Restroom or Bathroom: What’s the Difference?
Restroom, restroom, bathroom, lavatory, WC, loo – these are all terms for a space where you relieve yourself or answer nature’s call. But is there a difference between a restroom and a bathroom? Let’s explore.
Defining Restroom and Bathroom
A restroom is a room or area designated for public use where people can relieve themselves, freshen up, or change clothes. Restrooms can be located in public places such as malls, parks, restaurants, and airports.
On the other hand, a bathroom is a room in a home or private residence where people can answer nature’s call or take a shower. Bathrooms typically have a toilet, sink, and shower or bathtub.
Comparing Restrooms and Bathrooms
Restrooms and bathrooms have many similarities, particularly when it comes to the fixtures and amenities. Both have toilets and sinks, although restrooms may have multiple stalls for simultaneous use. Bathrooms may also have a bathtub or shower, while restrooms may have urinals. Both feature hand dryers, paper towels, and soap dispensers.
However, there are some differences between restrooms and bathrooms that are worth noting.
Privacy – While both restrooms and bathrooms are generally private spaces, restrooms may have multiple stalls with little to no soundproofing, meaning you may not have as much privacy as you would in a home bathroom.
Cleanliness – Public restrooms can often experience high traffic, which can lead to lower levels of cleanliness. Bathrooms, particularly in a private residence, are generally cleaner and more hygienic.
Accessibility – Restrooms are designed for public use and must adhere to federal regulations for accessibility. This means that they must have wider doorways, grab bars, and other features to accommodate people with disabilities. Home bathrooms don’t have these requirements, and may not be as easily accessible to people with mobility issues.
Décor – Public restrooms often have a utilitarian design with little emphasis on decor or style, while home bathrooms can be designed as a personal oasis with luxurious soaker tubs, designer fixtures, and custom tile work.
Q. Can I use the restroom or bathroom interchangeably?
A. Yes and no. In casual conversation, people often use these terms interchangeably. However, it’s important to know the correct term when in a formal setting. Use “restroom” when referring to a public facility, and “bathroom” when referring to a private facility.
Q. Why are public restrooms sometimes called “lavatories” or “W.C.s”?
A. “Lavatory” is a more formal term for a restroom, and derives from the Latin word lavare, meaning “to wash.” “W.C.” stands for water closet, which is a term used in older homes that had a separate room for the toilet.
Q. Why are some public restrooms unisex?
A. Unisex restrooms are becoming more common in public spaces for a variety of reasons. They can accommodate people with disabilities or gender non-conforming individuals who may feel uncomfortable using a bathroom designated for a specific gender. They can also reduce a person’s anxiety or fear of an assault in a restroom.