Good design evokes images of pleasing aesthetics, although marrying both form and function is de rigueur in space design, particularly in the bathroom. Many of us often disregard one very important element that makes all the difference: Bathroom ergonomics.
While achieving a pleasing design may precede over functionality for some, paying attention to the latter will save homeowners much hassle and frustration in their daily routine.
Can you weave in ergonomics, yet conceptualise an aesthetically pleasing bathroom that will reflect your lifestyle habits? Here are a number of ergonomic design considerations you should not overlook when planning a bathroom design.
In the Toilet Area
The toilet paper holder should be installed slightly in front of the edge of the toilet bowl, such that you do not need to bend, stretch or twist your body in awkward positions to reach it. For bathrooms decked with e-bidets or shower toilets, handheld remote controls should also be placed within arm’s length reach as well for added convenience.
When selecting a new toilet, the ideal toilet height will depend on how tall you are, your physical needs and the way in which you get on or off the toilet. The goal is to select one with a height that allows you comfortably have both feet flat on the floor while seated and where you can stand up from the toilet with much ease.
American Standard toilets are designed at a “right height” – the same height as a standard chair which makes getting on and off the toilet easier. Based on the ergonomic height of a chair which is between 350mm – 510mm, American Standard offers a suite of Right Height toilets which are designed to be within the ergonomic height range (between 400mm – 430mm, including the seat) that makes it convenient and effortless to get up from a seated position. This is especially important for the elderly, the pregnant and the disabled. If you are living in a home with multiple people and only one toilet, select a toilet that is a good compromise that will suit the needs of all members.
Sometimes, we do spend a longer time sitting on the toilet bowl, so it is imperative that the seat is a comfortable one. Choose a seat that does not have a sharp edge on the inner rim to avoid having painful seat marks after your visit. Designed with consumers’ comfort in mind, American Standard toilet bowls incorporate a comfort curve seat feature that ensures ergonomic fit around the posterior, even when one sits for an extended period of time. The company also furnished its seat and cover with a soft closing action to negate the harsh clatter of a falling seat.
It can get pretty annoying trying to press at a small flush button, not to mention that it is harder also to hold onto the button for a stronger flush. Try to purchase a toilet with slightly bigger push button for convenience.
Our American Standard toilets come with ‘Comfort push button’ which has a larger surface area for ease of use, especially for ladies with long nails. A bigger sized flush button is also more user-friendly for the elderly to operate.
Most toilets these days are equipped with a trigger spray and they are usually located to the left or right side of the toilet. However, this also means that a user will have to twist his body around to reach for the spray. It may be more convenient to install the trigger spray next to the seated user, but that wall is usually taken up by the paper roll holder.
With our American Standard Spalet range of manual and electronic bidets, a hygienic cleanse is just a convenient manoeuvre of a lever or a press of a button. There is no more body twisting to reach for a trigger spray behind you, which can be uncomfortable especially for injury-prone elderly.
In the Shower Area
For your comfort and safety, it pays to think of how you can contain wet zones to avoid slippery floors. An easy way is to position your towel rails within easy reach of your shower enclosure, instead of the opposite side of the bathroom. This will minimize any risks of slipping on a wet floor while you are reaching out for a towel to dry yourself. If you prefer the subtleness of a towel hook to the lengthiness of a rail, install the hook no more than an arm’s length from where you will step out after your shower.
When using a rain head shower, do not position the drain directly below it. Because you will not want to flood the shower area when standing on the drain while showering.
In the Basin/Vanity Area
This ‘ergonomic check’ is easily overlooked. Some faucets may look deceivingly beautiful, but the space between the handle and the spout is so tight that people with bigger hands will find it not user-friendly.
Adequate space between the handle and the spout allows for ease of faucet use, and some of American Standard faucets are thoughtfully designed with this Comfort space feature. This is especially conducive especially for men with larger hands.
Ergonomics can even stretch to the smaller details. Minimalistic-looking faucets may look great but the sharp edges are potential deal-breakers. Besides, sharp edges are not comfortable to the touch. By adding a groove under some of our American Standard faucets (a thumb-like indentation on the underside of the lever such as the Compact Codie faucet), this seemingly unassuming design feature becomes a distinctive and comfortable element for the user for easy grip and comfortable lever lifting.
The height of vanities really depends also on the type of basins you install on or in the vanity. For example, if you like the trendy look of a vessel basin mounted on top of your vanity, think twice about raising the height of the vanity as you may end up at an awkward angle of washing your hands. If you are having a recessed sink in the vanity, then consider raising the vanity’s height. The rule of thumb here is ensure the most comfortable angle for hand washing. A good gauge is to get members of the household to stand next to the vanity with basin (vessel or recessed) and determine what is the best height for all.
Finally, when it boils down to bathroom ergonomics, good space planning should not be neglected as well. Sometimes the placement of a product in the right location will make all the difference.
By placing the right wares at the right place, it enables easy access and improves functionality in the bathroom. Coupled with the ergonomic features in every small product detail, a visit to the bathroom should be just as it is – a relaxing sanctuary.