Although we all want a beautiful bathroom we also crave a well functioning room that is safe for all our family members and guests. This is easier to achieve in large bathrooms but with close attention to the space planning and details even very tiny bathrooms can be made safe.
There needs to be plenty of aisle space (at least 36") and adequate storage so people don't trip and fall. Specialized drawers like this dryer drawer with power inside keep the counters clear.
Adequate lighting is also critical for safety as well as grooming. Wall mounted lights are best placed at about cheek height on either side of the face about 30" apart. Recessed lighting placed in the ceiling directly over the sink is fine if you have lighting on the sides of the face too but will not be adequate for makeup and shaving by itself. I find the poor lighting in Hotel bathrooms very frustrating.
Toilets require a minimum of 30" (36" is ideal) between the side wall and another surface like a vanity so there is adequate room to maneuver and 5 ft. should be allowed from the wall behind the toilet to then next obstruction in front. More space is required for people with accessibility issues.
Non skid surfaces on the floor will lessen the threat of slipping when getting out of the shower or tub. Small sized tiles with lots of grout provide the friction needed to resist slipping. Also consider honed or textured surfaces. Showers also benefit by having more grout on the floor of the shower and having adequate slope to the floor so it drains properly.
Seating inside a shower is also a huge benefit and it can be achieved with a built in seat or a portable seat that is set inside the shower. The shower needs to be at least 3 feet x 5 feet to incorporate a shower seat.
Grab bars are a wonderful addition in a shower and today's grab bars can be quite attractive. At least always include the backing in the wall so they can be added at a later date.
If you are planning to include a steam unit in your shower be sure the inlet is far enough away from the user and their feet so they don't get scalded. Also be sure to slope the ceiling slightly so the steam that gathers there will run down the wall not drop on the bather's head. The picture on the left has the outlet too close to the bather's feet but the one on the right is placed properly.
Tubs should not have steps or be recessed as they are much more likely to cause accidents. Also keep the spout and faucets out of the path used to enter and exit the tub and be sure that the handles are always within easy reach from the front of the tub, even if the spout is on the back.
That's today's safety tips.
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408-369-9801 or email me
Lila Levinson,ASID, CKD, CID, NCIDQ, IDG