Home design magazines now feature larger bathrooms with larger fittings, such as freestanding bathtubs. The room has gone from being a purely functional space to one of relaxation and wellbeing. Consequently, the design of small bathrooms is somewhat ignored.
Designing for Small Bathrooms by Sivertsen and Berg, of Oslo and Akershus University of Applied Sciences, Norway, seeks to address this. Their research question was how to achieve the same sense of wellbeing in small bathrooms using universal design principles. It’s an open access article.
Note that the image does not indicate universal design features. A free-standing bath becomes unusable if grab bar support is needed in the future. The shower cubicle is small and not step free.
This paper will focus on how to design a series of bathroom products that work well for small bathrooms using the principles of universal design. In home culture research, Quitzau and Rřpke has studied bathroom transformation from hygiene to well-being.
Bathrooms are one of the rooms in apartments that do not have good solutions for small spaces. This is unfortunate since it is the bathroom that has the least amount of space in urban apartments. This leads many people to have too little bathroom space due to furniture, toilets, showers, etc.
In today’s society, the bathroom is no longer just a purpose room. It is used for relaxation and wellness. This has led to a trend where large furniture, such as freestanding bathtubs, dominate today’s market. This in turn allows the few solutions that exist for small bathrooms to remain poorly conceived.
The research question was therefore how to create solutions for small bathrooms to get the same sense of well-being as in larger bathrooms through universal design principals. The study used the principles of universal design, observations and in-depth interviews.
This study can help to create a greater understanding of how to design small bathrooms. It will be relevant in a cross disciplinary field, including for professionals in plumbing, product design and technical solutions. This will also increase the well-being of users of the bathroom.