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Typical furnishings in a bathroom: bathtub , shower , sink , bidet and toilet

A bathroom or North German bathing room ( colloquially short bath ) describes the room of an apartment or a building in which people bathe or shower , wash their hands or “freshen up”. The bathroom is also used for shaving , hair care , make-up and brushing teeth .

Before it became common practice in the post-war period to equip every apartment with a private bathroom, public bathhouses and bathing establishments were visited .

The term wet cell, which is often used for bathrooms , generally refers to rooms in which there are water extraction points and in which the floor is "waterproof", such as a shower cubicle , a laundry room or toilet and wash rooms in a company.


Prefabricated wet room made of molded plastic parts in a hotel in Innsbruck , 1970s

In a large city like Copenhagen , only 3.8% of all homes had a bathroom in 1906. When the Hotel Ritz opened in London in the same year , it had a bathroom in every suite as a novelty .

A general spread of bathrooms in Germany did not take place until the second half of the 20th century . New buildings in the 1950s were still referred to as a “wet cell”. Previously, in tanks, vats or tubs in the kitchen , laundry room or in cities in public baths, the so-called People's bathrooms bathed. Until then, only very wealthy people could afford a bathroom. The following prerequisites had to be met for the luxury of a bathroom: a separate room that could be heated as much as possible, running water , a connection to the house sewer system , a special stove or boiler that was large enough to be able to heat a relatively large amount of water, and finally a bathtub . The so-called Frankfurt bath was a transitional form; the bathtub in this type of apartment was in the kitchen or bedroom .


Normal inventory in a bathroom is a bathtub and / or shower and sink, as well as soaps, brushes, towels and fittings . Nowadays, a toilet is usually part of the bathroom, and in many countries a bidet too . Bathroom ideas have recently taken on a new dimension. In addition to purely functional elements such as shower or toilet, bathroom ideas for spa elements are increasingly moving into modern bathroom concepts ( e.g. sauna cabins, infrared heat cabins , whirlpools , fitness equipment, etc.)

Accessibility is becoming more and more important in bathrooms so that they can also be used by elderly people with physical disabilities, for example. For this purpose, for example, shower trays are dispensed with and instead only a floor drain is provided, the toilet is placed a little higher so that it is easier to get up.

Construction planning

The VDI guideline 6000 sheet 1 contains minimum dimensions as well as requirements for the equipment of bathrooms and other sanitary rooms. (The dimensions of particularly small versions in brackets.) A standard washbasin is therefore 60 cm wide and 55 cm deep, while a purely hand washbasin is 45 cm wide and 35 cm deep. A wall-hung toilet bowl, like a bidet, is 40 (35) cm wide and 60 (53) cm deep, while a free-standing toilet or a toilet with a cistern on top requires 75 (66) cm deep space. Urinals are 40 (29) cm wide and 40 (21) cm deep. A bathtub is usually 170 (160) × 75 (70) cm in size. A shower tray is usually either 80 × 80 cm or 75 × 90 cm in size.

In bathrooms without windows, mechanical ventilation must be provided in accordance with DIN 18017 Part 3 . It has proven useful to switch on a single room fan in exhaust air mode together with the lighting in the bathroom. Usually an overrun relay is provided so that ventilation continues for a few minutes after leaving the bathroom. It can be advantageous to switch lights and ventilation separately from one another, but via a common series switch. In this way, light and ventilation can be activated together with one movement. To avoid the ventilation noise, only the light can be switched on if necessary. If there is a lot of moisture, the ventilation can alternatively be operated alone without the light being on.

electric security

In rooms with a bathtub or shower there is a higher risk for people - due to the at least temporarily damp ambient conditions - than in the otherwise usual dry environment of being endangered by electrical systems and equipment. There are therefore special requirements for the electrical systems in these rooms, which are the subject of the international standard IEC 60364-7-701: 2006-02 and for Germany are dealt with in DIN - VDE standard 0100-701: 2008-10.

For electrical systems in rooms with a bathtub and shower, the specified areas 0, 1 and 2 and their limits in accordance with DIN VDE 0100-701: 2008-10 must be taken into account. The type of approved electrical equipment, the required degree of protection , the permissible operating voltage and the design of cables and line systems in the individual areas are strictly regulated. The following information provides a simplified and abbreviated overview of the key points in the standard; For detailed questions, contact a qualified electrician .

  • In area 0 , electrical equipment may only be installed if, according to the manufacturer's instructions, it is expressly suitable for use and assembly for this area and is fixed in place and permanently connected and with a low voltage SELV with a nominal voltage of AC 12 V or DC 30 V and protection class IPX7 exhibit.
  • In the range 1 to electrical equipment may only be established when they are suitable according to the manufacturer's instructions for use and assembly in this field and are fixedly attached to their respective ports and for other resources as (approved for mains operation) Whirlpool facilities, shower pumps, consumables for ventilation , Towel dryer and water heater with low voltage SELV with a nominal voltage of AC 25 V or DC 60 V and protection class IPX4 or in the jet water area IPX5.
  • In area 2 electrical equipment may only be built if they meet minimum degree of protection IPX4 and if no outlets (including those not with hinged lid) are.

All circuits must be protected by a residual current device (RCD) with a rated differential current of I ΔN = 30 mA. This also applies to cables and line systems that only run through the room but are intended for another room.

Installation distributors are not permitted in rooms with a bathtub or shower, and if they are installed in an adjacent room, a residual mineral wall thickness of at least 6 cm from the room with a shower or bathtub must be observed.

For under grandfathering standing retrofitting old plants to current technology (standard conditions) is not required as long as the plant is not expanded. Existing sockets can be replaced at any time with the same type or with those with additional protection (SRCDs or, more commonly, FI sockets). However, if a socket is relocated or another is added, it must be upgraded to the current state of the art. The entire supply circuit (including the cables and wiring) must therefore be protected with an RCD (which requires continuous three-wire wiring to the next distributor).

See also


  • Karl Michael Armer, Klaus Kramer: bath tubs. Yesterday - today - tomorrow . Published by Hansgrohe. DuMont, Cologne 1993, ISBN 3-7701-3244-0
  • Francoise de Bonneville: The Book of the Bath . 2nd Edition. Heyne, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-89910-160-X
  • Klaus Kramer: The private house bathroom 1850–1950 and the development of the sanitary trade. Texts and materials for the exhibition in the Hansgrohe Museum Wasser, Bad, Design, Schiltach / Black Forest . Hansgrohe, Schiltach 1997, ISBN 3-9805874-0-1 ( PDF version )
  • Dieter Pfister : History of a Room Type , in: Manufactories for Kitchen & Bath, special supplement to the magazine Ideales Heim , October 2014, p. 28.
  • Christina Trupat: “Take a bath at home!” On the history of the bathroom in Germany since the middle of the 19th century . In: Technikgeschichte, Vol. 63 (1996), H. 3, pp. 219-236.

Web links

Wiktionary: Bathroom  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Bathroom  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wilfried Dieckmann: Grafenhausen: Heimatmuseum auf der Höhe der Zeit , Badische Zeitung, June 2, 2012, accessed on July 15, 2012
  2. Adolf Schmieger: Sittengeschichte des Abstiegs , in: Sittengeschichte des Intimen: Bed - Corset - Shirt - Pants - Bath - Settlement. The history and development of intimate everyday objects, ed. by Leo Schidrowitz, Vienna and Leipzig undated (= moral history of the cultural world and its development in individual representations), pp. 269–313
  3. ^ Bathroom Planning Guidelines ( Memento of September 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), excerpt from "NKBA Professional Resource Library Kitchen Planning and Bath Planning Volumes", 2007, National Kitchen & Bath Association.
  4. Werner Hörmann; Bernd Schröder; Burkhard Schulze: Setting up electrical systems in rooms with a bathtub or shower: Commentary on DIN VDE 0100-701. (VDE series of publications; Volume 67a) . 4th edition. VDE-Verlag, Berlin and Offenbach 2010, ISBN 978-3-8007-3134-3 .
  5. National exception for Germany: with the exception of permanently connected water heaters