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

We break down why they work (for some) and what you need to know if you want one.

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.

open concept bathroom

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.

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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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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.

Bishan Street 24 by Ethereall
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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.

Riversound Residence by Jialux Interior
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Reason 3: Novelty!

Tampines Street 22 by Ovon Design
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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.

Explore: Spacious Tampines 4-Room Flat Lets Its Owners Pull Off Quirky Ideas

Clementi Street 13 by Dyel Design
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Professional tips on creating open-concept bathrooms

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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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“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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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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This article was originally published on 7 November 2019 and updated on 3 August 2022.

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