A Bathroom Design Necessity: 5 Steps to Choosing the Right Toilet

Bathroom remodeling projects incorporate a wide range of design elements as well as practical and stylish accessories.  With so many options to include in your new bathroom, it can be difficult to know which things to include or leave out.  Should you opt for an extra-large shower, a freestanding tub, or both?  Will you include a unique tile design, a double vanity with specialized storage accessories, or a recessed medicine cabinet?  There are so many decisions to make in a bathroom renovation, and which you include will depend in large part on your personal tastes and budget.  There is, however, one item that cannot be left out of any bathroom design: the toilet!

Here are the five things to consider when selecting a toilet:


Depending on the style of your bathroom and personal preferences, there are several options for where you can locate your toilet.  You may incorporate it in the main part of the bathroom like the design pictured below left, in a toilet room separate by a door, or perhaps behind a dividing wall like the one shown below right. 

Space Requirements

Planning requirements for a bathroom renovation will in part dictate the location of your toilet, depending on the shape and size of your room.  Toilets, like other fixtures in a bathroom, must be located a minimum distance from the wall and other surrounding obstacles.  For example the minimum clearance at the front of the toilet is 24” and from the center of the toilet to an obstruction on either side is 15”.  The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends where possible at least 36” of space at the front of the toilet for greater comfort.  Consider other elements in the surrounding area like the swing of a door from the shower or entryway, or opening vanity doors and drawers.  Your bathroom design professional can advise you on these and other space requirements.

Style and Shape

While toilets are a necessary, functional part of any bathroom, not all toilets are the same.  They are available in a number of different styles including one-piece, two-piece, tankless, and wall-mounted.  Two-piece toilets are the more traditional design with a separate tank and bowl, while one-piece have an integrated tank and bowl, which can save on space and be easier to maintain.  The tankless style conceals the tank behind the drywall and wall-mounted toilets do not touch the floor.  Both styles provide a sleek appearance and make it easier to clean around the toilet area.  Tankless toilets have particular installation requirements, so talk to your design professional to be sure it suits your space.  Toilet bowl shapes differ too, including rounded, elongated, or compact elongated.  Rounded take up less space, but elongated are generally more comfortable for adults.


Standard height toilets are 15” high, while comfort height are approximately 2” higher at 17-19” high.  While there has been a growing trend toward comfort height toilets, the right toilet for your bathroom depends on your individual household.  Many comfort height toilets are ADA-compliant and are better for taller people or those with mobility issues, as it is easier to sit down and stand up.  Standard height toilets are the more traditional option and are better suited to homes with children.

Flushing Options

The average toilet is flushed about 2,000 times per year, but the type of toilet you choose greatly influences how much water is used.  The flushing mechanism and the age of the toilet determines how the toilet flushes, and modern toilets are generally designed to use less water.  Today’s standard toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush, and the higher efficiency models only use 1.28 gallons.  A more efficient, water-saving toilet is not just good for the environment, it can also help the household budget by reducing water usage.

Contact us to find out more about how to select the best toilet for your new bathroom, or get more bathroom remodeling ideas in our design gallery here.