Basement Bathroom Ideas and Design + 3 things I would do differently.

I think I had about 40 basement bathroom ideas floating around in my head prior to actually starting to finish the bathroom.  Your basement bathroom is really a project within a project. You’ll be working on finishing your basement, framing, electrical, and so on,  then one day you’ll start on your bathroom and you won’t come out for like a month and half.

In this post we’ll explore the 5 key elements of your basement bathroom design. Plus, I will tell you the 3 things I would change if I could build my basement bathroom all over again.

basement bathroom ideas floor plan and designs with wiring and tub, sink, toilet

Here my basement bathroom floor plan design. I switched out the pedestal sink with a vanity. The dual side lighting near the sink is great idea. The closet on the lower left ended up being a great idea , we store extra paper towels, toilet paper, (aka stuff from Costco).

Did you know that most wolves mate for life?  Well, that’s going to be you and your basement bathroom. Forever intertwined.  Your mission is to make it out of there alive and with a 99% completed bathroom.  To do that you need to consider these 5 design elements ahead of time.

5 Basement Bathroom Ideas and Design Options

Do you want just a half bathroom (toilet and sink only) or do you want a shower and or tub?  How big can your bathroom be?  Can you fit a closet for towels, linens and things like that. Can you have a full vanity and sink or do you need to save space with a pedestal sink?

  1. Vanity or pedestal sink?
  2. Full bath (with shower/tub) or Half Bath (toilet and sink only)
  3. Tiled shower wall or pre-fab shower enclosure
  4. Flooring – tile, vinyl, engineered wood, concrete?
  5. Lighting – Recessed, dual mirror lighting, bathroom chandelier (that’s what I want!)

My basement design was for a full bathroom. A sink with a vanity (not a pedestal), regular size toilet, a tub and a shower.  I had enough room so I built a closet with a  door inside the bathroom.

If you have the space, a separate room for the toilet is a nice touch. Otherwise, make sure you check your code for how far from the shower your toilet needs to be (usually 9 to 14 inches).

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Working Around the Bathroom Rough-In

My basement bathroom rough in.

My basement bathroom rough in.

The biggest stumbling block for me was getting the spacing just right while trying to work around the location of the toilet drain which was already roughed in.

When I say “rough-in” I’m talking about the pipe that get’s installed before they pour the concrete floor. In my case the builder had already included this.

The problem was that builder had the bathroom situated a different way. My layout just wouldn’t work, no matter how many scenarios I tested on paper.

In the end I designed what I wanted and had to move the rough-in about 9 inches. You don’t have to dig up the entire line, just enough to add a bend in it and point it to where you want it.

TIP:  Did you know that the drain is basically gravity feed?  I guess I didn’t really realize this at first. Basically this means if you pour a gallon of water down there it’s basically the same as flushing the toilet. Just a thought…

Select a Bathroom Wet Wall

Typically, but not required, you put all of your plumbing within one wall. This is often called the wet wall. The sink, toilet and shower plumbing all exist in this one wall.  This makes it easier to locate all the piping etc.  Consider this in your design. Which wall is your wet wall?

Why I Chose What I Chose

Even though my house already has quite a few full bathrooms, I really wanted a full basement bathroom (with shower and tub).  Here was my reasoning:

  • With the tub we could wash dogs, pets, etc.
  • If relatives with kids were visiting and sleeping in the basement, they would have a tub or shower to use.
  • I have a vision of a huge Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday with various extended family camping out in the basement and really needing and enjoying a nice full bath.
  • It’s good for resale and the additional cost from half-bath to full is not significant.
  • I really wanted to learn how to tile a shower wall (this was my chance to practice)
basement bathroom - finishing your basement

One of the best basement bathroom ideas is to have lighting on each side of the mirror. Here is my basement bathroom sink area.

What Would I Do Different

Not too much. I would still tile the floor and shower. If my budget or timeline was super tight I guess I would do vinyl flooring instead of tile and a preformed shower wall instead of tile.

  • I would add more lighting.  Probably one more recessed light.
  • I would install and paint the wainscoting before I installed the toilet and vanity. It was much harder afterward.
  • I would install a utility sink on the other side of the bathroom wet wall.  I can still add this of course, but if I had pre-planned it that would have been money! I need a spot to clean off paint brushes and muddy shoes.

The bathroom closet was something that looking back I’m really glad I did. We use it to store extra paper towel rolls, napkins, toilet paper, plastic silverware, solo cups – all the bulk stuff that you buy at Costco or Sams Club.

When our kids were younger it was choke-full of diaper and wet wipes. It’s like having my own mini Costco in my basement bathroom.

The best part is that I now know that when I’m ready I can absolutely revamp our master bathroom. New tile shower and flooring, fancy vanity, cool tub surround, you name it, I’m confident I could do it and do it well.

Plus, if we ever move, I would totally look at any new house in a different light.  Even if I didn’t do all of the work, at least I now know what it takes to do a renovation. That alone is worth the effort.

basement finishing jason 205

What are your basement bathroom ideas?

Have you ever renovated or built a bathroom before?  Are you about to start? Tell us about it in the comment below.

Cheers –

Jason

 

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Questions and Comments

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment.

    • says

      Art – I’m assuming you meant “powder” room? If you actually did mean “power” room that’s freaking awesome and I’d like to know what kind of kick-ass features a power room might have. Sink and toilet is all you really need for a basement bathroom. You can save yourself close to $600 by skipping the shower. – Jason

  1. Reggie says

    I just bought a house and need to finish the basement with a bedroom and full bathroom. I noticed there is a 4 inch rough-in drain in the concrete. Can this be used for all the drains meaning shower, toilet and sink? I have experience with renovating but have never done a basement bathroom. Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Reggie – If its a four inch hole then my guess is that’s where the toilet is intended to go. If you don’t see any other roughed in holes nearby then they’ve only done the rough in for a toilet, which is weird, it’s usually a sink and toilet or sink, toilet and shower for a basement rough-in.

      To try and answer your question… yes, you can tap into that drain for the basement shower and for the sink if necessary. They all exit the house on the same central drain pipe. If the shower drain isn’t roughed in though, you will have to break up some concrete to get to it and then tap into the line. Good luck! – Jason

  2. Tifani Holloway says

    is Hey! Thanks for your article. It gave me something to think about.
    My parents have owned their home for 37 years and have survived
    With only one bathroom. Tons of kids, grandkids, and renters. Now
    They are considering selling. Everyone asks where is the second bathroom.
    Time to make some good changes. I have two brothers that both own
    Construction companies with differences of opinion nothing has gotten
    Done. So my mom, dad, and my husband are creating and implementing
    Our own designs. So with what little I know, your article has given me
    Ideas. Now it’s a matter of dividing the to do list into phases, because
    Budget is also limited. The reality is project is not an episode of 72 hour construction.
    Thank you,
    Tifani

  3. Elizabeth says

    Thanks for this article. We are having a house built, and someone dropped the ball w/ our utility sink for the laundry room (no room for it). They are offering to put the wall hung sink in the “will be bathroom” in our basement. I’m not sure how that is going to look w/ a pedestal sink as well. There is rough in plumbing, but no ejector pump, so it won’t work until we add that. Long story short, wondering what you mean by wanting to add your utility sink on other side of wet wall?

    Thanks!

    • says

      Liz – Is it okay if I call you Liz? Hope so, cause I just started, besides we’re friends now so I’m sure it’s cool with you. Is your laundry room on second floor or first? How far along are they in the build? My point is, they should still be able to add it. Tell them to pick up the ball and get it right! Ejector pump systems are expensive, so keep that in mind, there’s a lot to installing those.

      What I meant by “on the other side of the wet wall” is: I know have a finished bathroom in the basement which has all of it’s plumbing and venting along one wall (the wet wall). On the other side of that wall is my unfinished storage space. I was planning to add a utility sink there because I can easily tap into the plumbing and drainage that was already done when I finished the bathroom. It’s a little tricky to describe, if I get a minute I’ll make a video and post it. Good luck with your new home! – Jason

      • Elizabeth says

        Hi Jason,
        Thank you for the reply! Laundry area is on the second floor of the home, and we are less than a month to settlement, so they can’t make the area bigger for us. (it is a small room w/ doors, washer and dryer, but no room for anything else). Really stinks.
        I understand what you mean now about placing it behind the wet wall, and am going to check out what is behind ours. It may just be the extra storage area, but I’m not sure. We won’t be getting the pump until we are ready to pay to have the powder room done (we have the rest of the basement finished, so won’t wait too long I am sure to do this), but if placing it on the other side of the wall is an option, that might work so at least it is there…then the question I guess is, can it share a drain w/ something in the powder room. If none of this works, I guess we will just be utility tub-less!

  4. Natty B says

    Hey Jason,

    Thanks for all the info. So I just bought a house n my mom is gonna come live with me. I have about 950 sqft in basement. It’s already semi-divided, bathroom has rough in. I want to put 2 br, bath, lr, kitchenette and w/d. I’m in ATL by the way. I’ve had some quotes, all from 26k and up. Expensive!!! Where do I start?? I know definitely I will need electrician, hvac, and plumbing professionally done. Anything else I can tackle, I think. Well, I need framing too. But I don’t have 20+ k.. Any ideas???

    • says

      Well Natty, this IS the place to start. This site is about doing one or all of those phases yourself, in order to save money and to learn something new. To take control of your own destiny, if you will. I would start with framing off one of the rooms, yourself! If you hire all professionals to finish your basement you WILL have to pay upwards of 20 to 30 thousand dollars, that’s just what it costs.

      You’ll have to decide, do I wait and save up more money, not have a finished basement or just go ahead and learn something. I think you can do it.

      The fact that you’re even on this website tells me something about the type of person you are. What’s keeping you from starting??? Nothing. It’s all right here. Just believe in yourself and take the first step. My book is a good place to start, so are all of free articles on this site.

      Good luck! – Jason

  5. Linda says

    Hi Jason,

    I’m getting ready to convert a basement powder room to a 3/4 bath. My idea is to put in a raised floor so that the plumbing for the toilet and the shower can be joined and both use the toilet rough-in. Is that feasible? The basement ceilings are 9′ high. Really appreciate any words of wisdom you can provide. FYA…we live in a 160 post and beam barn which we moved and rebuilt on a new concrete foundation.

    Cheers,
    Linda

    • Linda says

      Sorry…that’s a 160 “year old” barn. Also, cannot dig into the concrete due to hot water heating pipes in the concrete. (Pipes were a waste of money–they only heat the first 10′ from the furnace and the basement is 85′ long.)

    • says

      I’m super jealous, I love old barns, especially ones you can live in. Ok, so the plumbing / raised floor idea is technically feasible. BUT, you’ll need to check with your local building department to see if they allow it. Certain areas are kind of touchy when it comes to drainage. Good luck! – Jason

  6. Eric Eisenberg says

    Jason,

    Love the site and book, I am at the step of framing the bathroom. What are the dimensions of yours? Really cannot decide what size to make it. Any advice?

    Thanks

    Eric

    • says

      Hey Eric – Thanks man, glad the book has been helpful. My basement bathroom is 8 x 10. I have a full shower and a closet in that space, I think it turned out perfect. If you download my basement design (on the members page) you can see the exact layout that I used and the electrical plan. Good luck!

      Jason

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