Restrooms, public or commercial facilities typically equipped with toilets, sinks, urinals (in men's restrooms), and often hand dryers or paper towel dispensers, are essential in all shared spaces. Layouts prioritize accessibility, hygiene, and efficient traffic flow. Multiple stalls or urinals are usually provided to accommodate several users simultaneously.
Sinks with mirrors are located separately, often with a clear path from the entrance. Depending on the space and clientele, restrooms may also include baby-changing stations or accessibility features for individuals with disabilities. Despite being functional spaces, modern restroom layouts also consider aesthetics and user comfort.
Public restroom layouts have evolved significantly. In ancient Rome, public latrines with side-by-side seating were common. Medieval sanitation was more rudimentary, often just holes in floors. In the 19th century, with advances in plumbing and public health understanding, more organized public restrooms emerged, but often lacked comfort and privacy. The 20th century introduced gender-segregated facilities, individual stalls, and sanitary fixtures like sinks and hand dryers.
The factors to consider when planning a restroom include: standards and requirements, privacy, accessibility, maintenance, layout, ventilation, and acoustics. All of these factors work together to ensure safety and comfort for the user when in these public facilities. Restroom design can be taken further by implementing color, music, and ideal lighting conditions.
A unisex bathroom, also known as an all-gender restroom, is a public toilet not separated by gender or sex. It can be used by any person regardless of gender identity. A unisex bathroom can be a single occupancy or multi-user facility.
The smaller the restroom, the more important privacy and comfort for each user becomes. These two factors are maximized by proper ventilation and maintenance, especially in a more confined space. It should be designed with consideration to accessibility and floor space availability as well.