How Far Should A Vanity Be From The Toilet?

When you renovate your home or are part of a team-building, a brand-new house, you have to start considering things you may never have understood. When installing a vanity, there are many things that you will have to consider before finally affixing the vanity onto its permanent spot.

The recommended distance that vanity should be from the toilet is at least 18-inches, with the codes around the world allowing for 15-inches at the closest. This is to ensure that the vanity does not create a small space around the toilet that can be uncomfortable when using it.

You need to understand many things about bathroom vanities before you start installing them. Most states have specific codes, with many country codes changing drastically as the total amount of available space decreases, with many allowing vanities to be closer than is comfortable.

Why Do Bathroom Vanities Have To Be A Certain Distance?

The best way to design your home properly is to understand why there are codes to ensure that the bathroom vanities are a certain distance from the toilet. We always recommend that you understand all the reasons behind creating codes that prevent you from building the vanity on top of the toilet.

Many people have mistakenly ignored these codes and recommendations, creating a bathroom that is uncomfortable to use. Many people put the vanity in locations that cause the entire bathroom to be uncomfortable or to feel slightly claustrophobic.

To Help With Flow Of The Bathroom

Many people don’t always realize this when initially designing their bathrooms, which causes their bathrooms to become harder to use. The flow of a bathroom refers to where people naturally move and are capable of doing certain things, like washing their hands then drying them off on a towel.

If the vanity is too close to the toilet, it can cause discomfort while using the toilet and discomfort when using it for other things. When brushing your teeth or just cleaning the bathroom, a vanity that is too close to the toilet can feel uncomfortable or even cause cross-contamination.

Ensuring Everyone Is Comfortable

While you may be comfortable using the toilet when the vanity is nearly on top of the toilet, it can be uncomfortable for many others. Men sit on toilets completely differently than women, and may not sit down on the toilet at all, which means there needs to be space around the toilet to do both.

Your vanity should be located so that people can easily access the toilet without bumping into other parts of the vanity. The biggest challenge that people face often comes from vanities built so close to the toilet that they have to sit in an odd way to do their business.

Preventing Bathroom Vanity Damage

Bathroom vanities are either used to hold items that need to be in the bathroom, or they are used to hold the washbasin. This means that most of the time, the vanity will not have water and other things on it, which means that it is not entirely treated against all the water it may face.

If your toilet floods or something else goes wrong in the bathroom, the vanity may be the only thing that is permanently damaged if it is too close. This is why it is recommended to keep the vanity in a spot where it will not easily be flooded by water or worse when something does go wrong in the bathroom.

Creating A More Open Space

If possible, you want everything in the bathroom against its wall, with the toilet against one, the shower and bath against another, and the vanity on its own as well. This means that the middle of the bathroom is open enough to allow for comfortable movement.

Having the vanity against a wall of its own and away from your toilet will mean that everyone can easily use the bathroom and the toilet without having to squeeze. We recommend keeping this in mind when installing either the toilet or the vanity.

How To Decide How Far A Bathroom Vanity Should Be From A Toilet?

Now that we know why your vanity should not be on top of the toilet, we need to look at how to properly determine the length it should be away from your toilet. Many people only go according to regulations, ending up with a vanity that seems out of place with the rest of the toilet.

We recommend that you consider the following things when designing and installing all the parts of your bathroom. Especially if you are only renovating a place that may have a few things already installed in it, which can cause you to have to make spacing mistakes.

Measure The Total Available Space

Before installing everything, it is best to measure the total amount of space available to work with within your bathroom. If you don’t know how much total space you have available, you may end up buying a vanity that is much too big or even one that is too small for the total space.

We recommend removing everything that has to be removed from your bathroom and then measuring everything again. This will tell you exactly how much space you have, which means you can buy everything to the exact measurements that you need or even have someone make a custom vanity.

Measure How Much Space The Toilet Uses

The toilet is more important in the bathroom than the vanity, with many small-scale bathrooms not having vanities at all. You need to measure the size of your toilet and decide where it will best fit within the bathroom, taking note that once it is installed, it will take more space than you think.

Many people forget that the pipes and other equipment linked to a toilet will naturally make it take up more space. Further, the toilet needs to be a certain amount of space away from the walls on the side and from the back; this means that the toilet, once installed, may be closer to the vanity than you think.

Measure How Large The Vanity Is

If you are buying a vanity that has been prebuilt, we recommend that you get it before installing everything and measuring the size. This will help you know how the vanity will fit in the bathroom and reveal where you may have to cut off some of the parts.

This ensures that you can easily get ready for the vanity when it needs to be installed and that you can customize it to fit in your specific bathroom. We have seen many people buy Ikea vanities then customize them to fit perfectly in the space their specific bathroom provides.

Measure How Much Space Would Be Available Once Installed

The last thing we recommend that you do before finally installing everything is to dry-fit everything and check that everything works together. This is one of the best tricks of the trade and will allow you to make any final fixes or adjustments before it is too late.

Dry fit the toilet, the vanity, the mirrors, or anything else that is being newly installed in the bathroom, allowing you to reposition as necessary. This is often the best way to find any mistakes or learn that some of the parts you have chosen won’t work together in your specific bathroom.

Are There Building Codes For Vanities Being A Certain Distance From A Toilet?

Yes, many building codes worldwide apply to where your vanity can be placed in the bathroom and even some that define what the vanity can be made out of. Understanding the most likely guides and codes for your bathroom will mean that you easily pass inspections.

Most people make the mistake of assuming that there are no codes or regulations for their vanities, especially when they are building a home in remote locations. However, even the remotest and off-the-grid homes adhere to basic building codes, with bathroom vanities included.

The Building Codes In The US

For the US, the standard building code is that the vanity cannot be closer than 15 inches to the toilet, with only certain vanities allowed to touch the bathroom. This ensures that the average person can easily use the toilet without accidentally getting stuck or being uncomfortable.

However, it should be noted that the recommended distance will be 18-inches to give the maximum amount of space for people that may be larger than expected. Generally, a vanity works best when given its own space, especially if you have a larger bathroom; there is no reason to group everything.

Vanity Building Codes In Smaller Countries

When you move to smaller, more densely populated countries, you may be surprised to find codes that completely change where the bathroom vanity may be. Bathroom vanities will often not be allowed in the same room as the toilet itself, instead of keeping it in a different room.

This is often because the total available space in the homes is limited, which means that the toilet and shower need to separate, making it easier to have the vanity with the shower or bath. This is also why you may see some bathroom vanities built into the toilet rather than a separate piece.

Why Are Building Codes Not The Same Everywhere?

When considering where to put the vanity in your bathroom, you need to understand why different countries have different guides and codes to use it. We recommend that you read up and contact local experts before installing the vanity.

Most renovations need to be inspected, and if you are going to sell the house or apartment, you may want to consider just what the bank inspector may do. Often, a sale and hefty fines can be given when the bathroom has not been built according to the right building codes.

Smaller Apartments

The smaller an apartment is, the more likely the toilet will be in its separate room away from the vanity and bath or shower. This is because it is easier to put the vanity in an out-of-the-way spot than fit it into the smaller space that the toilet area has.

We always recommend that you consider this simply because it will save space and open up more space somewhere else. We have seen many people that struggle to fit a vanity into the same room as the toilet when it would be possible to have the vanity in its alcove just outside the toilet/

Different Home Types

When you are building a luxury apartment with a lot of space, you can easily fit the vanity into the same room as the toilet. You can also have trouble fitting in vanity when you have a full house with solid piping already inside the walls, preventing you from building in new ways.

The type of home you are working with will determine how the vanity will be used and if it will be possible to put a full vanity in the house. We have seen many people that have tried to fit everything into a space that would not work well with so many things in it all at once.

Different Types Of Vanities

There are several different vanities on the market, and each one will mean that you can fit them in different places. Many people think of vanity as something with a washbasin on the top with a door that opens; these are just the most basic vanities that you can find for your bathroom.

When choosing vanities, it is important to remember there are special ones meant for smaller bathrooms, some with no washbasins, or even some that are completely open. Custom-made vanities can often be made to fit in exactly with the look of the entire house that you have created.


It is always best practice to have the vanity at least 15-inches away from the toilet, with the best possible spot for the vanity at least 18-inches away. Many bathrooms will specifically have two vanities, one for towels and one that holds the cleaning equipment and other toiletries that may be needed.

Remember to ensure there is enough space for anyone to use the toilet properly.


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