Improving Bathrooms

The bathroom is badly designed.
In particular, the typical home or apartment bathroom is badly designed. The typical home bathroom could be safer, less wasteful and more pleasurable.

Overall design of the home bathroom
First, let’s look at overall design. The typical American bathroom has a toilet, a sink and a tub, probably with a shower, all in one small room. The floor is usually tile. What’s wrong with this? A lot!

  • Tile is slippery when wet and bathroom floors get wet. Putting all those hard surfaced items in a small space means that if you slip you are likely to hit something hard, perhaps with your head. Need the floor be tile? Why? Why couldn’t it be covered in a thin sheet of rubber or some similar material?
  • Putting all three things in the home bathroom means that if one person is using the shower, no one else can use the sink or toilet. Other places do things differently, with the toilet in a separate room.
  • Putting the toilet and the sink near each other in the home bathroom means that when you flush, some of the water sprays upward (not much, but some) and air sprays upward too. And where does that air go? In the typical home bathroom some of it goes on your toothbrush.

Design of the tub and shower in the home bathroom

Showers are great for getting clean and tub baths are great for relaxing. But the design of the home bathroom makes the first wasteful and the second less relaxing than it should be; and it makes both more dangerous.

  • The floor of the tub is tile. Tile is slippery when wet; it’s even more slippery when wet and soapy. And, by their nature, the floor of the tub gets wet and soapy. Need it be this way? No. Like the floor of the bathroom, it could be rubberized (I’ve seen this in some showers in gyms).
  • The water temperature needs to be adjusted each time you use the shower. There are lots of different designs for adjusting the water temperature. Many are designed to be used one handed, which is good. But why not have preset buttons for particular temperatures? You could have a separate preset for each person who uses your home bathroom.
  • In many home bathrooms, you can’t adjust the water pressure in the tub. I’m guessing that most people turn on the water, then perhaps shampoo their hair, then soap and scrub, then rinse off. All this while the water is running full blast. If you could adjust the pressure separately from the temperature, you could lower the pressure while soaping or scrubbing and raise it again to rinse. That would save water.
  • Hand holds could be standard on the long wall of the tub. This would prevent some falls.
  • In the tub, you might like to fill it with water and then lay back. If you do this in the typical home bathroom you put your head on … you guessed it! Tile! How comfortable! Why not put a headrest at that end of the tub?
  • When the tub drains, it goes down the sewer. Why not use that water to flush the toilet? It’s not like you need very clean water for that task. (This is known as gray water).

The toilet in the home bathroom

As noted above, most home bathrooms have the toilet near the sink. What happens when you flush? Most of the water and other contents goes down the drain. But some sprays out and some of the air that was in the toilet sprays out too. Where does it go? All over. Including the toothbrushes that are stored near the sink.

Another problem with the toilet in the home bathroom is that it often has a shelf over it where you can put things like hairbrushes. But, because it’s right over the toilet, if those things slip, they go in. Ick!

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