Can a bathroom door swing out?
Not a lot of people think about this question, to be honest. That’s reflected in a lot of bathroom makeover articles in famous websites. Their articles talk about which colors to use for the bathroom, improving bathroom storage, and maybe discussing the use of clean plastic shower doors. You’d rarely find any of these articles even asking such a thing about the bathroom doors.
So, do bathroom doors swing in or out? If you really think about it, you’d realize that just about all the bathroom doors you’ve encountered, they all swing inwards. It’s true for all the homes you’ve lived in, in all the homes of the friends you’ve visited, and in all the hotel rooms you’ve tried.
Why Should a Bathroom Door Swing Inwards?
It’s so obvious a placement that very few people even really think about having their bathroom door swing outwards. But let’s really think about it, and list down all these “obvious reasons”.
It Doesn’t Get in the Way for Corridors and Hallways
Imagine opening a bathroom door that doesn’t swing open towards the inside of a bathroom. Instead, it swings outside. That means when the bathroom door is open, it’s blocking the corridor or hallway. It will bother people who are walking through.
When you open the door outwards while you’re inside the bathroom, you may just accidentally hit someone walking through the corridor. The whole outward swing design seems like an accident (or an injury) waiting to happen. Not to mention it’s always bothersome and inconvenient.
You Can Lock It with a Bolt
When you’re in the bathroom, in most cases you’re doing things for which you require some privacy. Naturally, you’d want to lock the bathroom door, and a simple sliding latch door lock works just fine.
The lock is inside, since you’re the one who’s locking the door. People outside won’t be able to get in, and they can’t get to the lock inside, obviously.
Now imagine that the door swings outward. If you’re a guest at a house and you enter a bathroom with a door that swings outward, then you might get a bit leery. That’s true even if there’s a bolt lock inside for security and privacy.
That’s because someone can just prop a chair or a huge table against the door, and you’re effectively locked inside the bathroom. An outward swinging door seems like tailor-made for an abductor straight out of a horror movie. If the bathroom door swung inwards, then the chair or table blocking the door won’t make as much sense, right?
Easier to Open from the Outside
This is a lot more crucial than you’d think. You only have to imagine a dire emergency when you really have to use the bathroom, or else you’re going to make a public mess at any second. That means every second counts, including when you’re opening the bathroom door.
You can just push through, turn around and lock the bathroom door. That takes a shorter amount of time than having to pull the door outwards to get it to open. Those few crucial seconds lost might just be the difference between heavenly relief and the most embarrassing moment of your life.
Keeping the Smell Inside
When you’ve just done defecating in the bathroom, you don’t really want other people in the house to know about that private business. That’s especially true when you’re a visitor, and you’re using your host’s bathroom. It’s a rather “icky” topic, and some people even refer to the whole business as doing “number two” to refer to it.
Which brings us to the smell associated with it. It’s not exactly a pleasant smell, so we’d rather not let the smell spread throughout the house. And a bathroom door that swings inwards helps. It’s commonly known that when the bathroom door swings inwards, it keeps the smell inside more effectively. When the bathroom door swings outward, then you run the risk of having the smell spread out of the bathroom.
We’re not exactly sure why this is so. Perhaps the direction of the door swing affects the resulting movement of the air inside the bathroom (which then affects the travel of the smell).
When the door swings inward, somehow, it’s like letting the outside air come inside the bathroom. That keeps the smell inside the bathroom.
But when the door swings outwards, it somehow lets the bathroom air out, which then brings the smell along with it.
Potential Reasons for a Bathroom Door to Swing Outwards
However, if you keep an open mind and think about it, there are some possible reasons why some people might consider putting in a bathroom door that swings outwards.
The Bathroom is Tiny
Admittedly, the inward-swinging bathroom door that take up a lot more space than you might first think. After all, you need to keep the space in front of the door free, or else the door won’t swing open. Also, you’re unable to put in bathroom fixtures up against the wall where the bathroom door might hit.
With a door that swings outwards, then you have a bit more freedom in where you can place your bathroom fixtures. You can also stand right in front of the door to open it, when you’re inside the bathroom.
Easier to Open from the Outside
Sure, this is a problem if you have security and privacy issues. When you’re using the bathroom, you normally don’t want people on the outside to find it easy to open the door.
But it’s a different matter when you have kids that somehow find themselves often locked inside the bathroom. Also, it can be an issue if you have handicapped or forgetful adults with similar issues. You’d want to be able to get the bathroom door open if something happens, and for that, it’s more helpful to have a bathroom door that swings outwards.
There’s also another extra advantage when the door swings outwards. You can just keep the door slightly open when you’re washing your hands. When you’re done washing your hands, you won’t have to touch the door knob to pull the door open. You can just push through to get out.
Can a handicap bathroom door swing out?
Yes, it can. In fact, some people might even recommend it. While you can help open the door for a handicapped person to get inside the bathroom, that person can open the door more easily from inside when the door swings outward. Remember, when they’re inside the bathroom, they don’t usually have anyone to help them open the door. They’re generally on their own.
Also, if they get in trouble inside, you’ll find it easier to open the bathroom from the outside.
Can a bedroom door swing outward?
In theory, it’s an option. But in real life, it’s impractical. Basically, most of the issues are the same as with the bathroom door.
When you’re in the bedroom, you want a door that swings inward for greater privacy and security as well. That’s the main reason for the door to swing inwards. If there’s a home intruder, then you can get a chair (or even your bed) to block the door from opening inwards. You can’t do that when the door swings outwards.
Can a bathroom door swing out instead of in?
It is true that there are some cases where a bathroom door that swings outward can make some sense. If you have a tiny bathroom and the door swings outward to a space that people don’t often use (like the end of a corridor), then it can work.
It’s also quite helpful when you have kids, senior adults, and perhaps even folks with disabilities that often end up trapped in the bathroom. If all these conditions are present, then maybe the door for the bathroom should swing outward.
But the truth here is that in the vast majority of cases, the bathroom door should just swing inwards. It just makes too much sense, and the advantages of that design far outweighs the supposed drawbacks.
Of course, it’s still up to you. But I’d be really careful about a bathroom door that swings outward. If I happen to be a guest inside the home of someone I just met, and I notice that the bathroom I’m going to use has a door that swings outward, I’d be very worried. It’s just like a horror movie scenario.
Even in your home, it doesn’t really make sense. It’s not very secure, and it’s more difficult to lock yourself inside a bathroom if there’s a home intruder. Heck, the home intruder can just as easily lock you inside by pushing a heavy piece of furniture to block the door from opening. Then they’d have all the time they need to loot your home.