The National Kitchen & Bath Association's (NKBA's) Bathroom Planning Guidelines provide practical dimensional requirements for every fixture used in the bathroom, along with the floor space required around fixtures and vanities. Of the 41 guidelines, it's difficult to implement even half of them in practice, however, for one simple reason: There's rarely enough space available. Still, the guidelines serve as a useful point of reference -- it's handy to know what the generally accepted planning standards are before departing from them. And all of the guidelines consider safety first, a standard I would never depart from.

Despite the obstacles, our typical client would like us to remodel a standard, 5x9-foot bathroom to include a double vanity and a whirlpool tub. We can't work miracles, but I'll offer some practical ideas on how to accomplish the impossible.

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