Bathrooms & Toilets

How Much Space Do You Need for a Toilet? Things to Know!

Written by

Rosanne Jones

Writer, Designer


Steven D. Carrico


how much space do you need for a toilet

The bathroom is one of the primary parts of the house, yet the problem is that not all people take its construction seriously when building or renovating a home.

People often get excited about decorating a bathroom, but what’s more important is to mind its layout first.

The question is, how much space do you need for a toilet to prevent turning your bathroom into a discomfort? It’s required that your toilet should be 15 inches or more away from any walls and 21 inches away from any fixtures.

Continue reading to learn about toilet space requirements and more things to consider.

How Much Space Do You Need for a Toilet?


When achieving your dream comfort area, you must also consider how big or small you want it to be. A presentable toilet need not be big, but designers often recommend people follow certain parameters to create a comfortable user experience.

  • The standard floor space needed for a toilet compartment is 60 inches in length and 30 in width. You should leave this floor space for the toilet to be positioned safely in the bathroom.
  • The space between toilet and vanity should be at least 21 inches.
  • The toilet wall clearance is stated to be 15 inches or more.

Here are the parts that you are likely to add to your bathroom and their respective preferred measurements:

Parts Preferred Measurements
Front of the Toilet 21 – 30 inches
Side of the Toilet 18 inches
Back Side of the Toilet (depends on toilet rough-in) 12 inches
Sink 20 inches from the back wall
Double Basin 36 – 40 inches away from each other
Toilet Compartment 60 inches

Minimum Spacing for Toilet


Seriously taking the bathroom’s layout does not mean you have to provide ample space for it. You may follow this list of the minimum space around a toilet:

Parts Minimum Space
Front of the Toilet 21 inches
Side of the Toilet 15 inches
Back Side of the Toilet (depends on toilet rough-in) 10 inches
Sink 15 inches from the back wall

NKBA, ADA Recommendation

Aside from the minimum space that we have provided for you, here are also some recommendations of different organizations that you might need:

1. NKBA recommendation


The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) provided a bathroom guideline to consider when you have more space to work on.

Their recommendation is as follows:

Toilet Parts Measurement
Front of toilet 30 inches
Toilet Flange to the Side Wall or Fixtures 18 inches
Between Centerlines of Fixtures 36 inches

Most designers commonly follow these guidelines to allow a more comfortable and safe bathroom at home. It also helps enable good bath design practices and ensure compliance with building codes like plumbing codes.

2. ADA recommendation


Constructors often base public utilities on laws and guidelines for the people’s greater good.

Hence, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) suggested the dimensions for toilets and sinks for the convenience of people with disability (PWD).

Although the public restrooms commonly follow this, everybody can also follow the clearance required for the toilet, especially households that include member/s with disability.

Here is the recommendation for the sink measurements:

Sink Parts Measurement
Knee Clearance 27 inches
Width 30 inches
Depth 11-25 inches
Height 34 inches

Meanwhile, here is the recommendation for the toilet measurements:

Toilet Parts Measurement
Side Walls of the Cubicle 16 to 18 inches from the centerline of the toilet
Space for wheelchairs from the Sidewall 30 inches
Space for wheelchairs from the Rear Wall 28 inches
Toilet Bowl Height 17 to 19 inches
Grab bars on the rear wall 36 inches long & 33-36 inches above the floor
Grab bars on the sidewall 42 inches long & 33-36 inches above the floor

Toilet Center Line


Standard toilet measurement often calls for using the term toilet center line. It is an imaginary line down the center of the bowl where spacing guidelines for the toilet start to measure from.

This is commonly used when measuring the distance between the sides of the toilet.

Remember that you should not use the toilet centerline to measure the front space needed for a toilet. Otherwise, you’ll have a shorter distance. Hence, if you need to measure your front area, start from the tip of the bowl.

Types of Bowls


Generally, there are two common types of bowls – the round and the elongated seat. This is the shape of the bowl from the seat bolt holes to the toilet tip.

  • In terms of dimension, the round front bowl is approximately 16.5 inches.
  • In comparison, the elongated bowl is slightly longer with a size of 18.5 inches.

People consider an elongated bowl to be more comfortable due to its size. It allows more space, making it a less messy choice for men’s use.

ADA also recommends this type of bowl since longer and wider bowls are easier for PWD, unlike those with the minimum width for toilet bowls.

If you are trying to use the minimum space for a toilet due to its smaller size, the toilet bowl for you is a round bowl. Its size also makes it easier for children’s use since they can easily reach its tiny surface.

When it comes to toilet styles, the common ones are two-piece toilets, one-piece toilets, back-to-wall toilets, wall-hung toilets, and high/low-level toilet units.

Distance Between Toilet and Wall


In measuring how far a toilet should be from the wall and fixtures, you must first consider whether the walls and fixtures are on the side, back, or front of the toilet bowl. Here are the guides for measuring:

1. Distance from side walls or fixtures.

The measurement between the toilet flange and your side walls or fixtures should be at least 15 inches each for the left and right walls.

This space between the toilet and vanity or walls will guarantee enough room for your normal-sized toilet bowl while sitting on it.

You must also consider the size of the toilet you are going to purchase. If it is bigger than the standard size, consider allocating a wider distance between the sidewalls and the toilet flange.

2. Distance from front wall or fixtures.

The space in front of the toilet depends on the plumbing code of your location.

If you follow the International Plumbing Code (IPC), the toilet front clearance shall be at least 21 inches (533mm).

Meanwhile, if you follow the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), the front space shall be at least 24 inches (610mm).

3. Distance from the back wall

The minimum spacing for a toilet flange distance from the back wall is 12 inches, but you must consider the toilet rough-in before making the measurements.

In measuring the distance from toilet wall clearance, the measurements should be based on the space between your finished wall and the toilet flange – not on your base molding.

If your finished wall is composed of several layers, add the thickness of that layer to the measurement.

For example, if you are using ½-inch drywall on your finished wall, add it to your base measurement. Hence, if you allot 15 inches distance, make it 15 ½ inches instead.

Keep in mind the appropriate measurements of these distances to prevent further problems such as flange leaking, plumbing issues, and uncomfortable toilet usage.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a toilet rough-in?

It is the distance between the finished wall behind your toilet and the center of the drainpipe or the flange.

You shall measure the toilet rough-in from the finished wall, not the baseboard. Otherwise, you shall make adjustments to the measurement.

What is the standard toilet bowl size?

Here is the standard toilet bowl size:

  • The depth of the toilet should be around 27 to 30 inches.
  • The width of the toilet is recommended to be 20 inches.
  • For the height, about 27 to 32 inches is possible.
  • The standard usually suggests a 12-inch rough-in, but they also suggest 10 to 14 inches sometimes.


A presentable and comfortable toilet depends on more than just its visual presentation or design.

Be it a private or public restroom, be sure to follow specific guidelines when it comes to toilet space requirements so everyone, including people with mobility issues, will be able to use it with ease.

Hence, knowing how much space do you need for a toilet will not just leave you a cozy area to use but can also ensure safety and comfort for everyone.

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