FM Articles

Commercial Restrooms: Balancing Aesthetics & Practicality


Are you contemplating a restroom revamp for your facility, yet finding yourself uncertain about where to start? Perhaps you’ve encountered restrooms that were visually appealing but lacked functionality. On the other hand, you’ve also been in bathrooms that feel old, dark and institutional. That’s not the answer you’re looking for, either.

Creating an environment that not only looks good but also seamlessly integrates user-friendly elements can be a complex undertaking. It’s about more than just appearances; it’s about striking a harmonious balance that enhances the overall experience for everyone who steps into your facility.

When it comes to updating restrooms, the challenge lies in marrying aesthetics with practicality. You want a restroom that captivates with its design while ensuring it meets the diverse needs of users and aligns with evolving industry trends. It’s about going beyond the surface level and addressing the essential aspects that contribute to a positive user experience.

In this exploration of commercial restroom design, we’ll not only unravel the current trends shaping the industry but also emphasize the intersection of user experience and maintenance, recognizing the pivotal role these factors play in effective facilities management. Whether you’re a facility manager seeking guidance or an enthusiast in the realm of design, this journey into elevating the commercial restroom experience is sure to provide valuable insights and inspiration for your next restroom project.

Why Looks Matter
In the case of commercial restrooms, looks do matter.

Sure, we were taught not to judge a book by its cover; however, the aesthetics of a commercial restroom extend beyond visual appeal; they encompass a holistic experience that combines design harmony, functionality and user satisfaction. A well-designed restroom reflects positively on the facility, leaving a lasting impression on occupants and visitors. Whether in a school, restaurant or shopping mall, a clean, crisp and functional bathroom space can be a “talker.”

Some Pretty Useful Solutions
To get your occupants and visitors talking, consider some of the following solutions.

The Elements

When updating your facility’s restrooms, consider blending modern and contemporary architectural elements, a prevalent trend in restroom design. This approach involves integrating sleek, stylish designs that resonate with the evolving preferences of users. The emphasis is on creating an atmosphere that is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.

The Details

The design elements should be carefully curated to create an environment that aligns with the building’s identity. This includes choosing fixtures, finishes and overall layouts that cater to a diverse range of tastes. Achieving design harmony in commercial restrooms goes beyond trends; it involves creating a timeless and welcoming space that leaves a positive and lasting impression.


Industry Trends and Achieving Form-Function Balance
First, to gain valuable insights into industry trends and the delicate balance between form and function, turn to the experts in facility management. These professionals play a role in shaping the design and functionality of commercial restrooms, ensuring they meet the evolving needs and expectations of users.

For instance, one notable trend is the increasing demand for touchless and hygienic solutions. This is reflected in the preference for sensor-operated fixtures such as aesthetic sensor faucets, soap dispensers and hand dryers. Sensor fixtures include a hidden sensor in each product, adding elegance and reliability, and safeguarding the fixture from damage. Further, Bluetooth technology is now being incorporated into many modern restrooms, allowing facility managers to oversee their space with much less physical labor. The overall emphasis is on creating a restroom environment that not only looks fresh but also promotes cleanliness and hygiene, without having to call maintenance for every problem that arises.

Another trend involves the incorporation of sustainable and eco-friendly practices in restroom design. Facility managers are increasingly considering water-saving faucet fixtures, toilets, energy-efficient lighting and environmentally friendly materials. This aligns with the growing awareness of sustainability and the importance of reducing the environmental impact of commercial spaces.

Achieving a balance between form and function requires a thoughtful approach to design. It involves selecting fixtures and layouts that not only look good but also enhance the overall functionality of the space. This includes considering factors such as accessibility, ease of maintenance and the practical needs of diverse user groups.

User Experience and Maintenance: Practical Considerations
While aesthetics shape user perceptions, the practical aspects of restroom design cannot be forgotten. A beautiful restroom that is challenging to maintain or does not cater to the needs of users may undermine the overall user experience.

You’ve learned by now user experience involves more than just visual appeal. It encompasses ease of use, accessibility and overall comfort, including making considerations for people with disabilities, children and the elderly. A restroom that is designed with user experience in mind creates a positive and inclusive environment.

Maintenance is another critical aspect of effective facilities management. A well-designed restroom should not only be easy to use but also easy to maintain. This involves selecting durable materials, like stainless steel, and choosing fixtures that are resistant to wear and tear. Implement layouts that facilitate efficient cleaning and upkeep.

Addressing maintenance concerns involves considering factors such as water-resistant finishes, easy-to-clean surfaces and fixtures that are resistant to corrosion and damage. Additionally, incorporating smart technologies that provide real-time insights into restroom usage and maintenance needs can streamline facilities management processes.

Striking the Balance for a Holistic Restroom Experience
As we near the end of navigating the complexities of commercial restroom design, it becomes evident that a holistic approach is necessary. Aesthetics, user experience and practical considerations must come together to create a restroom environment that is not only visually appealing but also functional and easy to maintain.

Industry trends and expert insights guide us in making informed decisions that align with the evolving needs and expectations of users. From touchless fixtures that enhance hygiene to sustainable practices that contribute to environmental responsibility, the modern commercial restroom is a blend of style, functionality and practicality.

Now that you’ve been equipped with the knowledge and tools to transform your space, seize the opportunity to design the most remarkable and talked-about area in the entire building!

Zach Theisen is the Director of Sales – Lab & Plumbing at T&S Brass, the leading provider of innovative equipment solutions to the foodservice and plumbing industries.