Good daylight and air flow, skid-free flooring, ease of maintenance, and proper lighting can be achieved without spending much

If we look at the number of pages with advertisements in any design journal today, which product range hogs the limelight?

Bathrooms, toilets, and wash rooms are the ones in the limelight.

It feels strange to discuss something so private in a public forum, but more people are beginning to spend on their bathrooms and toilets. But is this really necessary? There are many projects where cost effective and ecologically sensitive ideas have saved money and resources, only to be drained out by luxurious bathrooms.

The manufacturers and the market together have created such a glorious image for the bathroom (which is also a room of course) that most of us are caught in this trap of spending on them without realising the implications.

There was a time when the costliest water closet could be bought at Rs. 5, 000, but today we shell out more than Rs. 50,000 for the same.

Water taps could be bought at Rs. 10,000, glazed tiles for walls at Rs. 500 per sq. ft and so on.

The tragedy is that most of these high-end products cost 10 times more than the low-price range items are really not that much more superior or durable.

If so, how did this trend of resource consumption evolve? Why do people proudly say that the bathroom is their space and would spare anything to get it their way?

How did the habit of conspicuous consumption move from a publicly visible part of the house to a privately usable area?

The answer

The answers could lie in some sociological analysis, but from the construction industry perspective, part of the answer lies in consumerism and affordability.

It is believed that a fancy idea sells faster than common sense, thanks to its glorified image.

The idea of luxury in bathrooms can be achieved without taxing nature — by creating space and letting nature in. While up-market fixtures may help with certain quality issues, the primary criteria of a bathroom lies in hygiene. To that end, good daylight and frequent air flow ensure quick drying of the space.

While the market is selling costlier ideas to impact the looks of an attached toilet, let us realise that the experience of a toilet does not depend only on fixtures and tiles.

Skid-free flooring, ease of maintenance, proper lighting even at night and such issues are necessary for a comfortable bathroom. Most of these can be achieved without much money or materials.