If you’re studying to be a real estate agent, or building a new house, you’ve probably come across some confusing terminology like the ‘half bath’. (And yes, it’s a bathroom, but not quite a full bathroom.)
Now, because the number of bedrooms and bathrooms are usually the most important aspect of a house—besides its square footage—it’s a good idea to brush up on your real estate knowledge before continuing your search.
Ready to get started? Here’s all you need to know about full baths, half baths, and other types of bathrooms in a house.
Types of Bathrooms in a Home
The first type of bathroom, the full bath, is the one you’re probably most familiar with. As the grandest of the four main types, it can usually be found in the master bedroom in most homes.
Typically, a bathroom must have the following four components to be considered a full bath:
- Sink (with a single vanity or a double vanity)
For all of these key fixtures to fit, a full bath must be at least 40 square feet, especially since the tub takes up quite a lot of space.
However, a luxurious full bathroom could easily go up to three or four times the standard size if it contains extra amenities too!
Unlike a full bathroom, a three-quarter bathroom only has three of the four key features. With that said, a three-quarter bathroom will only contain:
- Shower OR bathtub
Small bathrooms will typically have a shower stall instead of a tub to save space, but older houses—large ones, at least—usually have enough space for a full-sized bathtub.
It’s not difficult to convert a three-quarter bath into a full bathroom if you only lack a shower stall. After all, you just need a small section of space, a new showerhead, and a shower curtain to set it up!
However, it’s trickier to put in a new bathtub because you may need to adjust the plumbing and/or push back the walls to create additional space.
Without the right size, you definitely can’t set up a full bath!
If a three-quarter bath only has three out of the four main fixtures, then a half bath only has…you guessed it, TWO! Usually, a half bathroom (also referred to as a powder room) contains:
Other versions of a half bath might have a shower and a toilet or a shower and a sink, but these are less common types, especially if you’re working with a rather small room.
Where Should You Install It?
It’s nice to have a half bath located on the ground floor/main level of your house for your guests’ convenience (and for your own privacy as well!)
This way, they won’t have to go all the way up to the second or third floor to do their business.
Installing a half bath instead of a full bath (or even a three-quarter bath) on the main floor also makes more sense, especially if no one will be using the shower/tub anyway.
This will not only save you a significant amount of money but also give you more building space for other rooms!
HOWEVER, just know that if you ever decide to convert a half bath into a large full bathroom in the future, it’ll be VERY HARD to do so.
The smallest type of bathroom is the quarter bath, which only has one of the four key features of a bathroom.
Yup, that’s right—unlike a half bath, which has both a toilet AND a sink, a quarter bathroom usually has just a sink with a mirror for guests to freshen up.
Other types might have just a toilet or just a shower, depending on the location and purpose of the bathroom.
For example, an outdoor quarter bath by the pool might feature a shower so you can quickly rinse off before and after swimming.
All bathrooms generally fall under those four types, but some versions have a more unique layout.
For instance, although a master bathroom is typically a full bath connected to the master suite, it contains a lot of extra fixtures beyond the original four staples.
Some cool features you can find here are double vanities, sauna/steam showers, a walk-in closet, and a jacuzzi tub.
In some smaller houses, an adjoining bathroom could connect two rooms as well so all members of the family can access it easily through their own door!
What You Need to Know About Half Baths
Now that you can differentiate the four main types of bathrooms, let’s talk more about the half bath.
Components of a Powder Room
Like we mentioned earlier, a half bath has two out of the four main components—sink, toilet, shower, and tub.
Any combination of the four will still fall under the definition of a half bath, but a basic powder room will usually just have a toilet and a pedestal sink with a mirror on the wall.
Depending on how much space you have (and on your budget, of course), you can make your half bathroom more visually appealing by adding…
- Wall decor
- Cabinet storage space (for your extra toilet paper roll, soap, etc.)
- Fancy hand towels
- Other amenities
This will definitely make your guests feel more at home!
Purpose and Use
Ultimately, a half bath adds convenience to your home.
Whether it’s primarily for visitors or more for private use, it saves you the effort of having to go up to the second floor whenever you need to use the bathroom.
Now, nothing’s stopping you from installing a full bath complete with double sinks, a walk-in shower, and a grand-looking tub on the main floor (especially if you’ve got the budget for it), but half baths are usually a lot more practical for average-sized homes.
Did you know that around 20 square feet is enough for a new half bath?
That’s right, you can easily create this room even with very limited space! This way, you can allocate more floor area towards other parts of your house you want to emphasize.
Here’s a good tip: If you’re working with a small area, try using the walls’ corner space to put your sink or storage. This will make the bathroom feel a bit roomier!
Also, feel free to experiment with the style and decor to transform the look of your bathrooms.
For example, you can put in a window or a full-length mirror on the wall to create the illusion of more space!
Where should you place a half bath?
On the ground floor, this is usually located in a hallway or under the stairs for subtlety. These spaces are usually underutilized as well, so by putting your bathroom there, you’ll be maximizing the area!
Other popular locations for a half bath are in the garage/basement or up in a dormer/attic. You can even convert an existing closet that isn’t being used into a half bath!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What’s the Cost of Installing a Half Bath?
Building a new half bath from scratch will cost around $10,000 to $30,000, but converting a spare room into a half bath should only set you back around $5,000 to $15,000.
Rates also depend on where you live and the complexity of the work, so it’s best to contact your local contractor for a more accurate quotation.
Does a Half Bath Add Value to My Home?
Yes, it will definitely add value to your home! Now, it’ll only increase by around 10% (compared to a full bath at 20%), but you’ll also spend a LOT less on construction and design.
If you plan to use the property as your permanent residence instead of selling it or renting it out, then a half bath will definitely be a practical and useful addition to your home.
How Do I Maximize the Space in a Half Bath?
A great tip is to utilize corner spaces for storage, cabinets, or sinks.
You can also stick to space-saving solutions like floating shelves, over-the-door mirrors, racks, and cabinets, as well as wall-mounted accessories to help preserve the little floor area that you have!
Are Two Half Baths Equal to One Full Bath?
No, two half baths do not add up to a full bathroom, simply because these are two separate bathrooms! These should be listed separately on property pages as well.
When looking at properties, make sure to take note of the TYPES as well as the number of bathrooms.
A listing with three bathrooms doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be getting three full ones, so always double-check before making an offer.
Ready to see your dream home come to life? Now that you know which types of bathrooms you need, you’re definitely one step closer to that goal!
Just remember to follow all local codes and building regulations before beginning any construction work.
Alternatively, if you prefer to purchase an existing property, you should definitely call up reputable real estate agents to help you out. Good luck house hunting!