When you first encounter the question, “How large is the average size of a bathroom in the USA,” it’s hard not to wonder at the same time, “How many different things can you do in there anyway?” Let’s see, you can use the “facility,” wash your hands, and bathe. This begs two questions: how could teenage daughters spend so much time in there, and what is the average size of a bathroom in the USA?
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Older Homes Count
There is no discernible way to answer the first question in a single lifetime but to answer the second, you have to consider that the size of the average bathroom has increased considerably over the years. In fact, the size of homes has nearly doubled since the 1950s, with bathrooms leading the way. This leaves bathrooms in older homes to dramatically drive down average sizes. The bathrooms in newer homes are significantly larger, which help the average count, but still hurts the averages. And when you consider the trend today to include half-baths, powder rooms, and other facilities, it’s easy to become very confused.
To start the job of determining the average size of a bathroom in the US, you should first understand what a full bathroom entails. The average full bathroom in the US incorporates a shower, bathtub, vanity, and a toilet. Many newer homes combine the shower and bathtub into one, which makes the size of the room nearly identical to a three-quarter bathroom, with a bathtub. This works out to about 40 square feet. A variation of this set up is the Jack and Jill bathroom, also called a “Peek-a-Boo” bathroom, which is much like having an ensuite for two adjoining bedrooms. Privacy is ensured by having locks on the doors of both entrances, or you can also have a little fun by not using locks.
Jack and Jill bathrooms tend to run a little larger than most since there must be clearance for both doors to open on either end. The sinks/vanity in a Jack and Jill bathroom is normally double the size of a regular bathroom. A peek-a-boo bathroom normally has twin facilities on either side of a tub/shower, which is situated in the middle. All of these variations can raise havoc on average sizes, however, but generally, they can add as much as three additional feet onto a bathroom’s size. If you include a double vanity, add in a range of between 75 and 110 square feet.
Remember that little issue we discussed having a small versus a large home? This is where that comes into play to a great extent. Averages can go up or down depending on the overall size of the home. In a new home, this can be between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet. The average of all bathrooms, not including the master bathroom, is 146 square feet.
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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the bathroom, there’s another chink in the porcelain. This comes in the form of what is normally called a master bathroom. A master bathroom differs from a full bathroom in that the former is usually intended to serve a couple versus a single person. A master bathroom is typically the largest in a new home, and range from 115 square feet to 210 square feet, with an average running about 160 square feet.
In most cases, a master bathroom has many of the important amenities of the different types of bathrooms. These include a double vanity, separate shower enclosure, tub, and a toilet. The shower often doubles as a tub in some homes. In most older homes the average size of a bathroom is considerably smaller, with the largest of these reaching 70 to 100 square feet. There are anomalies, of course, with the master bath in some homes being a simple half bath with 20 square feet or a three-quarter bath of about 50 square feet.
Half Baths and Powder Rooms
Half-baths are typically located off of a main living area such as a family or television room and contain only vanity and toilet, making them ideal for daytime guests. This style of bathroom is great for giving a guest a place without forcing them to traipse through the whole house. Also known as a powder room, it is typically the smallest bathroom in a home, averaging about 20 square feet but ranging between 18 and 32 square feet. This space is typically a minimum of 3 feet wide and between 6 and 8 feet long. At a minimum, a half-bath may only be 11 square feet, but this size is usually only found in older homes, where space is at a premium.
A half-bath is normally considered a second bath in most homes. It is also a possibility to be the bath that is located in a basement or other out-of-the-way location. After all, why not have a small half-bath in the basement instead of having to go upstairs? And if you did opt to have a small shower in a half-bath–which would then make it more than just a half-bath–you could lavish it up by installing fancy showerheads.
Emphasizing the idea that a bathroom is what you call it, a small bathroom could be outfitted with a few luxury fixtures to make it seem larger and perhaps even better appointed than it really is. All it takes is rethinking the layout of your bathroom so that you have what you need in it and you still have room to towel off without hitting a doorknob or vanity in the process, which adds bruises and stress, precisely what you were trying to avoid.
Somehow it wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about bathrooms in general, and half baths and powder rooms in particular, without discussing, at least to some extent, the issue of small bathrooms. That’s almost as irreverent as talking about your family without bringing up the subject of your kids. The truth is that small bathroom exist, and they should be discussed in any talk about bathrooms.
If there is one use of bathrooms that practically nobody ever discusses it’s the fact that after a long day nearly everyone likes the idea of unwinding in a hot tub with the rainfall shower washing away your stress. Unfortunately, not everyone has a large, lavish bathroom that is full of luxury fixtures. On the contrary, some of us are simply stuck living with a small bathroom where you bump into the vanity or some other fixture as you undress and step into the shower. Even more fun is the fact that these bathrooms can’t often accommodate more than one adult at a time. The final result is a bathroom that is a daily struggle that besides bruises, causes a lot of stress, especially for the last person in line to use it.
If this is you, don’t throw a temper tantrum and don’t sell the house just yet. Even if you are stuck with a hopelessly small bathroom there are some things you can do to improve your lot. It all begins with planning and rethinking the use of your already existing space. The truth is that many small bathrooms weren’t planned, they just happened. Rethinking your bathroom layout could solve a lot of problems, but it might involve some sacrifice such as tearing out your tub to make room for a shower. TAs stated above, a bathroom is often what you describe it as. As a result, even if you have a small bathroom, you can at least give it some larger bathroom amenities, not to mention the look of a larger bathroom.
A full bathroom is typically a minimum of 36 to 40 square feet. By contrast, a guest bathroom or a master bathroom in a small house is 5′ x 8′. If this happens to be your lot, there are several options for you to choose from. You simply put one fixture–shower, sink, and toilet in each corner, with the door presumed to be in the fourth. This leaves the center area for drying off or dressing. If your bathroom has one wall that is a little longer, you could put a tub in one corner, with a shower in another. This arrangement is a little more cramped, but it’s workable. And if you need just a little more room, try swapping out your swinging door with a slider.
Long and narrow bathrooms always present their own unique challenges, but all is not lost. When you install most standard-sized fixtures in a long, narrow bathroom they seem to stick out too much. You can solve this problem by putting the largest fixtures on either side of the smaller, which is usually the sink or vanity, with the tub/shower and toilet on either side. Need still more room? Take the swinging door out and install a slider.
Space-Saving Three-Quarters Bathrooms
Three-quarter baths are often placed in basement additions, en suites for non-master bedrooms and in smaller homes as a replacement for a full bathroom. It contains a vanity, toilet and either a shower stall or a bathtub, but some builders view any bathroom with a tub as a full bath. A 5-by-7-foot configuration creates 35 square feet of space, enough room for a vanity, shower stall and toilet. With a tub, the required space increases slightly, coming out to 5 by 8 feet, or 40 square feet. The average size is based on the overall square footage of the home and how many bathrooms are present, especially with new construction. Homes under 2,000 square feet typically have only 93 square feet dedicated to all bathrooms, not including the master.
It doesn’t take much reading a description such as that above to find out that to a great extent, bathrooms can be practically anything you want them to be. The choices of what to put in a bathroom are practically unlimited. All it takes is a short stroll down any bathroom accessories section of Lowe’s or Home Depot to find that out.