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Single Vs. Double Sinks In Guest Bathroom | Which Is Better?

A guest bathroom is a helpful addition to any home. Visitors have a dedicated area to use for their ablutions without intruding on the lives of the homeowners and their families. This privacy is also more desirable to the guests!

The design and décor of the guest bathroom should complement the décor of your home while being practical and functional. The need should determine the choice of bathroom fixtures. A single or double sink and vanity installation in the guest bathroom largely depends on the available size in the room and the frequency of use of the space.

The choice of one or two sinks depends on many factors; one is not always better than the other. With limited space, one is better, especially to ensure adequate counter area. One large is better than two small sinks. Double in Jack and Jills, single in toilet room. Consider trends and who your regular guests are.

If You Have the Space, Go With Double Sinks

A double sink looks stylish in a bathroom if you have the space, but it just might look out of place and not as stylish in a smaller bathroom.

While the IRC does not regulate designs in a bathroom, it does stipulate the allowed spacing around fixtures.

The National Kitchen And Bath Association (NKBA) provides best practice guidelines to help with designing functional, aesthetically pleasing, and enjoyable to use bathroom spaces.

  • There should be a space of at least 21″ (53 cm) between the sink and any other fixture or opposite wall
  • Each sink must be spaced at least 4″ (10 cm) from sidewalls to prevent water from seeping into the wall structure
  • The distance from the wall to the centreline of the sink should be a minimum of 15″ (38 cm)
  • The distance between the centerlines of a double sink should be at least 30″ (76 cm)

Now you can assess your available space and see if you could comfortably fit a double sink in.

If you are looking for ways to save space, consider installing a one piece toilet instead of the traditional and bulkier two piece units. Floating vanities, attached to the wall, can also save floor space.

One Large Sink Is Better Than Two Small Sinks

A sink is a convenient place to wash your hands and brush your teeth, so it needs to provide the space that you need to complete your ablutions comfortably without jamming your elbows into the wall or splashing water onto the floor!

Friends of mine have the smallest sink I have ever come across. My open hand barely fits inside it. I cannot use that sink without water pouring onto the floor! It is quite frustrating and, as a guest, it is a little mortifying that I always leave the bathroom floor wet. Don’t do this to your guests!

Not to mention how dangerous this can be. We should do anything possible to avoid making bathroom floors slippery.

So, if you have space for one large sink or two small sinks, I would recommend going for one large sink. Rectangular sinks are the better choice if you want a bigger sink without it extending further out into the bathroom.

Don’t Give up All Your Counter Space

Many bathrooms have a short supply of counter space, so finding somewhere to rest your toiletries or clothes while you are showering can be challenging, especially in a smaller bathroom.

Installing a single sink in a vanity with a good stretch of counter to the one side (or even on both sides) might be more beneficial and welcome to your guests than two sinks and no counter space between them or next to them.

If you want to install a double sink, you can consider getting something like the Camco Oak Accents RV Sink Cover (amazon link). It is designed for kitchen sinks, but it will work well in your bathroom if the sink shape and size are appropriately matched. This option allows the guests a choice of counter space or double sinks.

Double in a Jack and Jill Bathroom

A double sink does have a place in many bathrooms. The shared Jack and Jill bathroom is a great example.

In shared bathrooms, you can have the options of a shared double sink and vanity or two single side-by-side sinks and vanities. Either way, two sinks allow each bathroom user the luxury of their own space with a private storage area and countertop space.

If siblings use the shared bathroom, they are more permanent users and need a space to store their personal items without carrying them in and out of the bathroom each time they shower. A double sink and vanity provide them with their own secure space for their personal items.

When guests are using a Jack and Jill bathroom, the same rules apply with each guest having full use of one private sink without moving the other guest’s personal items out of the way.

Related article: Pros and Cons of Jack and Jill Bathrooms

Single Sink in a Toilet-Only Guest Bathroom

The ideal sink for a guest toilet room or powder room is a single sink. Generally, the guest toilet room is small, only large enough for a toilet and a single small sink for your guests and visitors to wash their hands.

This type of bathroom is aimed primarily at day visitors, but it is also a handy addition if you are not able to have a full bathroom devoted to your overnight guests.

If you think about it, showering is done once a day and people are less embarrassed about this side of things, so sharing a shower/bath with the residents is less inconvenient. Of course, the residents may find it a little annoying unless their toilet is also separate from the shower/bath area.

A double sink would look out of place in these types of bathrooms and, in most cases, is not necessary! A single sink can be an exciting feature in a small space. Install a single pedestal style sink rather than a vanity to change the look.

Double Sink More Important to En-Suite Guest Bathroom

A double sink is an advantage in an en-suite bathroom when shared by a couple as each one can complete their ablutions simultaneously, saving them time in their busy day.

If the guest bathroom was not en-suite, then a double sink is less important. This is because even couples who are staying in your guest room are less likely to use a hall access guest bathroom simultaneously.

The double vanity in an en-suite makes it convenient because one person can freely enter the bathroom while the other person is using it. So, if one is in the shower, the other can simply come in and brush their teeth.

In a hall access bathroom, the door would probably be locked while the one person showers. Thus, unless the couple plans their bathroom trips together, they will seldom use it simultaneously, making a double sink pointless. Rather go for a luxurious-sized single sink in a vanity with plenty of counter and cabinet space.

However, an en-suite guest bathroom does not necessarily need a double sink—a single sink will do, but if you would like to offer more luxurious accommodations to your guests, then a double sink will accomplish that!

A double vanity could also be an advantage because the added cabinet space could be used for storing additional towels, toilet rolls, and toiletries in it, making your guests feel welcome without needing to request other items from you.

Related article: Jack and Jill Vs. Hall Access Bathroom: Which is Better?

Consider Current Trends: Resale Value

The most common reason why most homeowners need a double sink is that they share a bathroom with their partner. Most people lead busy lives, and the convenience of two sinks in one bathroom allows both partners to access the bathroom simultaneously.

Buyers will look for an upgrade on what they currently have, so a couple looking for a new home could well be expecting a double sink and vanity in their en-suite but might not feel that a double sink is an essential fixture in a guest bathroom.

Bathrooms and kitchens increase a home’s marketability. A home can be sold because of the kitchen and bathroom space. Buyers are attracted by the aesthetics of the bathroom and kitchen areas, including the amount of space and the “look” of each room.

So, a well-planned en-suite bathroom with a double sink really does improve your home’s resale potential by making your home more attractive to all potential buyers!

But if you are not planning on selling your home any time soon, upgrade and remodel according to your family’s needs for the space, not according to recent trends.

Who Will Your Most Regular Guests Be?

If you plan to remodel and add on a bathroom or guest bathroom, you would only do so according to your needs.

If you only need a small guest bathroom with access from the hallway for regular-day visitors, then you could consider a single sink and toilet tucked away in a small guest powder room.

If you regularly host guests overnight, you would probably need a larger, better-equipped guest bathroom. The decision then is to add an en-suite to a guest bedroom or a separate guest bathroom with access from the hallway.

A separate bathroom will be a good idea if you have numerous overnight guests simultaneously. An en-suite would only provide a private bathroom area to the occupants of the attached bedroom.

As mentioned previously, hall access bathrooms are less likely to require double sinks. Rather center the sink with counter space on each side so that your guests can leave their toiletries in the bathroom in a designated spot without having to worry about them getting mixed together.

A standard Jack and Jill bathroom with access from two bedrooms into the guest bathroom will be ideal for planning two guest bedrooms, and in this case, a double sink is best.

Another point to consider, even in an en-suite guest bathroom, is who will be staying most often.

If you have a favorite aunt who never married but comes to stay with you regularly, then you only need a single sink. The same applies if you have teenagers who often have a friend staying over.

On the other hand, if your parents live far away and stay with you when they are in town or if you have a lot of guest couples who spend a couple of nights at your place, then a double sink set up would be more appropriate.

Single vs. Double: Pros and Cons Comparison Summary

A guest bathroom is always a welcome addition to a home. We have listed a few pros and cons for choosing a single or a double sink to complement your space.

Pros Of A Single SinkPros Of A Double Sink
Small sinks are great for small bathroomsIf the bathroom is bigger, a double sink can fill up the unused space functionally
Easier to install in a smaller space and can offer more counter space in a smaller areaPlenty of under-counter space to store toilet rolls, etc
More cost-effectiveSufficient countertop space for guests to rest their personal items on
Less plumbing requiredTwo guests can use the sink at the same time, i.e., mother and child
Single faucet instead of twoCan add value to your house
One user at a time offering privacy 
Cons Of A Single SinkCons Of A Double Sink
Less counter storage area for spare toilet rolls, etcIf the room is small, the double sink can take up too much space
If the room is big, a small sink can look out of place or make the room look clutteredMore complicated and expensive to install
A small sink could allow the water to overflow and splash onto the floorA double sink is more expensive
Style limited by the available spaceStyle limited by the available space
More plumbing and maintenance required

Alternative Guest Bathroom Design

A guest bathroom does not have to follow any norms. You can decorate it as you wish and let your imagination run wild! Of course, a standard bathroom does require traditional fixtures, but how you group them and whether you have a shower instead of a tub or a single sink instead of a double is up to you!

If your guest bathroom is large enough and you can afford it, why not try the following?

Alternative double sink bathroom layout

Separate the room into two areas: a single sink and toilet in one small cubicle, then the bath, shower, and a second sink in a larger room next to, but separate, from the toilet cubicle.


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