Desisgning Small Space Commercial Restrooms

June 06, 2019

How to Design a Small-ish Commercial Restroom to Feel More Spacious

When you’re designing a commercial restroom, a lot of the decisions have already been made for you. You can’t decide what kind of building it’s going to be in. You can’t decide your budget (but wouldn’t that be fun?). In many cases, you can’t even decide your color scheme or design theme.

Most critically, you can’t decide the size of the space.

You’re given numbers of expected users, so you know how many toilets, urinals and sinks you’ll need. Then you see the plans and you say, whoa, that’s gonna be tight.

Here are a few ways to make the most of that tight footprint and design a small commercial restroom to feel more spacious.

Conceal Your Flushometers

When floor space is limited, your first priority should be maximizing it. An important factor for every commercial architect or designer planning a tightly-spaced restroom should be to consult with engineers about deploying concealed flushometers.

Concealed flushometers such as Sloan’s sleek CX models don’t require a rear access plumbing chase, so they create up to 60% more usable space in every restroom.

The CX looks fantastic (and creates more space) with either urinals or toilets. In a men’s room with  two urinals and one stall, for example, the space saved can mean the difference between a cramped vs. comfortable restroom experience.

Get Reflective

Steal a trick from residential designers and make the most of your mirrors. The more reflective space you have, the larger the restroom will appear.

A full-wall mirror over the sink(s) is a no-brainer—but how about mirrors on walls at right angles to the main mirror? These don’t just create the illusion of more space, they let visitors see their appearance from more than one angle. You don’t necessarily want to create that “infinity” effect, but multiple reflections are effective if you deploy them with restraint.

Mirrors aren’t the only reflective surfaces you can use to make the restroom feel more spacious—reflective steel stall partitions and shiny floor and wall tile can help achieve the same effect. And don’t forget polished chrome for your faucets and soap dispensers!

Clear the Floor

The more floor your visitors can see, the larger the restroom will feel as they navigate it.

That’s why wall-hung toilets (rather than floor-mounted) help make a small commercial restroom feel a little larger. Also, leaving space under your sinks—with exposed pipes and connections—creates a roomier feel than cabinetry extended to the floor. (Building owners and managers often prefer wall-hung fixtures for another reason—they make cleaning easier.)

Speaking of sinks... trough style sinks for two, three or four users give your deck a more open, more streamlined feel, and our Gradient or Weir Deck Designer Series styles add a distinctive edge, too.

One last tip: Wall-mounted faucets can optically “push” your walls a little further back. When your commercial restroom space is smaller than your ambitions, you have to use every tool at your disposal to create as much room—real and illusory—as you can!

Sloan helps architects, designers, engineers and building owners create high-performing, optimized office restrooms for style-conscious, eco-conscious and hard-working employees. Want to know more? Talk to Sloan!

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