Illustrated Rules of Good Bathroom Design

The National Kitchen & Bath Association developed the Bathroom Planning Guidelines to provide designers with good planning practices that consider typical needs of users. A committee of experts in bathroom design reviewed relevant research, lifestyle and design trends, and Model Building Code requirements to assure the updated guidelines promote the health, safety, and welfare of consumers.

A bathroom that follows all of these rules is almost guaranteed to be both functional and safe. See how many your existing bathroom violates for a better understanding of why it may seem awkward and dysfunctional.

These formal, printed guidelines are not the only bath design rules. Designers and carpenters have worked out some rules of thumb over many years that do not arise to the level of official national standards, but represent a distillation of years of experience and generally accepted industry practice. We have included these in comments where applicable.

The NKBA guidelines are used for academic and educational programs in bathroom design, evaluation of bathroom plans, and testing the competencies of designers seeking certification. For more information and to locate an NKBA member in your area, contact The National Kitchen and Bath Association.

What Do These Fonts Mean?


Recommendation:
The actual text of an NKBA guideline recommendation.

Code Requirement:
Refers to International Residential Code (IRC) and associated plumbing, electrical, mechanical and access codes. Where appropriate, the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act are also indicated. These are taken from Standards for Accessible Design published the U.S. Department of Justice. Most ADA standards do not apply to private residences. But if you are building or remodeling for a person with limited mobility, they provide a good template for how things should be built. Your local code authority may have modified or added to national requirements, so always check with your local code authority before making any changes to your bathroom

Notes:
Are remarks by the publishers of the rule, standard or guideline used to clarify or expand the standard or guideline.

Comments:
Are our observations and explanations. If we want to clarify or expand on a guideline, this is where we will do it. We will also use comments to introduce recommendations and rules-of-design that are not a part of the guidelines published by the NKBA.

The Thirty-One Kitchen Design Rules


Beginning in 1944 the University of Illinois conducted a number of studies of kitchen design and developed fundamental design principles that are still very much in use today. A kitchen that follows all of these rules is almost guaranteed to be both functional and safe. See how many rules your existing kitchen violates for a better understanding of why it may seem awkward and… more »


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