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Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Posted by building_a_house (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 31, 12 at 16:28

Wanting to add a half bath on the other side of our main floor (we have a half bath/powder room near the foyer on the other side of the house but its too far from the hearth room and kitchen).

We had our walk through today and our builder suggested taking some of the space from our laundry room to convert it into a very small additional half bath/powder room.

Our laundry room is approximately 12' x 7.5'.

My question is assuming that my new powder room is 48" wide and I have the door on that wall what is the minimum size I can or should make this room? What is the recommend door size/width I should use? I want to make it small to maximize the area in the laundry room as much as possible.

This is the only change that I am making to the framing at this time. Appreciate any and all feedback.

Pics attached for reference (proposed powder room in red outline in first pic and in black outline in second pic). The area directly below the proposed powder room in the first pic is the garage.

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Well, I'm no expert, but I have been reading here for a while and it seems everyone else is off having some fun! So here goes.

You will need 36 inches interior width on the wall with the toilet. You also need I believe 24 inches in front of the toilet minimum, so probably at least 48-54 inches minimum interior length depending on the toilet if you just want a toilet in there. More to add a sink too.

I would suggest making the bathroom a pass through to get to the laundry area. Just take that whole strip of room where your box is and put the toilet on the bottom wall, then move the door down a little to fit a sink on the upper wall, and put a second door on the left wall.

I'm sure someone can offer more suggestions tomorrow, but if you are home working on this like I'm home working on my kitchen, this should be enough to start with!


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

A 5x5 space is about as small as you want a powder room to be. That's a 36" wide space for the toilet, and a 24" vanity. The toilet is about 30" front to back, and has to have a minimum of 24" in front of it, but that's really tight for adults. 30" is better. That's a 5'x5' room. Or you can do a 3' wide x 7' long room with the toilet facing the sink and a door on the long side in the middle.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Would something like this work?


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Since you need 3' for the toilet clearance from obstruction to obstruction, no that won't work. It would only leave you 12" for the vanity. That's not even a vanity bowl. It's also uncomfortably short in the length dimension. If you've even been in a bathroom stall where the door was in your way, you know how too short in that dimension feels.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Thanks for the feedback.

That picture wasn't my design. I found it here: http://homerenovations.about.com/od/bathrooms/ss/BathroomPlans_4.htm

Would it work if I used a 28" or 30" door? I have read a lot of people on GW that have used these sized doors with no issues.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Renovations Link


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

What about a pocket door? I think I would do a pocket door to both the laundry and the powder room. Since the pw won't be exposed to other rooms with people usually in them, or traffic passing by, I think a pocket would be private enough and give you a more spacious feel. I guess you would still need 5ft on a wall though for a 30" door.

Any chance you could or would stack your w/d? That would give you plenty of room to expand the pw.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Thanks olychick.

I thought about a pocket door but since the doors would be side-by-side I am not sure how that would work as the "pocket" would be the other door.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

I found this diagram as well.

Is this just not even possible?


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

If you did a Geberit in wall tank with wall hung bowl you could so something as small as 36" wide x 60" long (interior measurements) with the toilet and a small wall-hung handwashing sink facing each other with a bifold door.

Here is a link that might be useful: Geberit


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Thanks for the link. Do I need to do something like that though? Even with a 26-28" toilet I still am going to have at least 24" from the front of the bowl to the wall.

This is mainly a bathroom for my family and won't really be used by anyone else (i.e. guests).

This post was edited by building_a_house on Tue, Jan 1, 13 at 22:48


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

building a house - Your 22:15 posting is what live wire oak was saying. A 30" width for the toilet meets code, but is very tight. The same is true for the 24" in front of the toilet. So, while the plan you show could be done, it is very tight - maybe even uncomfortably tight.

Also, do you even have the 48"? Where you have the powder room drawn on your plan looks to only be as deep as the pantry, and that is 3"8" deep. Don't forget you are going to want molding around the laundry room door.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Good points. The area is at least 48" if memory serves me correctly (I measured a bunch of stuff while I was on site). The picture above you can see that there is at least 16"x3 studs so I think there is about 4.5' without the wall that would need to be added.

I really appreciate the input. This decision (or addition!) is giving me fits.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

What if I kept the pedestal sink where it is but put the toilet on the right sided wall and have it face the door?


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

You might as well nix this powder room if you're going to try to plan it so tight. You're also forgetting that the walls have dimensions that take up interior space. So, while a room might be 4x5 on paper, that's the dimensions from the center of studs to center of studs. Actual dimensions will be less because of the thickness of the studs and drywall. And a wet wall has to be 6" to account for the plumbing. So a 48"x 54" room will actually be 44 1/2" x 49 1/2" by the time you account for the plumbing wall and the other walls. That's why a 60"x60" space is recommended as about as small as you comfortably can have adults use.

Check with your local AHJ to see which plumbing code you fall under. Some will allow 30" of clearance for a toilet, and others will want the 36". That's full wall to nearest obstacle clearance. And you have to have 24" clear in front of both fixtures. That 24" can overlap, but they have more room than that in jail. You want something actually usable here. And if you can't manage that. It's better to not have it at all. Or possibly combine it with the laundry room and have a better lock on the door.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Put a chair 24" from a wall and see how easy it is to sit on it and get up. My guess is that you'll find it horribly claustrophobic and a lot harder than you think. Most toilets are around 30" in depth, and to even get code minimum, the depth of the bathroom has to be 54" interior dimension. And that's the horribly tight squeeze that I'm suggesting that you mock up. I'd want another 6" minimum added to that, and a foot would be better if you've got people with actual leg length like 6'+ sized folks. Same with the width. 36" is the least that most people feel isn't "tight" for someone who might run 200 lbs_ to go with that 6' dimension.

The other thing about using a tiny pedestal sink is that there is no storage in the bath. No place for an extra roll of paper or a cake of soap or a towel. I'd suggest using at least a 24" vanity just so you can have a bit of storage for essentials.

And yes, there's no point in doing this so tight that only kids feel comfortable using it. Especially since there is already a powder room on this floor.

And you've got other MAJOR problems with your home's layout in the way the kitchen and pantry and mudroom et all are laid out. You've got a major traffic path straight through your prep zone. That's a big safety hazard! And the fridge is all the way in the interior of the space so that everyone walks through the kitchen and gets in your way no matter what you're doing. The opening to the butler's pantry doesn't line up with the kitchen and will make serving from the kitchen to the dining room a huge wall around pain.

The powder room is the least of your concerns here from what I can see.

This post was edited by hollysprings on Tue, Jan 1, 13 at 23:53


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

@hollysprings: Thanks for your honest feedback.

I completely agree with the assessment of this tiny room. I am having the builder go out and measure it again today but my gut instinct is that we will likely scrap the idea.

Regarding the other comments we designed the house as to how we live. We switched the butler's and regular pantry as we are going to be going into the regular pantry 1000% more than we are going to be serving guests in the formal dining room. As for the walkway - there is only 1 solid wall where the rangetop could go so that's where it is going to call home.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

I don't know what happened to my comment from last night (unless you've crossposted this somewhere), but what I had to say has been covered here. Too small. (And, I had a lengthy discussion on why/when not to do an inswing door)

What if you did a linear one (instead of a square one)? Does that fit better in the space?

And, who will use this, mostly? Just your family/kids? or guests too? If just your family for a quick pit stop, you might consider doing a toilet only (no sink/sink in laundry).


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Yes, you could do a toilet enclosure and leave it at that, with the sink in the laundry area. It would be similar to the enclosed toilet in a master bath where the vanity sink is utilized for handwashing.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

One option would be to simply add a toilet to the laundry room. Use the laundry room sink as your "powder room" sink.

Another option would be to make the powder room a walk-through. 30" (code minimum) to 36" wide. Similar to the image below.

It depends on your inspector, but if you go with any sort of small room like this, you may have to make the door an out-swinging (into the mudroom) door.

If you omit the second door that goes from the powder room into the laundry and leave it as an open passageway, then the powder room door could be an in-swing.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

My powder room is 52 x 52. It has a 24" door that swings inward. Looking at the last photo, my door would be opposite the sink and opens to the right. So, when my door is open, you will see the sink.

I would definitely keep the sink inside the room. There are times when one needs the water.

This post was edited by clg7067 on Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 12:54


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

I like Mongo's idea of the walk-through, if it's not too late to change the framing. And I was also going to suggest just a toilet in its own room. You would add function without using a bunch of space. If water in that room is a huge concern, you could get a toilet that has a sink built into the top (see Caroma brand, e.g.).

I can tell you this about direct experience with a tight space: we just gutted a bathroom that had a toilet next to a corner sink along a wall that was 51". There was no problem at all with that size, especially if you have a wall mount or pedestal sink. (Wall mount would be ideal, I think). In front of the toilet, there was about 19" of space before the end of a clawfoot tub. That was tight for me, at 5'8" tall, but not unworkable. I don't think I would have liked staring at a solid wall, but the space was okay to maneuver in. So if you can get something that meets code, and you really want the powder room in the square shape you've proposed, I think it could work.

Look for a round front toilet, which is shorter, or possibly a corner toilet could help you fit everything in. Perhaps a corner sink directly in front of the door on the left back wall, and a corner toilet on the right back or right front wall, diagonal from the corner sink.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Some absolutely fantastic ideas. I am really liking the corner sink with the toilet right next to it and I think it would fit and allow the door to open easily.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

If you take Mongo's idea a bit further why not place the powder room at the back of the laundry room and make the laundry room counterspace smaller?


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

I would pocket the pantry door or do double inswinging doors that could sit against the wall inside the pantry. You may want to leave the pantry open when doing heavy duty cooking or baking and an outswing door that rests in a hallway is not much fun.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Please review my point on the safety of inswinging doors in small rooms (I found it... it is on your build forum post).


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

@kirkhall: Got it. Thanks for taking the time to point it out. Wouldn't have thought about it otherwise.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Might have to move the toilet wall back a few inches to meet the 24" in front of the toilet but it looks doable.

I keep going back and forth on this one. Damn. Here is how it looks in a 48x48" space with 28" and 30" doors.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

It isn't 24" in front of the base of the toilet. It is 24" in front of the furthest point of the toilet (usually the rim). I don't think you can get it in a 48" space.

Skip the sink. Do toilet only room of 3x5.

And, toilets have to go where toilets have to go. Usually a 12 or 14" distance from the wall, sometimes 10", but never less than 10". So, it isn't as simple as "moving it back a little".

I would also consider, putting your toilet against the back wall (or the walkthru style) so that you don't lose some space to "hall" space. As it is, you have a small box to work within because you have to leave room to walk to the laundry room. If the powder or 1/4 bath is at the back, you don't have that restriction.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

@kirkhall: I am confused. As you can see in the picture there is about 21-22" from the front of the toilet (I chose a 27" deep toilet btw) to the wall. I can easily move the toilet and sink wall back a few inches to add a few inches to the space in front of the toilet to achieve a 24" distance.

Also what do you mean by " 12" or 14" distance from the wall, sometimes 10", but never less than 10" "?

I just want to make sure I understand why you are saying this isn't possible.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

When they rough plumb, the toilet drain line is a 3" diameter (or 4" diameter) pipe. The center of it is 10, 12, or 14" from the finished edge of the back wall, usually (those are standard sizes). Where the toilet bolts down is also that measurement (10, 12 or 14" from the back wall) and informs you on what type of toilet to buy--a 10 in rough in toilet can sit back far enough to fit a 10 in rough in, but a 12" rough in toilet cannot fit into a 10 in rough in space. If your plumber has to set that toilet drain line at 14" from the back wall (because, say, there is a floor joist under where he'd otherwise put it), even if you chose a toilet that only sat 27" from the wall at a 10" rough in, you have to add 4 more inches to that projection (difference between 10 and 14) and now that toilet projects 31".

So, what I am saying, is in case, it may not be JUST about how it will nicely draw out on the floor... but also where your joists under it lie, and where the plumber is capable of running the drainlines.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

Got it. Thanks for the education. I didn't realize this.


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RE: Help Me Plan a Tiny Half Bathroom (With Pics)

I officially nixed this project tonight. Thanks GW for talking sense into me. The area was just too small and I would have had only about 6" of "wiggle room" if I wanted to put a washer and dryer side by side in the laundry room.

I hope others can read this in the future and that it helps someone to make (or not make) a decision about their tiny bathroom.


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