A Bathroom is primarily used for washing hands and face, grooming, elimination at the WC, bathing and storage of bathroom supplies. It is also used for other activities sometimes, such as infant care, hand laundering, dressing etc. So the typical fixtures and accessories in a Bathroom include the 4 basic fixtures namely: wash basin, toilet, shower stall and bathtub and other fixtures like bidet, dressing cabinet, storage shelves etc.

3 fixtures in a bathroom
A bathroom has three fixtures usually – the Wash Basin, The Toilet (WC), the Shower or a Bathtub

As an Architect, I have explained the different types of bathroom fixtures and their accessories under the following headings, so that you will have a fair idea what is essential in a Bathroom :

Wash Basin in Bathroom
Wash Basin Accessories
Toilet in Bathroom
WC Accessories
Shower stall in a Bathroom
Shower Accessories
Bathtub in Bathroom
Bath tub Accessories
What are the minimum clearances to be left in a Bathroom?
What is the best location of a Bathroom?


In plumbing, a Sink or Wash basin is a bowl-shaped fixture that is used for washing hands or small objects. Sinks are made of many different materials such as Stainless steel, Enamel over steel or cast iron, Ceramic, Plastic, Concrete, Terrazzo, Stone, Copper or Glass. The Wash basin is fixed such that the top of the basin is at a height of 2’9″ from the floor. 
Wash basin or Lavatory in a Bathroom



The typical accessories found with the wash basin are:

  • Faucet (Tap) – Wash Basins generally have taps (faucets) that supply hot and cold water and may include a spray feature to be used for faster rinsing. The faucets are generally fixed on the basin. Sometimes they are fixed on the wall, just above the basin.
  • MirrorThe mirror should be of a minimum height of 1’6″ and should be placed above the Wash Basin such that the top of the mirror is at 6’0″ height from the floor. For children, a mirror immediately above the basin is preferable. The mirror can be a fixed one or can be fixed in front of a medicine cabinet.
  • Shelf –  Optional; can be fixed at a height of 4’0″ from the floor. It can be recessed flush with the wall or jut out 3″.
  • Soap dish Soap dish can be fixed on the wall on one side of the Wash basin at a height of 3’6″ from the floor.
  • Tumbler holder – It can be fixed on the wall on the other side of the Basin at a height of 3’6″ from the floor.
  • Electric receptacle for Electric Razor or Hair dryer- should be located on the right side of the basin at a height of 3’6″ from the floor.
  • Towel ring/ barfor Face towels can be fixed at a height of 4’0″ from the floor. For children’s bathroom it can be placed a little lower.
  • Vanity unitOptional; It can be with a mirrored door of at least 1’6″ height, fixed above the wash basin, instead of a medicine cabinet.



A toilet disposes of human waste by using water to flush it through a drainpipe to another location. There are different types of toilets such as the sitting type called the “western”, the squatting type called the “Squat” , the combination of squatting and sitting called the “Anglo-Indian”.

Toilet or WC in a bathroom



The typical accessories found along with a WC are the following:

  • Health Faucet A health faucet is a hand-held nozzle, that delivers a spray of water to assist in cleansing the user’s anus or genitals after defecation or urination. It is fixed on the wall on the right side of the user, when sitting on the toilet. It is generally fixed at a height of 1’6″ from the floor.
  • Toilet Roll holder – also known as a toilet paper dispenser is an item that holds a roll of toilet paper.It can be fixed on the wall on the left side of the user when sitting on the Toilet, since in most cultures, only the left hand is used for cleaning the private parts. It should be reachable while sitting.



A shower (also called shower bath) is a booth for washing, having an overhead shower nozzle that sprays water down on the body. The standard sizes are 2’8″ x 4’0″, 3’0″ x 3’0″, 3’0″ x 5’0″ etc. 

Shower stall in a bathroom



The standard fittings found in a Shower Cubicle are :

  • Shower head – A shower head is a perforated nozzle that distributes the water over a large solid angle. Thus less water can be used to wet the same area compared to a bucket and mug system. Shower heads can be adjusted to spray different patterns of water, and at different angles. The height and type is governed by the client’s preferences, but is usually located at a height of 5’9″ from the floor for adults and a height of 5’0″ from the floor for children.
  • Shower controls Hot, Cold water and mixing controls should be located below the Shower head at a maximum height of 4’6″ from the floor.
  • Soap and Sponge holder – can be located on the side wall or the rear wall, opposite the shower head at a height of around 4’6″ for easy access.
  • Shower curtain rod  – Shower curtains are used in bathtubs with a shower or shower enclosures. They are usually made from vinyl, cloth or plastic. The shower curtain has two main purposes: to provide privacy and to prevent water from flooding or spraying into the bathroom. They are fixed at a minimum height of 6’0″ from the floor.
  • Shower Ventilator – It is desirable to have the ventilator of the bathroom in the shower area, as it can effectively remove the steam.
  • Shower Stall light – It is optional but should be a vapour-proof fixture.
  • Towel Rack – 1’6″ to 2’0″ long for keeping towels. This can be placed on the rear wall of the shower cubicle at a height of 5’0″ from the floor, if it is fairly far from the shower head. Otherwise, it can be placed just outside the shower cubicle.
  • Towel Bars – of lengths 1’6″, 2’0″, 2’6″, 3’0″ or 3’6″. This can be fixed on the rear wall of the shower cubicle at a minimum height of 4’0″ from the floor. Optionally, a glass shower enclosure with glass door can be used in place of a curtain. Various types are available in the market.



Bathtub is a plumbing fixture used for bathing. Most modern bathtubs are made of acrylic or fiberglass, but alternatives are available in enamel over steel or cast iron, and occasionally wood. The standard sizes are 5’0″ x 2’8″, 5’6″ x 2’8″, 6’0″ x 3’0″. This may be in combination with a shower. 

Bathtub in a bathroom



The standard fittings that are found along with a bathtub are:

  • Shower Head  – at a height of 5’9″ from the floor for adults and 5′ 0″ for children.
  • Shower Controls – at a standard height of 4’6″ but this is optional and can be located lower, according to the Client’s preferences.
  • Bath Spout  – just above the bathtub, with bath valves just above the bath spout.
  • Soap and Sponge Holder – recessed into the wall, at the side of the bathtub at a maximum height of 3′ 0″ from the floor.
  • Vertical grab bars – of length 9″, 12″, 15″, 18″ or 24″. They are optional but recommended. They are fitted to the side wall adjacent to the bathtub at a height of about 3’6″ from the floor.
  • Towel Bar  – fitted on the side wall adjacent to the bathtub at a minimum height of 4’0″. However, do not fix the towel bar next to the bathtub if it has a shower.
  • Curtain Rod Keep within the inside face of the tub at a minimum height of 6’0″. Alternately, glass shower enclosure can be used outside the tub, to prevent the water from spilling on the floor.



To ensure adequate space for movement and the convenient use of fixtures in the Bathroom, the following minimum clearances must be observed. It should be noted that the fixture dimensions vary a lot and hence the clearances are taken with respect to the centre-axis of the fixtures and the edges of the fixtures.

  • Centre axis of the wash basin and the adjacent wall – 1’8″.
  • Side edge of the wash basin and the centre axis of the toilet 1’4″.
  • Side edge of the wash basin and the edge of the adjacent bathtub – 2″.
  • Front edge of the wash basin and the opposite wall – 3’0″.
  • Front edge of the wash basin and the opposite bathtub – 2’6″.

For a Toilet:

  • Centre axis of the toilet and the adjacent wall – 1’8″.
  • Centre axis of the toilet and the side edge of the Wash basin – 1’4″.
  • Centre axis of the toilet and the side edge of the bathtub – 1’6″.
  • Centre axis of the toilet and the end of the bathtub – 1’4″.
  • Front edge of the toilet and the opposite wall – 2’6″.
  • Front edge of the toilet and the opposite bathtub – 2’0″.
  • Front edge of the toilet and the opposite wash basin – 2’6″.

For information on the best bathroom fixtures/fittings available in India read here:



Ideally each bathroom should be located near a Bedroom. In addition, one should consider the wind directions and the sun position, in order that the sunrays dry up the bathroom quickly and the wind flow allows for fresh air to enter the bathroom and the humid air to leave it. For some tips on this, Visit:

For a concise reference guide for your Bathroom, please refer to the posts on my blog: House Construction in India

For a concise Vastu guide and Vastu evaluation of your Bathroom, refer to the following post. This will help you decide whether you want to make some changes and corrections in your house:

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8 thoughts on “TYPES OF BATHROOM FITTINGS | An Architect Explains

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