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Before you remodel a bathroom, take time to plan where the toilet and sink cabinets will go using graph paper. It is time consuming, but it is a tried and true method that guarantees success.

Since a toilet is standard in size, and requires a certain amount of space, start by measuring for the toilet first. Positioning it is fairly simple. The toilet’s position is dictated by the position of the drain. Plan where the sink and tub will go afterwards.

Step 1

Measure the length and width of the bathroom from wall to wall. Draw the space on a piece of graph paper with a pencil and ruler using a ratio of one graph paper square equals six inches.

Step 2

Toilet drains are typically 12 inches from the back wall, standard to fit the position of your toilet outlet. To be sure, measure the distance from the drain hole opening to the side walls and back wall, and using these measurements draw the drain location on the graph paper. For instance, if the drain is 24 inches from the side wall and 12 inches from the back wall, draw the opening 4 squares from the side wall and a square and a 2 from the back wall.

Step 3

Shade in an area that leaves at least 16 inches (a square and a quarter) of space on both sides of the center of the drain. This provides a minimum amount of space for users to sit on the toilet. Increase this distance as your space allows after you fit your vanity into the bathroom.

Step 4

Measure for the sink next. Measure the distance of the hot and cold water pipes to the side walls, locate and draw the pipes on the graph paper.

Step 5

Fit the vanity sink and tub into your drawing, using the squares to help you calculate their size. Take final measurements with a tape measure.

Step 6

Choose a vanity and sink combination sized to fit in the space available and centered in front of these pipes. Make sure the sink does not interfere with the shaded area for the toilet. Adjust the width of the vanity as necessary. Consider the total width of the pedestal sinks (not bowl size) if you plan on installing a pedestal sink, and consider the overall length and width of vanity tops, not just the cabinet dimensions, when fitting your vanity into the space.


  • Leave a space that is about 3 feet by 5 feet in front of your bath tub for toweling off. Position vanities across from tubs to allow more space in front of them.