Small bathroom ergonomics: design tips and rules

Ergonomics is about the functional and safe use of the space that takes efficiency to the top level and makes it defining for a particular room. Functionality, safety, and efficiency seem to be prominent features in the bathroom, particularly if this is a small one. Successfully putting together a small bathroom that serves you practically and preserves a coherent look is the work of professionals. What we are trying to do in this article is provide you with the best tips and rules to make the most of the situation on your own in case you have a small bathroom.


An ergonomic bathroom is meant to meet the needs of the homeowner. How small this place wouldn’t be, it should be personalized to each case in part. Is it a bathroom that will be used by a single person only, by a couple, or by the entire family? Is it part of the guest room? Who and when uses the bathroom? Knowing the answers will considerably simplify the process of arranging a space. 

Setting the distance

The size of anything you find in the bathroom depends on what space we speak about; how small it actually is. What we can safely tell you about are the distances one should consider for convenient use of a small bathroom.


Be it the sink alone or a vanity, you should ensure a clear space of 30”x48” (75x120cm) on the floor in front of the sink. The distance between the center of the sink and any side wall should start from 15” (38cm), while the height of the sink fully depends on the personalization concept. 


Not that the bathtub is not appropriate for small bathrooms, yet there are better alternatives. You can firmly integrate a bathtub as long as you can ensure a 30” (75cm) clear space on the floor in the bathtub neighborhood.


It is much easier with a shower. Still, you should meet the standard dimensions within the shower so that you can efficiently use it. The standard dimensions for the shower include a distance of at least 32” (80cm) from wall to wall with an interior of about 1,024 square inches (6,600 square centimeters) and 30” (75cm) for the diameter. 


For practical and convenient use, one should consider a distance of at least 16” (40cm) from the center of the toilet and the wall. Ensure at least 30” (75cm) between the center of the toilet and the center of the bidet if there is one. Of course, free space in front of both is mandatory, and one should go with at least 24” (60cm) of clear space. 


Functional lighting suits small bathrooms better than light sources with decorative features both by saving space and efficiently brightening functional areas. Spotlights and track lighting are among the first choices. You can really notice the difference between a bathroom decorated with ambient light sources and one enriched with task lighting, say above the mirror. Don’t forget about the switches that should be placed as far from water as possible or at least protected by special covers.  

Well-thought layout

Bathrooms, be they small like in our case or big, require special attention when it comes to cleaning. Moisture is a strong aspect to deal with, and a smart layout can quite save the day. You can enjoy a clean and fresh bathroom by making sure you can easily reach every spot while cleaning. One of the best options is to consider wall-hung toilets, sinks, vanities, and cabinets, which, by the way, save space and allow you to reach every spot and make sure it stays clean.  

In the same context, pay as much importance to ventilation, which is the first step you should take for a fresh bathroom. 

Bathroom fittings

Although placing shower fittings below shower heads seems to be the standard we usually stick to, considering the perpendicular wall is a more efficient option. The constant problem of accidentally turning on and off the water, or touching the wrong faucet, will simply disappear, while the position itself will not take a single inch from your small bathroom. 

Quick tips on how to make the most of small bathrooms

Save space with a corner sink

This way, you can place the sink in ways you thought you could have never used functionally, preserve a roomy effect within your small bathroom, and even ensure the easiness of movement. 

A few more inches to the countertop

Make the most of the available space that you cannot normally reach by walking into it, such as expanding the vanity countertop and ensuring this way additional storage space underneath. 

Beyond borders with a large mirror

Besides the fact that looking into a large mirror is exceptionally convenient, such a decision will definitely enlarge your small bathroom by reflecting the space and the light that penetrates the interior. 

Switch from bathtub to shower

Unless you are an amateur of long baths, you will surely appreciate the convenience of use when it comes to the shower, which, of course, saves space and suits small bathrooms. 

Stick to built-in shelves

Whether these shelves are for practical or decorative use, don’t skip the built-in part if you want to use them to the fullest and leave the free space untouched.

From traditionally placed to floating bathroom units

Forget about the usual bathroom layout, and give priority to wall-hung toilets, sinks, vanities, and cabinets, which look more stylish, and most importantly, don’t steal but offer additional free space.

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