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Design Dilemma: Bathroom layout


Hello sweet friends of the Jungalow. We are getting ready to embark on the next reno project at our Jungalow by the River. It’s both exciting and nerve racking, as these renovation projects tend to be. And we’ve been stuck at the design phase for several months. The layout of the house is so small and relatively odd, that almost daily I change my mind as to what the best layout idea is for this bathroom.  So,  after too many weeks of back and forth between Jason and I, we thought we’d open up the floor to see what you guys think! Ok so here’s the deal…


Current Layout

The above floorplan is the current layout of the front portion of our Jungalow. In the current layout, the front entrance to the home is into the living room, to the immediate left of the living room is the Blue Room (our extra bedroom that we currently use as a TV room/guest room). I’ve added some pics to the floorplan as references, ’cause this sh*& gets a bit complicated.

There are some good things about the current layout. For example, Jason keeps his clothes in the storage closet in the Blue Room and so it’s convenient to have a bathroom nearby. In the current layout the bathroom also is large enough for a bathtub. Yay. Also, in the current layout there is storage in the bedroom and the living room. I should add that storage IS an issue in this house. The only other closet in the house is the one in our bedroom, which is small and fits about half my clothing (the other half is in the garage).


Current Layout

But, there are also some not-so-great things about the layout that you can see in the floor plan without the reference images. See how those two doors knock into each other in the Blue Room? Yeah, it’s very annoying. Another consideration is the bathroom entry-point. If, one day, this Blue Room turns into a bedroom for Ida (like if we have another baby or if she outgrows her current room which is VERY tiny) the two bathrooms in the house would only be accessible through bedrooms. Is that weird??


This is the bathroom in question, and here’s what it looks like right now:
I know. I know. In the new layout I’ll be sure we have a place to put a garbage can, this drives me bananas.

So we’ve played around with a ton of different layout ideas, all of which have plusses and minuses — so check it out:

1.) The entryway is through the living room.


You go through a small corridor to get to the bathroom. Here are the pros and cons, as we see it, of this arrangement.

1.) Entrance is through a ‘public’ area of the house, (not off of a bedroom).
2.) Bathtub is under the window (which we would like).

1.) We lose the pantry in our dining room.
2.) We lose a key portion of a nice big wall in our living room where we were planning to add a shelving unit.
3.) We can’t add a pocket door to the closet (marked ‘storage’) in the Blue Room to fix the issue of those two doors bumping into each other.


2.) The entryway is through the dining room.

In this next layout option, the entrance is through the dining room, on the center of the lateral wall. We would put in a pocket door, and wallpaper the door that that it was almost invisible.

1.) Entrance is through a ‘public’ area of the house, (not off of a bedroom).
2.) Bathtub is under the window.
3.) Toilet gets its own little ‘area’ that could be potentially closed off from the bathing area. Fancy.
4.) This layout allows for a bigger bathroom with room for a larger vanity and more bathroom storage.

1.) We loose the pantry in our dining room.
2.) It’s kinda gross to have the bathroom off of the dining room.
3.) We can’t add a pocket door to the closet (marked ‘storage’) in the Blue Room to fix the issue of those two doors bumping into each other.

3.) The entryway stays in the Blue Room

In this next layout option, the entrance remains in the Blue Room.

1.) Bathtub is under the window.
2.) We keep the dining room storage
3.) We can add a pocket door to the closet (marked ‘storage’) in the Blue Room to fix the issue of those two doors bumping into each other.

1.) The only entrances to both bathrooms are through bedrooms
2.) The bathroom remains small

So there you have it! This is our design dilemma. What do you think? Which would you choose if you were redoing your home? Or which option would you want if you were going to buy this house? I’d love any insight that you have — or if you have any additional ideas that we haven’t thought of yet we’d love to hear them!!

Top photo by Danae Horst for the Jungalow — it features the shower curtain that we designed for Schoolhouse Electric–not my bathroom though! ;) We created the floor plans with Floorplanner.com.

Alternative Text Justina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

47 responses to “Design Dilemma: Bathroom layout”

  1. Heather says:

    Hi there! I was wondering, why not reverse the storage room door so it opens the other way? Would that stop it bumping, or would there be something in the way to stop that? P.S, I don’t think there’s a big issue with a bathroom coming off from a dining room!

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      Hi Heather good question. The storage room is really just a small closet so if we reversed the door to open inwards the clothes that are hanging would stop the door from fully opening. If we reversed the door the other way, and it opened out but in the opposite direction, it would still knock into the other door.

  2. Laurel says:

    I’d go with the first option but I can see all the downsides….those doors opening on each other! Arg! Our landlord is currently having an extension built onto our house (which is awesome) but the architect is such a bonehead. He did the exact same thing! It’s so stupid!

    Anyway, I’d go for option one or three. Option two (through the dining room) doesn’t appeal; you’d have to walk through every room to make it to the bedroom! Unless you swapped the living and dining rooms of course.

  3. Cecilia says:

    Hello Justina.
    Thank you for all the posts throughout the years that have inspired me (all the way from your home to mine in Stockholm).
    I would go with option 2. I wouldn’t want to buy a house where the entrance to the bathroom is via someones bedroom.
    And I don’t think that it’s weird to have the entrance via the dining room- especially if you give the “toilet its own little ‘area’ that could be potentially closed off from the bathing area”.
    Good luck!

  4. Bev says:

    I would add another option. Combine the two storage areas to make a small “hallway”. Entrances to the bath and bedroom through the hallway. Hall opens through living r closest to kitchen. Doors to bed and bath are near bedroom. (No sightline from living room into bath.) Perhaps you could have some room for minor storage on bath and ding room walls as you first enter. Would you have space in bedroom along bath wall for narrow closet? This would also be a noise buffer for bedroom???????

    • Kristin says:

      I really like this idea!

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      Bev, this is a cool idea. We had thought of moving the closet in the bedroom, but hadn’t thought about combining the two storage area to make a longer hallway. Thanks for your input! We’ll think on this!!

      • Rebecca says:

        I like this idea best!

        I had a room about this size when I was growing up (assuming the narrow closet is put in along the wall) and, while cozy, it was plenty. It also limited the amount of wall space I had for everything in my teenage bad (horrible) taste. haha

        One good thing — you don’t have to install the closet now. They are not expensive to install — we took one out of our current house expressly with plans to put it back when / if we sell it. Contractor’s quote was only a few hundred dollars.

    • tammyCA says:

      I’d choose this plan with the hallway..never a bathroom door directly opening into a dining or kitchen or even a living room..eww. Maybe, a small corner triangle closet built for the blue bedroom with shelving, and shutter doors (does a closet have to be rectangular or square or have a door?) so you can still call it a bedroom.

    • aprilneverends says:

      I also like this idea the best.
      for all sorts of reasons, from privacy to safety one-it’s preferable to have a bath that has an access from a public area. If it doesn’t open directly to it-even better.

      I’d rather sacrifice some of the storage space , that will miss on this opportunity to majorly improve how the home functions.
      as for teenage Ida..come on:) we were 9 people that used 1 bathroom until we moved when I was 10. Really didn’t make me that miserable. When we moved, meaning we didn’t have to share the apartment anymore with other family-we still were 6 people, and still had 1 bathroom. and I was a teenager obsessed with taking showers)) It was fine.
      Also then at some point you get to the dorms..no it won’t be private there. Not for a while.

      Older adults are uncomfortable much more in situations with less privacy..due to many reasons. When you’re young you’re much more resilient, patient, and..generally, less needy, in terms of everyday functioning.
      I was so easy going when young..a bag with a change of clothing, eyeliner and toothbrush, and I was all set to go to another city to visit a friend.
      Now I have the whole shebang to pack-pills for this, pills for that..LOL

      PS overall I’m amazed how much you did during what? year and a half? Congrats, really. I love, love, love your home. And am grateful you’re sharing it with us.
      We, on the other hand, are just moving in soon..hopefully lol.

    • We have a layout very similar to this in our house and it works really well. Create hallway out of storage and put entrance in left storage (bedroom storage) from the living room. Entrance to bedroom will be on left as you enter hall, entrance to bathroom straight ahead. Leaves a space for storage on right of hallway, perfect for linen cupboard. Then you can put in closet storage in bedroom, on right as you walk through the new door. If room is tight you can always put in a narrow cupboard where clothes hangers are hung like in a shop display. Ikea has some good examples. I do love playing in somebody else’s space. Can’t wait to see what you do.
      See layout drawing for our bed/bath here http://buildhousehome.blogspot.com.au/2016/05/why-pocket-doors-are-genius.html

  5. Alexis says:

    I would add another option. Lose Blue room closet, not pantry and put door from living room there. Then you have living room entrance, no bumping doors, spacious bathroom and can make up blue room storage with a built in or wardrobe.

    • Lauren says:

      I thought the same thing. This would solve what seem to be the biggest problems – doors bumping and bedroom access. Only problem is if codes don’t allow the blue room to be called a bedroom without a closet, you don’t want to lose a bedroom, but I imagine a small one could be built elsewhere for that reason?
      I’ve lived in a place where the only access to bathrooms was through bedrooms and I would not like to do so again – it would definitely deter me if I saw that in a house I was contemplating buying.

      • Justina Blakeney says:

        Yes we are worried about losing the closet for code reasons. Also, there is no great place to put an armoire in the room without making the room significantly smaller. Thanks for chiming in Lauren and Alexis! I love hearing all of these new ideas! It’s giving me hope that we’ll figure out a great solution.

        • Christa says:

          I like this idea best as well. A hallway to the bath is always nice if you can possibly fit it in. You can still create shallow storage cabinets on both sides of the new hallway. I’d also leave the plumbing fixtures on the dining side of the wall because moving drains can get expensive.

          What about finding a custom storage business like California Closets to work with you on adding closet storage to the blue bedroom, the living room, and even the dining area?

  6. Dalia says:

    It really depends on your lifestyle and what you use the bathroom and blue room for, really. Who uses the bathroom?
    If you have a lot of guests who only stay a few hours, and mainly use the bathroom as powder room, a door from the living room or dining room would be best. If you have a lot of overnight guests leaving it in the blue room would be better.
    If I were teenage Ida, I would probably not want to traipse through the living and dining rooms to “my” bathroom. (I would hate for my bathroom to be the public bathroom, too.)
    Maybe you could transform the two storage into a public toilet+handsink and only put a corner-shower+sink+toilet in the bathroom?

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      Hi Dalia! Thanks for chiming in. That’s a good point about teenage Ida. I think in my mind that’s so far away that I hadn’t thought too much about that but you’re right. She would hate that. I like your idea of separating the two, but I fear we’ll lose too much storage if we get rid of both closets…hmmmm….

  7. leigh says:

    how about a variation on option 3? still enter through the blue room/bedroom, but orient the bathtub differently, so that it runs long ways along the dining room wall (the wall you would be facing when you walk in), have the sink/vanity on the wall under the window, and and have a little closet for the toilet where the pantry is (as in option 2). you could potentially close off the wall to the closet door in the bedroom (avoiding the door knocking situation) and access the closet through the bathroom. you would lose your pantry (which is a bummer but maybe do-able esp if you have a garage), and maybe you could expand the closet a little?

  8. Louise says:

    Why don’t you put a L-shaped wall in the entry of the Blue Bedroom, to “cut” the bedroom’s storage space out? You could enter the bathroom that storage room and then just knock out the original door to the bedroom and you get this little space connected to the living room – I mean, It would make the bedroom a little smaller, but you wouldn’t have to think about the two doors bumping into each other, you’d have a bigger bathroom and still the storage room of the dining area, do you know how I mean it? Wouldn’t that be possible too?
    Sorry, if i made mistakes – not a native speaker, greetings from düsseldorf

    • Louise says:

      *enter the bathroom through
      *plus a living room-entry for the bathroom which wouldn’t force guests to go through Ida’s future room

  9. Rachel says:

    You would lose the bathroom window, but what about swapping the storage areas with the bathroom area. The storage areas would butt up to the outside wall, then the bathroom would maintain it’s size right now a squeeze between storage and the living room. The storage would then be accessible from the dining room and blue room, as it is now, but you would avoid the doors running into eachother. The bathroom door would be placed in the living room right next to the blue room door. You could even make that a pocket door.

  10. Becky says:

    And just because you want to explore all your options…another idea! What about a variation of option 3, except the closet for the blue room becomes a small hallway to a door to the bathroom and a door to the blue bedroom. The door to the bedroom that goes to the living room is closed off. The pantry becomes a closet for the blue bedroom, with the doors in the dining room closed off and a new door opening in the small hallway. Pros – a little bit of privacy from the living room for both bedroom and bathroom and bedroom still has a closet for code and no knocking doors!

    • Hi Becky — this idea is totally out-of-the-box and something I hadn’t thought of at all! If I’m understanding the idea correctly, I’m afraid the doors would all be knocking into each other though?? In this idea the closet door, bathroom door and Blue Room door are all in the little hallways, right? SO the doors would all have to swing inwards for this idea to work?

      Thank you for your ideas! I’m loving reading all of these ideas -!!

      • Becky says:

        Actually I was thinking the bathroom door would swing into the bathroom, the bedroom door would swing into the bedroom and only the closet door would swing into the hall. And, in a flight of fancy, I imagined an arched doorway between the living room and the little hallway that would echo the arch in the porch. And if it could be done, I was thinking of a pocket door in the arched doorway that could be left open when the bedroom is used as more of a public area and pulled closed when you need an en-suite for guests or teen-aged Ida or to make code!
        Thanks for letting me play with you! And good luck – whatever you do will be awesome! :)

  11. Danae Horst says:

    Tough one! I don’t relish the idea of a bathroom off the dining room, but it would be nice to solve some of these other issues. Sounds like there are at least a number of workable options!

  12. Rebecka says:

    Definitely would prefer to have the access from a “public” area. You also need to keep the “blue room” closet for it to be considered a bedroom when you resell the house (I saw some commenters suggesting getting rid of that). I really like option 2. If the doors bother you right now, I’d put the blue room door in storage and use a curtain to cover up the closet.

  13. I would go for option 3.. While the biggest disadvantage in my opinion in this option is that access is from public area is not there so guests will have to walk through bedroom
    To overcome this, I would go with two entries to the bathroom- In option 3 itself you have considered two doors – one from bedroom and the other other from the dining to the storage. So i’ll just have a door from dining and no storage there and the access issue is gone! :)

    This also adds up a bit more space in the bathroom! Hope this makes sense!

    x Germarie

  14. April says:

    I think Option 3 is your best choice. Having a bathroom entrance right off a living or dining room isn’t great. With the entrance in the blue room, it remains private, it allows you to keep both existing closets in a home with limited storage, requires less demo, and if Ida ever were to use the blue room as a bedroom, at that point you could look at options for a powder room to be located elsewhere (not in the portion of the layout shown).

  15. Mary says:

    I like more the 3rd solution but If I could I would make a smaIl WC for the visitors instead of the area of storage that has a door to dining room. I would close that door and I would open a door to the living room. I would prefer totake some space of the bathroom in order to create this small wc

  16. Mujji says:

    I like “The entryway stays in the Blue Room”.
    Bathroom door should be open from bedroom, not directly from a living room, dining or kitchen.

  17. gigi says:

    could you make the blue bedroom smaller so that there is a hallway from the living room to the bathroom?

  18. Malia says:

    What if you turn the storage into a water closet, with a toilet+tiny sink, or even a toilet with a sink on top of the tank lid (Japanese style). The entrance could be out of the living room, and if you forwent the sink you might have enough room for a small linen closet in the bathroom (bath+vanity; keep the entrance off the blue room).

    Toilet link: http://eco-buildingproducts.com/product/caroma-profile-smart-305-with-sink/?gclid=CKa8odHD29ACFcaEswodrOcFww

  19. Is that a succulent in one of the hanging basket

  20. […] our new bathroom remodel. It’s the last room in the house to get an update. You may remember this post where you all helped me to figure out the new layout. We decided on the below configuration– […]

  21. Your bathroom design ideas and pictures are very awesome and beautiful!

  22. Joy says:

    I don’t think it weird for the bathroom door to be in the dining room. I once lived in a home where that’s exactly where the second bathroom was, and nobody seemed to mind. I wish you lots of luck on your renovation.

    • Lewis says:

      I have to say, that this feels very unusual to me. I would much prefer my second bathroom to be situated in a hallway or at least away from where I was eating.

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