It’s easy to think of the UK style of bathroom as being the only one around, but, as with anything, there’s actually a lot of variation. The modern version of the British bathroom really started to come into fashion in the late 19th century, the Victorian era, and while it’s inspired bathrooms around the world, there are still many differences that you might not be used to.
Squatting toilets are a common sight in many countries around the world. The idea of a raised toilet with a toilet seat is largely a Western design, and even in many places in Europe you’ll still see toilets that look more like a hole in the floor than what most Brits would consider ‘proper’.
There are a few key reasons that this is so common, and really it’s us who’ve got toilet design all wrong. It all comes back to nature, and how civilisation has grown up around it. It’s easy to miss if you’ve never thought of a time before toilets exist (and maybe it’s just us who do that!) but we haven’t always had pristine porcelain seats for our posteriors. Before the invention of our modern toilets, it was natural to squat. Many countries simply built their toilets around the idea that what’s natural is best.
There’s actually a lot to be said about what’s natural being best, too. Without going into all the dirty details (though you can read more about it here and here) squatting is suggested to require less straining, feel more satisfactory and potentially has health benefits as well.
It’s not for everyone, but the benefits of a squatting toilet could be yours if you choose to make an interesting change to your bathroom design.
Bidets and Buckets
Bidets are growing in popularity in the UK, but they still aren’t seeing common or widespread use, and especially not as much as they are in other parts of Europe. Bidets are a legal requirement for Italian bathrooms, for example, and are found in 97% of homes. Other Latin countries, such as Spain, Portugal and South American countries are also common places to find bidets, and they also see widespread use in the Middle East.
If you haven’t seen a bidet before, they are not unlike sinks, but generally placed at the same height as a toilet, and are used for washing the nether areas. There are plenty of times that this can come in handy, but the most common use is after using the toilet. Bidets can be used to replace toilet paper, or to add an extra level of cleanliness that paper alone can’t achieve. Many also consider them to be more environmentally friendly than toilet paper.
In countries where access to running water is rarer, or where bidets just haven’t caught on, you might find that you’re provided with a bucket of water instead. The idea behind this is the same, using the water to clean yourself once you’re done with the toilet. Some countries will also provide a hose pipe for easier cleaning.
We don’t recommend a bucket or hosepipe in your bathroom if you can fit in a bidet. We have plenty of bidets to choose from.
Everyone knows that showers are more environmentally friendly than baths (unless you take a particularly long time in the shower), but having a source of water constantly pouring down the drain is still not ideal. Once again, areas of the world with less access to running water find more efficient ways to clean themselves, such as the ‘navy’ shower. So called because military and navy personnel are often required to conserve water, this involves turning the shower on just long enough to get wet, turning it off while soaping, then turning it back on again to rinse.
The Japanese have a different variant of this, based on their own traditions.
In Japan, people clean themselves while sitting down. Traditionally, a bucket of warm water is placed beside a stool, with a ladle to be used for getting yourself wet. You can then take all the time in the world to soap up and lather from a comfortable sitting position, before using the water again to rinse off. A more modern take on this form of bathing uses a hand shower.
A hand shower serves the same purpose as the bucket and ladle, but is more reliably warm and has a bit more pressure to it. Just use the shower head to wet yourself, soap up and then use the shower head again to rinse. This uses 10% of the water that a normal shower uses, and you also get to relax by sitting down throughout.
If you like the sound of a hand held shower, but don’t want to completely give up on the traditional style, then take a look at our diverter showers which offer you the best of both worlds.
It’s not really uncommon to see the toilet in a separate room in many British households, but it’s often an overlooked idea when people are creating new bathrooms for their homes. Most people would consider that having a toilet in a separate room to the shower was for convenience, but there are other practical reasons for it as well.
Going back to Japan, it would be considered unthinkable to bathe in the same room that you go to the toilet in, and modern science backs this up. Flushing your toilet causes many of the germs that are in there to be cast chaotically up into the air, where they are free to settle over the rest of the bathroom. When your toilet is in its own room this isn’t too much of an issue, but when it shares space with your shower, bath, toothbrush and other hygiene supplies it’s definitely a problem.
The history of putting toilets in the same room as the rest of the bathroom is an odd one. Originally, they would be kept in a separate room, a ‘water closet’, but plumbing to just one room was much easier than plumbing to multiple ones, and so everything moved into a central bathroom location. As time went by, it seems that many Brits forgot about the hygienic implications of this, and so it’s considered natural to have everything in one room.
It’s not only more convenient to have your toilet separate from the rest of the bathroom, but also more hygienic. If you have space, it’s worth considering separating the pieces, for a cleaner bathroom experience.
To help make your bathroom just right for you UK Bathroom Store offers internet prices with showroom backup. Give us a call on 01524 841 087 and let us help you make your bathroom perfect!