Pros and Cons of Different Bathroom Layouts: Galley Style and More

Navigating the World of Bathroom Layouts

Modern Master Bathroom with shower enclosure, freestanding tub, and double vanity

Have you ever wondered if your bathroom could be more than just a functional space?

Or maybe you’ve pondered whether a different bathroom layout could transform your daily routine.

You’re not the only one!

In this post, we’ll dive into the world of bathroom layouts, exploring various styles from the classic full bath to the expansive spa-like design and even the trendy minimalist look.

By the end of this blog, you’ll understand the pros and cons of some of the most common bathroom layouts and be well-informed to make a decision about your own bathroom remodeling in Bakersfield, CA.

Get ready to uncover the secrets to making the most out of your bathroom floor space, no matter its size or shape.

Bathroom Layout Considerations and Guidelines

Embarking on a bathroom remodeling project or creating a new one from scratch in Bakersfield or elsewhere involves more than just picking bathroom fixtures and paint colors.

The layout of your bathroom is a crucial factor that can make or break the functionality and aesthetic appeal of the space.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bathroom Layout

Here’s a deeper dive into the key elements you should consider:

  • Room Dimensions:
    • Size Matters: The overall size of your bathroom dictates what you can do with the floor space. For instance, in a compact bathroom, typically found in older Bakersfield homes or city apartments, you might have to prioritize essentials like a shower, toilet, and small vanity.

  • Room Shape:
    • Working with the Shape: The shape of your bathroom can offer unique opportunities or present challenges. A long, narrow bathroom space (sometimes referred to as a ‘galley bathroom’) might suit a linear arrangement of fixtures. A square room offers more flexibility in placing a bath, shower, and sink.

  • Plumbing Setup:
    • Plumbing Constraints: The existing plumbing can significantly impact your layout choices. Moving plumbing fixtures can be costly and complex, especially in older structures common in certain Bakersfield neighborhoods.

  • Consider Natural Light and Ventilation:
    • Windows and Ventilation: Natural light can make a bathroom feel more spacious and welcoming. Consider the placement of windows and how that impacts the layout. Ventilation is also key, especially in bathrooms without windows, to prevent mold and mildew.

  • Accessibility:
    • Creating an Accessible Space: For homes with elderly residents or those with mobility issues, considering ADA guidelines for accessibility in your bathroom layout is essential. This might include walk-in showers with no steps, grab bars, and wider doorways.

  • Storage Needs:
    • Incorporating Storage: Adequate storage is a must in any bathroom layout. Think about the need for cabinets, shelving, and perhaps a linen closet within or near the bathroom. You can explore the cost difference between custom-built vs. store-bought bathroom storage here.

  • Personal Preferences and Lifestyle:
    • Tailoring to Your Lifestyle: Your lifestyle and personal preferences play a significant role in choosing the right bathroom layout. A busy family bathroom has different needs compared to a luxurious master ensuite.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a bathroom layout that not only fits your floor space but also suits your lifestyle, enhances functionality, and complements the aesthetic appeal of your home.

Planning Questions for Bathroom Layout

Illustration sketch of a bathroom.

Before diving into a bathroom renovation or design, it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure the space meets the specific needs and preferences of its users.

This planning phase is about understanding who will use the bathroom, how it will be used, and what unique requirements each user might have.

When considering bathroom layout ideas, it’s important to think about how elements like a glass shower door or a double sink might enhance the space.

Let’s explore these key aspects to ensure your bathroom not only looks great but also serves its purpose effectively.

  • Who Will Be the Primary Users?
    • The bathroom’s design should cater to the specific needs of its users, whether it’s a family with children, a couple, or primarily for guests.

  • How Will the Bathroom Be Used?
    • Consider if the bathroom will cater to morning routines, serve as a relaxing space, or have multiple functions like laundry.

  • What Are the Ages and Mobility of the Users?
    • Design should account for users of all ages and mobility levels, incorporating features like bathtubs for children or walk-in showers for the elderly.

  • What Are the Personal Habits and Preferences of the Users?
    • The layout should reflect personal preferences such as the choice between showers or baths and the need for ample counter space.

  • What Are the Storage Requirements?
    • Assess the necessary storage for toiletries and linens, considering built-in solutions for efficiency and convenience.

  • What Is the Frequency and Type of Use?
    • Design the bathroom to suit its daily usage, whether for quick, functional visits or leisurely, long-term use. Is it a primary bathroom, a master bathroom, or a powder room?

  • What Are the Aesthetic Preferences of the Users?
    • The bathroom should align with users’ style preferences, whether modern or rustic and harmonize with the home’s overall design.

  • Are There Any Special Considerations?
    • Factor in unique architectural features, the desire for special amenities, and any environmental or sustainable design elements preferred by the users.

Budgeting for Different Layouts

The financial aspect of choosing a bathroom layout is as important as the design itself.

Costs can fluctuate significantly based on the complexity and style of the layout:

  • Simple Layouts: These are typically cost-effective and are ideal for smaller bathrooms or guest baths. For example, a basic layout with a single sink, toilet, and shower can be quite economical, especially if you choose standard fixtures and avoid moving existing plumbing. Follow the link to explore the cost difference between small vs. large bathroom layouts.

  • Mid-Range Layouts: This category often involves a bit more customization, like adding a double vanity or a bathtub. Costs rise due to the additional materials and potential plumbing alterations. Incorporating mid-level finishes and fixtures can offer a balance between quality and affordability.

  • Luxury or Complex Layouts: These layouts are usually chosen for master bathrooms and involve high-end finishes, custom cabinetry, and possibly expanding the space or altering the plumbing significantly. Features like a freestanding tub, a large walk-in shower, and premium materials can substantially increase the budget.

Remember, in addition to the raw materials and fixtures, labor costs can vary depending on the contractor you hire, the complexity of the work, and the level of expertise required.

Click the link to discover how much it costs to hire a bathroom remodeling company in Bakersfield, CA.

Layout Guidelines

Adhering to layout guidelines is essential for creating a bathroom that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and safe.

The following bathroom planning guidelines are provided by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

These guidelines are particularly important in Bakersfield, where remodeling older homes can present unique challenges due to their existing bathroom floor plans.

Just keep in mind that California has its own building codes that you will need to follow for your bathroom layout in Bakersfield:

  • Door Width: A minimum width of 32 inches for entry doors is recommended. This ensures ease of access, which is particularly important in renovations where doorways might previously have been narrower.

  • Ceiling Height: A minimum ceiling height of 80 inches in front of fixtures is crucial for creating a sense of openness and ensuring that the space doesn’t feel cramped, a common issue in older homes.

  • Fixture Spacing: Adequate spacing between fixtures enhances functionality. For example, maintaining at least 20 inches from the sink to the nearest wall allows for comfortable movement and usage. For twin sinks, a gap of at least 36 inches between centerlines is ideal to avoid a crowded feel.

  • Vanities and Toilets: Standard vanity heights range between 32 and 34 inches, suitable for most users. The toilet should have a centerline 15 to 18 inches from any wall or fixture, providing enough room for ease of use.

  • Water Closet Space: For bathrooms with a separate toilet area, a space of 36 by 66 inches is required. This is especially important in older homes where space might be limited, ensuring that any modifications still meet functional needs.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure your bathroom remodel in Bakersfield is both comfortable and compliant, blending modern functionality with the charm of older architecture.

Now that you know what to consider when choosing a bathroom layout, let’s take a closer look at 5 common bathroom layout types and assess their pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of 5 Popular Bathroom Layouts

Exploring different bathroom layouts is key to creating a space that is both functional and stylish.

In this section, we delve into five popular bathroom floor plans, each with its unique characteristics, advantages, and challenges.

Classic Bathroom Layout: Full Bath

A classic bathroom layout with the main fixtures aligned on one wall

A traditional layout with the main fixtures (sink, toilet, and bath/shower) aligned typically on one wall.


  • Timeless and straightforward to install.
  • Space-efficient, perfect for Bakersfield’s smaller homes.
  • Cost-effective, a boon for budget renovations.


  • Limited counter space can be a challenge.
  • Might feel restrictive for more extensive remodeling projects.

Galley-Style Bathroom Layout: Full Bath

A galley style bathroom next to a bedroom

A long, narrow layout with fixtures on parallel walls, similar to a galley kitchen.


  • Ideal for guest bathrooms, offering a neat, compact design.
  • Efficient use of space, a plus in urban homes.


  • Can feel cramped, especially if over-furnished.
  • Limited options for fixture placement due to narrow space.

Three-Quarter Bathroom Layout: Guest Bathroom

A compact three-quarter guest bathroom.

A compact bathroom layout that typically includes a sink, toilet, and shower but no bathtub.


  • Great for guest use with its efficient design.
  • Plumbing costs are lower, making it budget-friendly.


  • It is not suitable for daily family use due to limited features.
  • The absence of a bathtub might be a drawback for some users.

Jack & Jill Bathroom Layout: Shared Bathroom

A jack and jill bathroom with two doors

A bathroom is situated between two bedrooms, typically with a double vanity, and shared by both rooms.


  • Perfect for shared usage between bedrooms.
  • Offers flexible design options for families.


  • Privacy can be an issue due to the dual access points.
  • Scheduling and usage conflicts might arise between users.

Spa-Like Bathroom Layout: Large Full Bath

A luxurious spa-like bathroom layout with bath, shower, and double vanity.

A luxurious and expansive spa-like bathroom layout that typically features high-end fixtures and amenities like a soaking tub for a spa-like experience.


  • Feels luxurious and spacious and typically has a double vanity.
  • Can be customized with many bathroom accessories.
  • Often features a stunning freestanding soaking tub.


  • Requires more space and a higher budget.
  • Complex plumbing needs.
  • Some areas may be underutilized.

Pros and Cons of 3 Popular Bathroom Design Trends

Here are 3 popular bathroom design trends that each offer unique benefits and challenges.

Skipping the Tub

Opting for a bathroom design without a soaking tub, usually replacing it with a shower.


  • Frees up space, ideal for smaller Bakersfield bathrooms.
  • Lower maintenance than a tub.


  • Could impact resale value.
  • Some might miss the aesthetic charm of a tub.

Walk-In Shower with No Threshold or Doors

Serene and minimalist bathroom with a walk-in shower,

A modern shower design that eliminates barriers like doors or steps for a seamless look.


  • Gives an open, airy feel to the bathroom.
  • Accessible design, simpler to clean.


  • Water drainage can be a challenge, leading to potential messes.
  • May require more extensive waterproofing of the bathroom area.

Minimalist Look

A design trend focusing on simplicity and uncluttered spaces with minimal fixtures and decor.


  • Offers a clean, uncluttered aesthetic.
  • Simplifies cleaning and maintenance.


  • Storage can be an issue in a pared-down design.
  • May not suit those who prefer traditional or more ornate designs.

Whether it’s the space-saving and easy maintenance of skipping the tub, the sleek and accessible design of a walk-in shower, or the clean and efficient allure of the minimalist look, each trend caters to different preferences and requirements.

Ultimately, the choice depends on individual lifestyle needs, space constraints, and personal style, especially in diverse homes like those found in Bakersfield.

Transform Your Bathroom with Bakersfield Custom Remodeling

After exploring the wide array of bathroom layouts and designs, it’s clear that the right choice can significantly impact your daily life.

Whether you’re looking for a cozy galley-style guest bath or dreaming of a luxurious spa-like retreat, Bakersfield Custom Remodeling is here to turn those dreams into reality.

We understand the unique challenges and opportunities in creating the perfect bathroom layout in the Bakersfield area.

So, why wait?

Fill out our contact form today or give us a call to start your journey toward a beautifully remodeled bathroom that meets your every need and desire.

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