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by Carl Hagstrom A bathroom doesn't have to be big to be funtional. But as the bathroom gets smaller, the fixture clearances become more critical, and a compact bath can quickly turn into a crowded bath. When fixture space is at a premium, it's important to keep a close eye on proper clearances. Critical Clearances There are essentially two types of clearances that need to be considered when laying out a basic bath plan: fixture clearances and user clearances. Fixture clearances are the easiest to define — you have to make sure that there is enough space available to install the fixture. User clearances are the areas needed to access and use the fixture, and these are open to interpretation.