What Makes A Bathroom The Best?

How does one evaluate what’s a go-go and what’s a no-no when it comes to a lovely lavatory?

It is tempting, and even reasonable, to quote former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s threshold test for obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio (which I’m sure we’re all familiar with, but here’s the Wikipedia page just in case) in saying, “I know it when I see it.”

But this would be to negate the obligation I have put upon myself as a toilet room tastemaker. It should be said that luxury is not the standard here, but rather personality… as well as few personal preferences.

Below are the metrics I use when hitting the head:


How low is the barrier to entry for the bathroom? No codes or keys attached to handbells, please.

This is an abuse of power. No one deserves this.

This is an abuse of power. No one deserves this.

A Sense of Place

Does the bathroom bring in aspects and elements of the establishment itself? Is there a theme here like The Jungle Cafe in Greenpoint or are you missing a golden opportunity to double-down? Maybe you’re not theme-forward, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for...

A Pleasant Surprise

In an otherwise unassuming establishment, bathrooms are a chance to add some spunk. Good art, clever signage, and obscure fixtures can all add a “whoa” factor - like walking into a water closet and suddenly being in Narnia (those books were pretty cool).

No Soap Shaming

This refers to a bathroom that places the sink and soap dispenser outside of the main bathroom area. I realize this may be due to a space issue, but it is also my firm belief that a patron has a right to choose whether or not to wash their hands. There is an obvious sanitation choice here, but nonetheless no one should ever be pressured into making that choice under the judgemental eye of their peers and fellow patrons.

Making The Most of the Space

Nothing tugs at my toilet strings quite like a bit of creativity in the crapper. Use that end bit of exposed piping for the toilet paper holder, and you have my attention.

Gags & Gimmicks

Big time bonus points go to bathrooms that add a little fun-loving hospitality or an element of “well, you just don’t see that everyday!” For example the pull-chain-to-flush functionality at Black Brick in Williamsburg. Got a pile of outdated Sports Illustrated magazines in a basket? A little toadstool for a DIY squatty potty? The plugger is actually a repurposed fire poker from the 1890s? That gets a big ‘ole yes, yes, and that’s-a-little-impractical-but-I’m-sure-we-can-make-it-work from me!

Yank to flush!

Yank to flush!

The Basics

I’m not looking to be pampered, but soft toilet tissue goes a long way.

What do you think makes for a wonderful washroom?

Drop a line below and it might just change everything - submit a premium powder room that you think should make the list or dive in and start reading.

Name *