Operation and Circulation Restroom Design


There are numerous considerations when designing a commercial restroom. How many users do you anticipate will use the facility? Is there ample space for two lanes of traffic flowing in and out of the restroom? How many stalls do you really need? All these questions have to do with operation and circulation restroom design, and they should be answered by the architect, designer, or contractor.

If you’re not sure what to look out for during your next bathroom build, check out the helpful tips below.

The Entryway

The entrance to your restroom is one of the most important aspects. Bathrooms with a door should have the door opening out instead of in to the bathroom. This prevents guests from feeling cramped or possibly even being hit by the door when someone else attempts to enter. This is especially important if the sink or hand drying station is near the doorway.

Labyrinth entrances are a great alternative because they void the need for a door altogether and help promote a safer and more sanitary environment. When constructing the entrance, be sure to leave enough space for two guests to walk side by side. This allows users to enter and leave at the same time without bumping into each other.

Flow of Traffic

Now that we’ve covered the entrance, it’s a good time to talk about the general flow of traffic in your new restroom. Designing a restroom really starts with understanding how you want guests to use the restroom. For instance, you don’t want people to have to double back to get from the sink to where they can dry their hands. In fact, it’s a good idea to have the hand drying station positioned near the exit (as long as the door doesn’t open into that space) so users can wash and dry their hands before touching the door handle.

Most commercial restrooms are designed with the first user action located furthest from the entrance and the last intended action located closest to the entrance. So ideally, toilets and bathroom stalls should be located in the back of the restroom, the hand washing area somewhere in the middle, and the hand drying station near the entrance.

Number of Expected Users

Understanding the number of people you expect to use the restroom at different parts of the day will dramatically change how it’s designed. For example, a restroom in a small café might get away with having only two toilets, while a large law firm might need 10 times that amount.

Knowing the peak usage times and number of people using the restroom will also help you understand your needs when it comes to other fixtures like sinks, hand driers, mirrors, and even trash receptacles. After all, if your cleaning crew only comes once a day, you want to make sure that the trash receptacle is large enough to handle daily use without overflowing.

Maintenance Needs

The last consideration when thinking about operation and circulation restroom design is how often you plan to have your restroom serviced and cleaned. It’s a good idea to look for restroom materials that offer exceptional durability and relatively low maintenance requirements. This can include premium faucets, fixtures, bathroom partitions, or vanities.