The Goods

Decor lesson: Design your bathroom by the numbers

You want your new bathroom to look nice, but you also need it to function. Let these numbers be your guide.

You want your new bathroom to look nice, but you also need it to function. Let these numbers be your guide.

When designing a bathroom, only 20 percent is about "prettiness" and personality. Eighty percent is about technical guidelines. Your bathroom is, first and foremost, a room built for function. Here are some key measurements to keep in mind when designing or renovating any bathroom.  


Vanity height is standard 35", give or take a few inches, depending on the manufacturer. If you're planning a bathroom just for you, and you'll be living in the house for a long time, you can adjust that if you're much taller or shorter than average. But if you're renovating with an eye to the re-selling of your home, it's probably best to stick to this standard.


Double sinks should have at least 30" from the center of one bowl to the center of the other. Another important thing to keep in mind, whether you have a single or double sink, is you want to have a minimum of 5" from the edge of the sink to an adjacent wall. You want to leave some elbow room for when two people are using the sinks at the same time.


For wall sconces, the light should land at 72" from the center of the light to the floor. These provide flattering lighting for you and your guests.

Eighty-four inches works for vanity lights, which tend to be more popular and should be placed above the mirror providing helpful, but less flattering, downlighting.


Fifteen inches from center of the bowl on either side is the minimum amount of space required for a comfortable experience.

Shower head

The standard is 80" high for the showerhead, from the floor to the spout. Again, you can place it higher if you're on the taller side, and bend no more.

Let's try it out!

With the basics under our belt, The Goods team pulled together a powder room to talk a bit about scale and proportion in the bathroom. In a powder room, scale is so important because you don't have a ton of space. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Think about weight

The boxy vanity base is balanced by a mirror with the same visual weight. The width of your mirror should generally be around the width of your vanity. A frameless mirror would be too diminutive alongside a vanity like this. It would work better with a pedestal sink.

Think about lighting

Consider the power of the light versus the room size. A small bathroom can handle smaller sconces and lights. We recommend 75 lumens per square foot. That translates to three to four 60 watt bulbs for a 6' x 6' bathroom.

Think about balance

The wallpaper, baseboard and crown moulding all need to play off each other. The plain or solid crown moulding and baseboard act as a frame for the busy wallpaper—you wouldn't want intricate top and bottom plus busy in between. Your eye needs time to rest. But bold wallpaper won't make the room feel smaller, in fact it may erase the boundaries of the room so the space actually feels larger.

Think about mixing & matching

Overall, you want every room to feel balanced and pleasing. By mixing and matching pieces that are new and old, it gives the eye lots to look at and helps with visual balance.

Resource guide:


Bathroom Vanity


Farrow and Ball