Kitchen Next to a Bathroom: Nay or Yay?

Imagine taking a look around a house you’ve been wanting to buy for so long only to find out that the kitchen is right next to the bathroom. 

Are you going to freak out or casually accept the layout?

Whether you find it horrific or practically minimalistic, there is something about this arrangement that screams awkward if not wrong.

Having a kitchen next to a bathroom is generally unpleasant considering food preparation held in the kitchen should be away from the number one potential source of contaminants a.k.a. the bathroom. The very thought of handling food in close proximity to the toilet where wastes are excreted is enough for you to say no to this kind of placement.

However, not all housebuilders are keen to shying away from this arrangement. 

Learn why in the next few lines.

Why Do Small Houses and Apartments Have a Kitchen Next to a Bathroom?

Smaller spaces open the avenue for architects and contractors to be creative and innovative with their design. This includes designing certain areas in such a way that space is maximized for multiple uses.

When it comes to setting up the kitchen, factors such as plumbing, and drainage are greatly considered. Pipe connections are carefully arranged primarily for efficiency. Thereby, keeping the kitchen next to a bathroom is a gateway for convenient piping installation.

This structural advantage has been one of the reasons why despite the uncomfortable feeling this setup brings, you still see some houses adapting to this arrangement.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of having a kitchen next to a bathroom.


  1. Shared Plumbing System

The adjacent location of the kitchen and the bathroom indicates that the drain lines are closer to each other. Typically, they share a wet wall. Thereby, they could easily meet and travel to a central location faster and without the need to cross multiple pipes. This type of system has been around for a long time. Hence, old houses have this type of layout.

  1.  Economical

Homeowners and builders alike save money from the proximity of the kitchen to the bathroom since fewer materials are required. Naturally, as the plumbing system reduced the need for more pipes and tubes, the layout is cheaper.


  1.  Unsanitary

Depending on how near the kitchen is to the toilet of the bathroom, this placement could potentially increase the risk of contamination.

Bacteria such as Vibrio cholerae and Salmonella typhi cause food-related illnesses like cholera and typhoid fever, respectively. These disease-causing microbes are transmitted through infected food or water originating from fecal matter.

To be fair, these infections commonly occur subjectively. It all boils down to how hygienic the food preparer is.

Still, the mere fact that the kitchen and bathroom drainage are close to one another, opens the likelihood of contamination, small as it may be. 

In the same way, the atmosphere in the bathroom can be filled with microbes and particles from the toilet.

  1.  Limited Privacy for Your Guests

There are several scenarios wherein a kitchen next to a bathroom can open a can of worms.

Picture out having a party where most parts of your house, including the kitchen, are used for socialization. Guests who wish to use the toilet may subject themselves to limited privacy as others could easily hear the flushing of the toilet and more. 

Another case is when you’re in the middle of preparing a meal and one of your friends heard nature’s call. There is nothing enjoyable with cooking food knowing that someone’s using the toilet next door. The feeling’s mutual if you think of the other way around.

The placement of a kitchen next to a bathroom could negate basic house etiquette. And unless you are extremely close to your friends, it can give birth to humiliating moments your guests have to suffer.

  1.  Unwanted Smell

Sure, a lot of bathrooms nowadays are well-equipped with ventilation that releases nasty smells. However, if ventilation fails, having your kitchen next to the bathroom makes it vulnerable to unhygienic odors.

This unwanted smell could not only cause uneasiness but could infect your pantry and/or food preparation area. It could spoil your appetite for a long time and induce repulsion to your kitchen.

When Is It Okay to Have a Kitchen Next to a Bathroom?

If your kitchen stretches wide enough to separate food-related materials and activities from the toilet, then it’s probably fine to place the kitchen and bathroom next to each other.

As you may already know by now, the two main reasons why this placement is discouraged are its unsanitary setup and compromising privacy.

But if these issues are properly addressed while maintaining the arrangement, then there’s nothing to worry about.

How Far Should a Toilet Be From a Kitchen?

While there is no particular rule regulating the exact distance of a kitchen from the toilet, but there are several recommendations when it comes to their placement.

The 2019 International Plumbing Code states that toilet rooms should not open directly to where food is prepared.

When it comes to the placement of the toilet, it is required by the building code to have its center at least 15 inches away from the walls. It should also have a distance of 30 inches from the sink. Likewise, the front of the commode should have 24 inches of space at a bare minimum.

The dimensions of the bathroom are also determined by its purpose. Here are the different types of bathrooms found in houses and apartments.

  1. Full Bathroom

A full bathroom is equipped with a toilet, sink, shower, and bathtub. The last two components could either be combined or separated. This type caters to all the washing and cleaning needs of the household. Thereby, there is at least one full bathroom in most houses and apartments.

  1. Three-Quarter Bathroom

A three-quarter bathroom contains a toilet, sink, and either a shower or a bathtub. Some houses are remodeled to have only a shower. Thereby, bathtubs can completely be eliminated from the design.

  1. Half-Bathroom

A half-bathroom is also called a guest bathroom or a powder room. It only has a toilet and a sink. Compared to its other two counterparts, half bathrooms tend to be smaller since they are only used for a short period.

  1. Quarter Bathroom

A quarter bathroom has either a toilet or a shower. It is commonly found on lower levels of the house or near the outside area. It is intended for household members outdoors who wish to use a bathroom without coming through the house.

Toilets near kitchens are typically part of the half-bathroom. But, with the emergence of minimalist designs, full and three-quarter bathrooms next to the kitchen became a trend, especially among smaller apartments.  

What to Do if Your Kitchen Is Next to a Bathroom?

If you are renting or still dollars away from renovating your bathroom placement, don’t fret. There are still other ways you can intensify the boundaries between your kitchen and the toilet.

  1. Secure that the bathroom door is always closed.
  2. Regularly clean the bathroom and the kitchen.
  3. Place partitions like a bamboo divider.
  4. Camouflage the bathroom doors by experimenting with colors and designs.  
  5. Check the ventilation from time to time.


Placing a kitchen next to a bathroom may be convenient and cost-effective but it could also pose health issues and limited discretion. 

If you’re planning to remodel your house or purchase a new one, think hard of the implications of its layout. 

Likewise, consider how guest-friendly your bathroom placement is. You may have gained a new home but lose a few friends if you’re not meticulous with how your house is designed. 

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