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Open-Concept Bathrooms: Practical Idea or Just Too Daring?

November 7, 2019
BOOKMARK

We break down why they work (for some) and how to make them work.

Most of us who live in traditionally-designed homes have grown up knowing bathrooms to be highly personal spaces. For some, it’s even a private spot where they can get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life with a long, luxurious soak.

Punggol Drive by Mr Shopper Studio
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Interior Firm: Mr Shopper Studio

So then what’s with open-concept bathrooms? Not only do they break down the walls between private and shared zones, these see-through spaces also open up the doors to uncomfortable situations.

Surprisingly, however, there are homeowners who are alright with exposing all, even though most of us would probably cringe at the idea of leaving nothing about our bathroom business to the imagination.

open concept bathroom
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Our quick Instagram poll with over 700 respondents showed that most homeowners found the idea of having an open-concept bathroom to be too creepy (63%), but a considerable minority (37%) were alright with having one.

To help you understand why this is the case, we highlight some practical and aesthetical reasons for having an open-concept bathroom as well as some key factors to take note of, if you ever decide to design one for your home.

Reason 1: Open-concept bathrooms 'create' more space.

The biggest and most beneficial reason for having a see-through bathroom is, of course, the amount of extra room that you’ll get. While most of it is visual (as opposed to actual square footage), demolishing the walls separating the en-suite from your boudoir has the benefit of creating a more open look.

Boon Keng Road by KDOT
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Interior Firm: KDOT

This can be especially useful for smaller bathrooms experiencing a shortage of natural light, either due to small windows or obstacles that stand in the way, such as build-ins or furniture; doing away with walls or replacing them with glass barriers will allow light to enter from other areas, bounce off the surroundings and create an illusion of space.

Hougang by Fifth Avenue Interior
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Interior Firm: Fifth Avenue Interior

Reason 2: An open bathroom could allow you to move around more easily.

Contrary to what most people might think, the morning rush doesn’t begin the moment you pull out of the driveway, it actually starts the minute you get out of bed – and having an open-concept bathroom without doors or a wider entrance can help with that.

Dover Close by Lifestyle + Interiors
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Interior Firm: Lifestyle + Interiors

Getting ready at 7am is going to be a whole lot easier if you’re able to step out of the bathroom and straight into a walk-in wardrobe or a bedroom dressing area where you can get instant access to all of your clothes, cosmetics, and belongings.

And because of that, there’s even a case to be made about having see-through storage fixtures to complement your open-concept bathroom as they might just help to make your morning prep go even smoother.

Tampines Street 12 (Block 149) by Icon Interior Design
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Interior Firm: Icon Interior Design

Reason 3: Novelty!

Hillcrest Villa by i. Haven Design
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Interior Firm: i. Haven Design

It stands to reason that novelty is one of the main factors in peoples’ decisions to have or not have an open-concept bathroom. If you’re keen on creating a home that’s anything but cookie-cutter, nothing says ‘unique’ or ‘daring’ quite like a freestanding tub that shares the same space as your bed or a toilet that’s in full view of the walkway outside.

Woodlands Drive 75 by Chapter One Interior Design
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Professional tips on creating open-concept bathrooms

Serangoon by BLACK N WHITE HAUS
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Interior Firm: BLACK N WHITE HAUS

Despite how they might look, creating a functional open-concept or open-plan bathroom is more than just about demolishing the exterior walls.

“There are three main things that you’ll want to take note of,” shares Bowerman designer Chris Huang, who has plenty of experience creating open-concept spaces (not just bathrooms).

Commonwealth Avenue by Bowerman
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Interior Firm: Bowerman

“First and most important of all, is ventilation,” he says. “Using a bathroom sometimes involves taking care of bodily functions, that’s why having access to an open window or fan is always useful. Also, they can help prevent moisture issues, such as mould growth or damage to wood built-ins.”

Sea Horizon by The Orange Cube
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Interior Firm: The Orange Cube

According to Chris, material choices are key for building a practical open-concept bathroom as well. “I recommend using materials like waterproof flooring for open areas and anti-mould paints, like Gush, as it prevents mildew from growing on your walls.”

“Last but not least, if you've got a partner who’s shy, install privacy solutions like blinds or frosted glass so that everyone is happy,” he says.


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