The bathroom has become an essential living space in today’s home. It is, in fact one of the many factors which help in making a house, a home. Now people find this place as a recreation and rejuvenation place rather than its older image of a space to bathe. It is now treated as one of the most aspects of design in any household. Here we discuss a few points which might help one to make up a healthy and happy bathroom in his/her house.
Bathrooms can be planned into efficient and ambient places regardless of whether the space available is more or less. The design of this space is limited only by two constraints, namely the budget, and the creativity. Thanks to the various techie gadgets and designing fixtures and finishes available in the market. The following affect the design of any bathroom.
• Size Matters: How big is it? i. e. the space allotted.
• Bathroom for: Whom does it serve? Is it used by guests, Family Members,etc.
• Usage: Do you use it occasionally, regularly, specifically or not?
• Connecting Rooms: How many rooms does it serve?
• Storage Required: How much storage does it require?
• Ambience Type: What ambience does the user prefer?
All these factors contribute to design of any bathroom for a house. It is necessary to put up these in front of the architect to get to an ideal design solution.
BATHROOM DESIGN ESSENTIALS
Besides the regular light and ventilation requirements like any other room, a bathroom needs to have an extra hand on storage. Here we review these one by one to generate the image of a good design.
Bathroom LocationThe location of the bathroom is determined predominantly by its use. If used with a master bedroom, attach it to the room. If the bathroom is meant for use by the outsiders and guests, it should not be attached to any room and should be accessed by a hallway or a public area.
Natural light does the magic. It is best to have it in ample amounts. But too much light may cause glare and hamper the cozy and warm ambience of the bathroom, which can, in turn, be generated by proper diffused lighting. Bathrooms use two kinds of lighting, namely
- General lighting
- Task lighting for shelves, mirrors etc.
The general light in a bathroom should ideally be diffused light generated by more than one source. Now people prefer warm shades of incandescent lights over fluorescent lights. For low height bathrooms, recessed ceiling lights make it look higher. Also, as the maximum surfaces in the bathroom are reflective, it is advisable to use dimmers with light switches, so as to adjust the light intensity during the day.
For lighting for looking mirrors, place lighting on both left and right sides, and ideally on top too with low wattage lamps, say about 25W each, so as to light up the face evenly without shadows. If necessary, a single linear light on top can be used with some anti glare covering like frosted glass etc. always remember to place the switches above the washbasin so as no water spills near the sockets.
Bathrooms are destined to be filled with moisture. Therefore intensive ventilation is required to keep the place dry. Provision of big windows can help, keeping in mind the fact that the window sill is to be kept above eye level to avoid peeping Toms. Ground/frosted glass and even Venetian blinds can help. An exhaust fan is a must to let out odor and moisture. It becomes necessary to place the fan so that it is out of the reach of the moving hands while bathing.
Bathroom needs to have a number of toiletries and for that one essentially needs to have an effective storage space and system. This can be catered to by providing shelves, cupboards, niches and drawers wherever suitable. Spaces can be extracted and created to allow maximum storage. Now it has become necessary to give a separate vanity table preferably separated from the main bathroom area i.e. a whole dressing space. For storage in small bathrooms, full height cabinets can be used clad with mirror head to toe. This will increase virtual and visual space and of course increase storage space.
A bathroom is essentially made by its fixtures. These define and refine the functionality and aesthetics of the place. These points will help you in making choices for the same.
Bathroom Wash Basins
If space permits, one should try and go in for the larger models. Also, it is good to have a good depth as it helps in preventing water from bouncing back to the counter and below. If the space is not much, a round base basin must be opted for as it reduces spill. The basin should be broad enough so as to allow hands to be washed till elbows and assist in face washing. Tank, fresh and/or hot water taps must be clearly marked. A towel hanger nearby is a good idea. The mirrors should be adjusted to accommodate the upper body of the user.
Bathroom Seats/Water Closets
Always go for the one with the largest seat, it will be more comfortable. Also, the flush should be quiet and should always be checked before buying. To avoid excess usage of water, any cistern with a dual flush is very desirable. If the bathroom has a seat on a shaft or an external wall, try to go in for a wall hung WC. This frees the floor area below and allows easy cleaning. One has always to be careful while choosing the color of the sea and its cover so that it goes with the color combination scheme of the bathroom.
It is advisable that the shower area should be separated from the rest of the area as it has been classified as the wet area in a bathroom. So it becomes obvious to separate from the dry areas. So it can be covered from three sides, and the fourth side can be provided with a movable partition like a glass door or curtains. Shower tray should be large enough to that one is able to come out of the spray to soap/ dry. Also, the shower controls should not be under the shower rose so as to allow spray intensity adjustment. Thermostatic mixers prevent scalding by controlling water temperature. Towel hanger rod should be at the far end from the shower. Toiletries should be put in niches made at approachable heights.
The design difference is preferred when the child is of a rather small age. Children, over very little time, grow and get bored of watching the same design over and over again. So, there arises a need to change the bathroom design, redo the bathroom interiors and this requires a lot of effort and money. One should act very decisively while going for children’s bathroom.
• Colorful and happy look is preferred.
• Use of bright colors is advisable.
• Doors should be open-able from both inside and outside.
• It is recommended that the washbasins should be placed at a normal height for adult bathroom as children attain height quickly and they can use stools to step up and access the basin.
• A small bulb should be provided to be kept on at night.
• Handles should be lever type and not doorknobs.
• All toiletries should be locked in a cupboard.
• Avoid sharp edges, corners and brittle materials like glass.
• Put mirrors at apt heights. Full height mirrors might help.
Bathrooms for OldThe old, like children need extensive care and the bathroom should be as friendly as possible. Even if one has to compromise on the aesthetics a little, functionality has to be effective.
• Toiletries should be within easy reach height and distance wise.
• Grab rails should be provided in shower and near the seat so as to assist in standing and getting up.
• European seats are preferred and should be at a height of 21” from bathroom floor.
• Extra wide doors are used to accommodate wheelchairs.
• Lever handles are preferred over round door knobs.
• A general illumination is desired, i.e. diffused light.
• All operations should be simple and labeled.
• The bathroom should be in one level, i.e. no steps.
• A bathroom accommodating a wheelchair must be at least 7’ x 10’.
THINGS TO REMEMBER• Geysers can be fitted in false ceiling and access doors can be provided.
• Large counters use granite etc. and small spaces should use singular wash basins.
• A water trap must be provided next to the seat.
• In dry areas, granite, polished stone can be used. In wet areas be sure to use rough unpolished stone or matte tiles to provide grip.
• The general slope of the bathroom should be kept at about 1:50.
• Preferably large tiles should be used in flooring so as to give lesser joints, and hence a lesser chance of leakage.
• All fittings should have washers.
• Teak wood doors, enamel painted or teak lipped marine ply should be used.
• Brass hinges with stainless steel pins must be used.
• Always get the pipes and sanitary ware laid by a good plumber.
GENERAL TIPS FOR BATHROOM
• Swipe floor and wall cladding to avoid water stains due to condensation.
• Use cabinets instead of pedestals beneath washbasins to conceal pipes and it acts as an effective storage space too.
• Reduce visual clutter look by covered cupboards, to keep toiletries.
• Position soap dishes, towel hangers before mounting on walls.
• Be sure to use disinfectants in the toilets.
• Clean sanitary ware with mild detergent solution and wipe with a cloth.
• Clean and polish taps regularly. Furniture polish can be of help here.
• Be sure to clean the shower curtains using brush dipped in mild detergent solution.
• Clean and swipe windows and doors also.
• Install cockroach traps in all outlet water drains.