Public bathrooms have struggled to shrug off their reputation for being dank, filthy, inconvenient places to relieve oneself. Changing this image requires not only better cleanliness but also attention to aesthetics and issues of convenience.
For too long, public bathrooms have acquired the reputation of being unsanitary, poorly maintained, and in general, just uncomfortable places to relieve oneself. In the public imagination, the “facilities” are grungy, and dirty areas covered tip to toe in obscene graffiti. Besides the unkempt and disgusting appearance of a poorly maintained restroom facility, people are also off-put by the idea of using the public bathroom due to a few universal factors that make their use outright inconvenient.
Besides leaving a poor impression on visitors, poorly maintained or unappealing facilities would also negatively impact the occupants of the building, be it employees or students. Too often, people decide to hold their bladders in rather than attempt to relieve themselves in a public toilet unless they can hold their urges in no longer.
Even relatively clean restroom facilities may not be as convenient to use due to design flaws and poor maintenance that make it inconvenient to use. Improving the restroom experience leaves a good impression on the occupants and visitors of a building and makes life easier for everyone.
Making the bathroom more pleasant shouldn’t just stop at ensuring everything is tidy. A visually interesting restroom can help make its users feel more comfortable within. Architects around the world are playing around with visually appealing concepts for public bathrooms that make it easy for the average person to relieve themselves in a visually interesting setting.
While many far-out designs for public bathrooms are best left for more open areas, bathrooms within buildings can still be given aesthetic interest through careful selection of fixtures and a few splashes of lively colour. A bathroom can become significantly more inviting by going against the steel grey and clinical white that has been standard for most bathrooms in the past. Pastel colours in the bathroom panels would add the right vibrancy to make the restroom a less uninviting place to be in.
Chief among the main issues faced by public restroom users are the lines for cubicles. Providing sufficient cubicles and units is a big enough challenge in itself, but an additional problem exists that keeps toilets from efficiently using all their cubicles at peak hours. Cubicles that are in-use aren’t always labelled, and most people would, as a courtesy, avoid a stall that appears occupied—which can lead to awkwardly long wait times as more people fail to recognize unoccupied stalls. Proper labelling can help alleviate this wait by making it known that the stalls are available on first glance.
Likewise, loo roll dispensers are not always sufficiently stocked, which can be a problem for the people who use the cubicles. The metal dispensers themselves are often very inconvenient to use; those using the toilets may find it difficult to find the paper, let alone get enough of the roll to use a sufficient amount of toilet paper. Reverting to the more traditional dispensers may be the best way to remedy this situation.
The toilet itself may have a poorly designated and confusing flushing system, which can make flushing after use difficult. Too often, this leads to an unpleasant surprise for the next person using if the prior occupant gives up looking for the button or sensor that automatically flushes the toilet bowl.