to allow each of your kids their own sink. But in reality and practicality, a single shared sink versus two sinks where one sink location may be "slightly better" than the other? Sharing one sink can sometimes be better for youngsters. Plus a single bowl would "uncramp" the space, and it can actually making the space more usable for both a single user and dual users.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 10:40AM
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We're going to have a double-sink 60" vanity for two adults (I just don't share a sink, with anyone, including my husband of 40 years!). When my kids were growing up, we had two sinks, one of which was right inside the door to the bathroom. Didn't matter - they never closed the door anyway. It was great because they could get ready for bed at the same time. Especially with two girls, I'd do it.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 11:32AM
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If you think it's unlikely that someone will open the door while someone else is at the sink, then probably only one person will be using the bathroom at one time anyway. Personally, I've never understood the need for two sinks. Two bathrooms, yes, but not two sinks in one bathroom. I've never found the holdup in the bathroom to be from brushing teeth or even washing a face. It's from the desire for privacy, no matter what the user is doing.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Obviously different needs for different people. For me, it's not about privacy at all. I'm happy to share a bathroom with my husband, but not a sink.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 1:31PM
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I have a 61" vanity that I share with my significant other that has two sinks. I really prefer having the two sinks. I like to keep my sink quite tidy and his tends to get messy. Additionally, I can be brushing teeth or washing my face at the same time his is without incident. Do we NEED two sinks? No. Neither of us spends a lot of time at the vanity in the bathroom. I probably spend the most putting contacts in and blow drying my hair. The former is best with a sink (though can be done without) and the latter obviously doesn't require water. Now, I don't have kids so I can't speak to children sharing a vanity and sharing or not sharing a sink. It could be nice for shared tooth brushing time with two girls, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary. One other consideration is that storage options might be a little better with a single sink because you could put more drawers in a single sink vanity than a double.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 4:10PM
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Wow, this is a harder decision than I thought it would be. My thought is that if two people are in the bathroom, the door likely won't be closed, so that's why I don't think the proximity to the door matters.

Mongoct, your comment regarding code is interesting. Someone told me the 15" rule, but then someone else told me that's not true. I guess I will have to look into that. Regardless, even if we do have to have 15" from the center of the sink, I think we'd be able to manage that. As for the vanity drawers blocking the door, I'm hoping that won't be a problem since the drawers will likely be in between the two sinks.

I guess I need to ponder this some more. Decisions, decisions! Thanks for the input!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 5:39PM
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The two sink debate always brings up interesting perspectives. In my own case, when I designed our master bath, I had two sinks on a very spacious countertop. My wife actually freaked. Not "freaked", but she was of the "what's wrong, why don't you want to share a sink with me?" response.

She really really wanted just one sink.

So we have one sink!

Alexa, if IRC applies to your area, here's the portion that applies:


P2705.1 General.
The installation of fixtures shall conform to the following:

  1. Water closets, lavatories and bidets. A water closet, lavatory or bidet shall not be set closer than 15 inches (381 mm) from its center to any side wall, partition or vanity or closer than 30 inches (762 mm) center-to-center between adjacent fixtures. There shall be a clearance of not less than 21 inches (533 mm) in front of a water closet, lavatory or bidet to any wall, fixture or door.

Good luck with your bathroom!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 6:16PM
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For our boys, we are doing a single sink with 2 faucets, maybe something to consider?? That would leave you with counter space on both sides.

Traditional Bathroom by San Francisco Architects & Designers John K. Anderson Design

Here is a link that might be useful: Double-faucet sink ideas

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 6:56PM
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. Water closets, lavatories and bidets

I don't think that translates into sinks needing to be 15" on center. A water closet or lavatory is a room that has a toilet and sink in it, not a vanity in a larger room.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:26PM
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How about this link that I like to share. I don't know how it relates to codes, they do list them though. I like that it has diagrams to help understand space.

I personally think 1 sink is enough. I also agree with Mongoct on the idea that sharing a sink will be good practice for the kids.

On the safety issue. My brother was unconscious and seizing on the floor of our mother's BR floor. He lived with her. It was an in swinging door and the room was small. Mother couldn't get in to help as brother was blocking the door. Fire department and rescue squad had to break down the door, using up precious time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Illustrated rules of good bathroom design

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 10:05PM
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A lavatory, by definition can be just a bathroom sink.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 5:40AM
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I'm in the thinking-about stage of remodeling my guest bath. Everything will stay the same size, but be upgraded. Currently I have a 56" vanity with a single sink and I plan to keep it that way. Not only do I think that two people can share a sink, or figure out how to use it when the other is not, but the counter space is very important. Not only would two sinks eat up the space, but there's the extra plumbing that eats up storage.

Regarding the safety factor. I have a cat who closes doors that are not wedged open and also opens drawers and cabinet doors. One day he shut himself in the bathroom and then opened the drawer immediately next to the door. We had a problem. :) Fortunately, nobody was having a medical emergency and I was able to get the drawer to close through the crack in the door. If this is a code violation, it either post-dates this house or it was never inspected.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Watching two girls share a bathroom over the years, what I see is the need for as much counter/mirror space as possible. They really didn't fight over access to the sink so much as the open counter/mirror for hair curling and make-up. And the electric outlets--as many as possible.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 3:07PM
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In our recent remodel, we put 2 sinks in both of our 60" vanities--master bath and kids (girls') bath.

The vanity "room" is separate from the toilet/shower room in both cases. So, the door is almost always open.

We like having 2 sinks. To get extra vanity room, we went with 24" deep base cabinets (same as for kitchen) instead of 18 or 21". If that is possible, you can get extra counter space behind the sinks.

I have 1 bathroom with 2 sinks on an open-ended 56" vanity cabinet (one end is against a wall, the other is not). That one is tight, but when it was the only bathroom on the main floor and was the main bath used by all, it was nice to have the 2 sinks. Now that we have 3 bathrooms and 6 sinks, if I ever redo that bathroom, I'll probably opt to just put in 1 sink and get a little more counter space. But, again, that is on a 56" vanity top.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:07AM
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