Skip To Content

What Is a Water Closet? A Bathroom With Privacy Galore


What is a water closet? In short, it’s essentially a room within a bathroom with a toilet where you can do your business in peace, closed off from anyone who might be brushing their teeth or singing to Shania Twain in the shower. In other words, a water closet is a godsend to anyone who’s forced to share a bathroom and dying to carve out a bit more privacy (because after all, doesn’t everyone deserve some alone time now and then?).

A brief, sordid history of water closets and human waste

Little-known fact: Back in history, the term “bathroom” described a room in a home with a bath—that’s it. People relieved themselves outdoors in outhouses. Then in 1870, the concept of “water closets”—meaning indoor rooms with toilets—became popular in wealthy residences and luxury hotels (which is why you’ll often see the letters WC on doors in hotels).

By 1890, public awareness about the connection between human waste and disease led homeowners at large to demand water closets of their own. But even then, in the United Kingdom, “bathrooms” and “toilets” remained separate rooms with distinct functions. At some point in the 1900s, American builders began merging bathrooms and toilets into one room, supposedly to save a little space, but at great sacrifice to privacy. All this may explain why water closets are piquing home buyers’ interest today.

What does a water closet look like?

In the real estate world, you may see water closets listed as “toilet rooms” or even jokingly referred to as a “private library” (since many do, in fact, read in there). In many cases, water closets will literally look like little closets inside a bathroom with a closing door or a sliding pocket door. There will be just enough room for the toilet and a paper roll unless it’s fancy, in which case there may be a sink in there as well.

what is a water closet NOPA Bathroom and Powder Room
Photo by Christy Allen Designs

Some water closets have no door at all. Instead, walls on either side create a sort of enclosed space. Even a wall of shelves will do the job (hey, more room for reading material!).

what is a water closet White Rock
Photo by Enviable Designs Inc. 

Separate toilet rooms are fairly common throughout Europe and Japan. They are less common in the U.S., aside from the luxury market, but that’s changing fast.

Why have a water closet?

The main advantage of a water closet it that it makes sharing a bathroom with family members easier. It means your kids can relieve themselves while you’re in the shower without having to do a waiting dance in the hallway, or that you can use the toilet while your spouse brushes his teeth without feeling like you’re working at cross-purposes.

There is also the idea that a toilet room is more hygienic: Studies have shown that flushing sends microbes into the air, and you don’t want your toothbrushes in the line of fire. (Of course, you could just close the toilet lid before flushing, too.)

Whether or not a water closet is actually cleaner, most people would agree it’s nice to have a barrier for any smells, sounds, and sights you might be exposed to otherwise.

For all these reasons, a water closet makes a home where bedrooms outnumber bathrooms more attractive to  buyers. That’s why it’s often worth mentioning in listings. If you’re planning to put your one-bathroom home on the market, you might want to consider adding a water closet if there’s room. All it mainly takes is building a wall, which isn’t that hard. And just think of all the private time you’ll get in return!

The post What Is a Water Closet? A Bathroom With Privacy Galore appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

Comments are closed.

About our blog

+1 us on Google Plus!