The Not-So-Obvious Thing That Makes a 3/4 Bath Different from a 1/2 Bath

updated Aug 31, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Lana Kenney

If you’ve spent any time searching through home listings, you’ve likely seen terms like “three-quarter bath” pop up from time to time. And if you’re anything like me, you scratched your head wondering what on earth that means. Lucky for you, I did the research so you don’t have to. 

As it turns out, bathroom types are determined based on which of four key bathroom appliances are included: a toilet, a sink, a bathtub, and a shower. Here’s a look at four common types of bathrooms, what they look like, and how to tell the difference among them.

Credit: Jason Rampe

What is a full bath?

To be considered a full bathroom, a toilet, sink, bathtub, and shower (or a tub and shower combo) must be present. You may also find additional features like a linen closet, a bidet, or dual sinks, but they are not required. A full bathroom will typically be located near or adjacent to the primary bedroom. 

According to Opendoor, adding a full bathroom to your home increases the resale value by $18,000 on average. 

What is a half bath?

Whether you call it a half bath, guest bath, or powder room, it will have only two of the four key bathroom components. Most often, you’ll see a toilet and sink in a half bath, and the room will be located on the main level of your home to serve as a guest bathroom. Adding a half bath to your home increases the resale value by $9,000 on average, per Opendoor.

What is a three-quarter bath?

A three-quarter bathroom will have three of the four key components. Most commonly, these rooms will include a toilet, sink, and a shower stall without a bathtub (or in some cases, a bathtub without a shower). If regular soaks in the bathtub aren’t a priority for you, forgoing a full bath for a three-quarter bath can be a good money-saving option. 

If you have a three-quarter bathroom you’d like to upgrade to a full bath, you may only need to install a shower head over the bathtub to increase your home’s value. 

What is a one-quarter bath?

As you may have predicted, a one-quarter bath will have only one of the four components. It could be just a sink and a mirror, or a small room with just a toilet (sometimes the sink is placed outside the water closet). Homes with a pool or hot tub may include a one-quarter bath with a shower stall to rinse off after taking a dip. 

Which bathroom size is best?

While a full bathroom offers the biggest bang for your buck in terms of upping your home value, three-quarter baths and powder rooms are also highly sought after. Though a one-quarter bath may seem odd, it can be helpful to have an extra toilet or shower if you live with multiple people who need to get ready for work or school in the mornings. 

It’s also important to keep resale potential in mind. A renovation or upgrade can get you the bathroom of your dreams and increase your home’s resale value in the process. For example, HomeAdvisor reports that you can add a half bath to an existing space in your home for anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, or convert a half bath to a full bathroom for anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000. 

In the end, there’s no wrong answer, so follow your heart and choose the home — and bathroom — that feels best for you.