Transforming a cramped closet into an open and airy master bathroom can seem like a daunting task, but with some strategic planning and design, it is very achievable. Here is an in-depth look at how to convert a closet into a beautiful new master bath.

Assessing the Existing Closet Space

The first step is to carefully evaluate the existing closet. Consider the following:

  • Size – Measure the closet from wall to wall, including depth and height. This will determine the layout options. Often a closet is deeper than expected when cleared out.
  • Lighting – Evaluate the existing lighting. Are there windows that can allow natural light? Is wiring in place for overhead lighting? Proper lighting is key in a bathroom.
  • Plumbing – How close are the existing water lines and drains? Moving plumbing can get expensive so consider proximity.
  • Ventilation – Is there existing ventilation or the ability to add it? Proper moisture control is crucial.
  • Access – Can a door be added or widened to allow easy access into the new bathroom?

Thoroughly assessing the closet space helps you understand what’s feasible when converting it to a bathroom.

Designing the New Bathroom Layout

With measurements in hand, start designing the new bathroom layout. Consider the following elements:

  • Toilet – Determine toilet placement based on plumbing and code required clearances.
  • Sink – Double sinks provide added room but measure depth; wall mount or vanity?
  • Shower – Corner showers maximize space. What size and which direction?
  • Storage – Built-in and under-sink storage helps maximize room.
  • Floorplan – Map out sizes and placement of fixtures. Check for code compliance.

Take time designing on paper first. This allows you to visualize the new space and make adjustments as needed before renovating.

Necessary Construction and Renovations

Converting a closet requires some construction work. Be prepared for:

  • Demolition – All existing closet fixtures and lighting gets removed.
  • Plumbing – New lines will be run for the toilet, sink and shower.
  • Electrical – Additional lighting, ventilation/fans and outlets get added.
  • Walls – Additional framing or moving of walls may be needed.
  • Flooring – The old flooring gets replaced with new water-proof materials.
  • Doorway – The closet door gets removed and new bathroom door added.

Construction can take time. Have a contractor lined up in advance to start work once the design phase is complete.

Selecting Fixtures and Finishes

The fixtures and finishes you choose make a huge impact on the look and feel of the new bathroom. Consider:

  • Tile – Large format tiles can make a small space feel bigger. Select neutral colors.
  • Lighting – Overhead and vanity lighting creates the right ambiance.
  • Hardware – Match faucets, shower fixtures, towel bars, etc. for a cohesive look.
  • Toilet/sink – Comfort height elongated toilets take up more room but provide comfort.
  • Cabinets/shelving – Built-in and glass-front cabinets maximize space while hiding clutter.

Take time selecting materials and finishes you love. Durable and easy-to-clean choices are best for bathrooms. Shop sales to stay on budget.

Moving from Cramped Closet to Spa Bathroom

With careful planning and strategic use of space, that once cramped closet can become an open and inviting master bathroom. Follow these guidelines:

  • Thoroughly assess and measure the existing closet space.
  • Map out bathroom layout options based on measurements.
  • Plan for necessary construction like plumbing and electrical.
  • Select high-quality, durable fixtures and finishes.
  • Work with experienced contractors for a smooth renovation.
  • Get proper permits and ensure work passes final inspections.

Putting time into the design phase makes the conversion go smoother and creates a beautiful new spa-like bathroom you’ll love. With some vision and elbow grease, that cramped closet can become your own oasis.

Frequently Asked Questions about Converting a Closet to a Bathroom

How much does it cost to convert a closet to a bathroom?

Converting a closet to a bathroom can range from $5,000 to $15,000 on average, depending on the scope of work needed. Moving plumbing lines or walls increases costs. Higher end finishes also add cost. Get contractor quotes.

How big does a closet have to be to make a bathroom?

Most bathrooms require at least 30 square feet of space. A closet should have minimum dimensions of at least 5 feet by 5 feet to accommodate fixtures. Deeper closets allow more flexibility.

Can you put a bathroom in a bedroom closet?

Yes, an existing closet in a bedroom can be converted into a bathroom as long as it meets minimum size requirements and has access to plumbing. Permits are required and codes must be followed.

What are the steps to convert a closet to a bathroom?

The main steps are: design layout, get permits/approval, demolition, construct new walls/doorway, plumbing, electrical, install fixtures, finishing touches like flooring/tile. Work with experienced contractors.

Should the toilet go in first when building a bathroom?

Yes, have the contractor rough-in the toilet first since its placement impacts other design elements like the sink and shower. Proper toilet clearance is required by code.

How do you layout a small bathroom?

Optimize space in a small bathroom through choices like a corner shower, narrow vanity, wall-hung toilet, multi-functional furniture, and glass enclosure showers. Also utilize lighting and mirrors to create an illusion of space.


Converting a cramped closet into a well-designed master bathroom takes strategic planning but can greatly improve the functionality of a space. Following a methodical process from initial assessment to final finishes results in a bathroom that both looks beautiful and meets your needs. With the right contractor and design choices, you can create a welcoming retreat in your former closet space. Approach the project patiently, get necessary permits, and be creative in your use of space. Soon you’ll have a new spa-like master bath where you can relax and unwind.