Why don't people like downstairs bathrooms?

(61 Posts)
Maebe Fri 15-Mar-13 10:41:11

I keep seeing this pop up on so many threads and I'm always confused why people feel quite so strongly against downstairs bathrooms.

We have one - old converted/extended 2-up, 2-down, so it is off our kitchen. I've not only got used to it, I really quite like it now. It's surprisingly handy. For example...

It's great with young DCs, you can go to the loo without being a whole floor away from them (say if you only have an upstairs bathroom)

It makes getting ready in the morning so easy. I can have the baby's milk warming and the kettle boiling etc while I start the shower. I find that saves time as compared to when I had a house with an upstairs bathroom and was trudging up and down between floors. I can see it being easier when the DCs are older, they can be eating breakfast in the kitchen while I'm ten feet away showering etc.

And the same thing in the evenings - one of us bathes DC while the other is in the kitchen starting dinner, it's quite sociable really!

Also, I spend most of my time in my house downstairs. Where the loo is. Which is all very handy, really grin

Yes, once in a blue moon I wake up in the middle of the nights and think, arse, I've got to go downstairs to pee, but that's so rare. The only time it was an issue was when I was heavily pregnant, and then I just admitted defeat and had a bucket in the spare room. And tbh, the stairs were so annoying I half suspect I would have put a bucket somewhere downstairs if the bathroom had been upstairs!

Now, obviously the ideal would be some form of toilet on every floor, but not every house has room for that. So why do people hate the thought of a downstairs bathroom quite so much?

DontmindifIdo Fri 15-Mar-13 10:45:41

Most people hate it because most people store their clothes upstairs and get washed and dressed before going downstairs for breakfast, so they have to go downstairs in their jammies, have a shower, go back upstairs to get dressed then come down again. Also they are often off kitchens, and not everyone is relaxed about lingering poo smells from bathrooms to kitchens.

Mintyy Fri 15-Mar-13 10:47:27

I find people usually put their reasons for disliking downstairs bathrooms on the threads about them. We had one yesterday or the day before, would you like me to find it for you?

Pootles2010 Fri 15-Mar-13 10:48:05

Because when we have guests in the kitchen i don't want them to hear me peeing.

jammybean Fri 15-Mar-13 11:42:04

Who wants to have the eau de toilet next to the kitchen?!

jammybean Fri 15-Mar-13 11:43:37
GemmaTeller Fri 15-Mar-13 11:48:39

I don't think I'd like it as you'd be running up and downstairs to get ready in the morning and would seem a long way to go to the loo in the nighttime.

MyMelody Fri 15-Mar-13 11:55:57

it wouldn't bother me at all , for all the reasons you just mentioned, plus if bathroom is downstairs you have more room upstairs

AliceWChild Fri 15-Mar-13 11:58:33

I feel the same as you OP. I imagine people who don't like them usually don't have them. I was sniffy before I had one. Now I'm moving from one house with a downstairs bathroom to another. Makes it cheaper so great for me. I agree it was a pain when pregnant but I did same as you only with a lidded jug.

shrimponastick Fri 15-Mar-13 12:00:46

I guess it does make more sense to have a bathroom downstairs, apart from the privacy aspect.
we have a proper upstairs bathroom, but next to the kitchen is the utility whihc also has a toilet, sink and a disconnected shower.

I prefer to use the upstairs bathroom durng the day - as it is more private. But with teen boys in the house - it is handy having more than one loo/toothbrushing place. We are considering re instating the downstairs shower too - to make sure we all get time to shower on a morning..

nipersvest Fri 15-Mar-13 12:06:30

couple of reasons i don't like them, first, lived in a house with one as a student, it was cold, damp and we had to scrub the walls with bleach once a week to keep all the black stuff at bay, put me off for life to be honest. and second, the thought of waking up in the night, feeling sick and having to dash all the way from one end of the house to the other to use the loo, no thank you!

actually, there's more than 2 reasons, when we have people round for meals, i prefer the loo being far away from the kitchen.

My bathroom is down below street level, that is more of a pain in the arse as my house is on 3 floors! Makes going to the loo at night a bit of a pain, bit generally I don't mind it. Keeps me fit going up all those stairs.

I grew up in a house with a downstairs loo, never bothered me.

weegiemum Fri 15-Mar-13 12:13:52

I used to live in the outer Hebrides and for some reason downstairs bathrooms are pretty much ubiquitous there - very few houses are plumbed upstairs, very few ensuites either (though also quite a lot of downstairs bedrooms and upstairs lounges - our house there has an amazing upstairs lounge and the views are awesome). Now we mainly live in Glasgow, I've got used to upstairs (and - finally at the age of 42 - to an ensuite!) but I don't find downstairs ones off-putting or wrong at all. A friend who was an OT up there said it made home visits for elderly/disabled very easy!

I may eventually not be able to manage stairs any more due to a disability, and then we've the option here of an integral garage which could be converted into a downstairs bedroom with wet room. Hope we won't need to (though we might for extra space when there's 3 teenagers in the house!!)

Maebe Fri 15-Mar-13 12:22:38

I can appreciate the privacy issue, though our kitchen is so small there just isn't room for guests to be in there if we're having people over, for example, so no one hears anything.

Smell-wise - never noticed it at all. Like most people, if a smell has been produecd, the door is shut!

The getting ready in the morning part is really interesting. It's what you're used to, I guess. I get up, get baby, go downstairs, put the kettle and bottle on, start the shower, have a shower while baby drinks her milk, then we both go into the living room and I get dressed in there while catching the breakfast news. (This does force me to get my clothes ready the night before, which is one of those time-saving tips I never managed to achieve when I was getting ready in the bedroom!) Because I've got used to this, I imagine traipsing up
and down stairs between the kitchen and the bedroom would be a pita.

Of course, you get used to what you have and you find the good points. We could only put an upstairs bathroom in our house by losing the 3rd bedroom, and in our area that knocks a huge amount off the price of your house - all the houses in our run of streets are 2-up, 2-downs so a downstairs bathroom is standard. I guess for me, a downstairs bathroom and a 3rd bedroom is preferable to an upstairs bathroom and less/smaller bedrooms.

nipersvest, god, yes, I remember those hideous student conversions with bathrooms that were nothing more that an out-house, the damp was nightmarish <shudders>

IrnBruTheNoo Fri 15-Mar-13 12:38:09

Never liked the idea of a downstairs bathroom. We have a WC downstairs and the main bathroom is upstairs. I like the bathroom being upstairs because it means I can chat to the children in their bedrooms as I'm getting ready in the morning. I like guests to use the downstairs loo (which is in the hallway, opposite the kitchen).

DontmindifIdo Fri 15-Mar-13 12:38:26

weegiemum - that might be because of the risk of pipes freezing, where my parents have a house in france, it's very cold in the winter so it's normal to have all water piping downstairs, nothing upstairs, so if a pipe bursts over winter, it's not the whole house that's ruined.

ILikeBirds Fri 15-Mar-13 13:26:39

I like to sleep naked, a quick trip across the landing is no problem. Out the bedroom, down the stairs, through the lounge and the kitchen is more problematic. Especially if someone has already drawn the curtains!

Gingersnap88 Fri 15-Mar-13 13:48:00

I think it's really unhygienic if the bathroom (particularly the toilet)is directly off the kitchen. I prefer a lobby between them.

And with small DC, I find it a pain when I'm trying to cook and DD is constantly running into the bathroom to play with the toilet brush or whatever!

It's beyond horrid when someone is unwell in there and the rest of you are say next door listening to it all.

Mine is freezing cold and damp.

It doesn't smell nice after DH has been in there blush and I'm trying to cook

Oh I could go on wink

Goodwordguide Fri 15-Mar-13 13:48:21

The children often go in the middle of the night - that would be an issue if the loo was downstairs. I like the bathroom near the bedroom so I'm not wandering upstairs between shower and getting dressed (I also tend to walk round naked!).

Really not keen in one off the bathroom - a kitchen for me is a public space, the bathroom is not.

SpringHare Fri 15-Mar-13 13:56:31

It feels messy to me -- upstairs is for the private and personal, downstairs is for the social. I don't want to be traipsing back and forth in a towel. I think it would be particularly trying with and for visitors.

Magimedi Fri 15-Mar-13 15:57:03

Wait till you've got something like noro virus & want to lie in bed & have to run downstairs every time you need to go.

MoreBeta Fri 15-Mar-13 16:08:08

Main bathroom downstairs would be a definite no.

However, big housebuilders put a downstairs toilet in precisely because it is attractive to people with children. We are buying a house and planning to put a troilet in the utility room, not directly off the kitchen. I would quite like a shower there too.

GingerPCatt Fri 15-Mar-13 16:14:31

Ages ago when looking for a house to buy DH and I viewed one that had a downstairs wc but the bathtub was in the kitchen! It was listed as needed some renovation, but no. DH said it would be handy to make breakfast and have a bath at the same time.

Maebe Fri 15-Mar-13 17:36:02

Bath in the kitchen?! <boggles>

ILikeBirds Fri 15-Mar-13 17:37:09

Actually big housebuilders put a toilet downstairs because they are required to do so under building regulations part m

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 15-Mar-13 17:41:54

I need a loo on each floor as I need to pee about 20 times a day. I also like having a bath or shower near where my clothes and dressing table are, not near where the kitchen and the back door is.

"It feels messy to me -- upstairs is for the private and personal, downstairs is for the social. I don't want to be traipsing back and forth in a towel. I think it would be particularly trying with and for visitors."

Yes - exactly this!

I also don't want to lie in a nice scented bath with the smell of that evenings curry wafting through. And vice versa.

I don't want to advertise the fact that I've had a leaky period to all and sundry while I'm trekking through the kitchen in front of everyone.

equally body-fluids based reason: i don't want to go the loo after sex
Leaking semen down my leg as I run down the stairs


I don't want to be ill in bed and have to trek up and down either, particularly if guests are there.

I don't want to panic wondering what to do if dc wake up in the night about to vomit.

There are so many......

BalloonSlayer Fri 15-Mar-13 17:50:56

Where I grew up just about everyone had as their first few homes a 2-up, 2 down Victorian terrace which had the kitchen and bathroom stuck on the back. No one ever batted an eyelid.

I was gobsmacked a few years ago when our neighbours converted their 3 big bedroom end of terrace with a downstairs bathroom to a 2 bedroom end of terrace with an upstairs bathroom . . . there was plenty of room to turn one bedroom into a bathroom and a very small bedroom (that's what had been done to ours), but no, they got rid of a whole bedroom because the Estate Agent said no one would want it with a downstairs bathroom. shock What a waste of money!

Oblomov Fri 15-Mar-13 18:11:47

I don't like it. We have an upstairs bathroom and a downstairs WC, so all guests can use the one downstairs. Works very well.

herhonesty Fri 15-Mar-13 18:14:35

Privacy, inconvenience, faff and hastle factor. Coldness.

BackforGood Fri 15-Mar-13 18:26:19

I bet you don't like it so much once your dc are teens, and have friends draping themselves around the lounge and kitchen, when you want a bath / shower wink

Maebe Fri 15-Mar-13 19:49:42

Back, that's 15 years away so I'll worry about that then grin

I am intrigued about all the worry re peeing and that at night. I do get why people would prefer an upstairs bathroom but... are people only ever ill at night? Do they not need to pee during the day?

Strangely, our bathroom is one of the warmest rooms in the house. I don't quite get how a downstairs bathroom would be colder than an upstairs one?

i almost always need the loo in the night and i don't like the idea of having to go all the way downstairs. i have lived in a downstairs flat with the bathroom off the kitchen. it was ok, but i prefer bathroom upstairs. i'm not sure it's that surprising. if others like a downstairs bathroom then great!

a downstairs bathroom might well be colder because heat rises, but it rather depends on the layout/insulation

ILikeBirds Fri 15-Mar-13 19:55:51

A lot of people's experience of downstairs bathrooms is likely to be of a poorly built extension tacked on the back of victorian house. Often only built single skin and hence cold and damp as a result.

If you're ill and in bed, it doesn't matter whether it's day or night, you want the bathroom close to the bedroom.

Maebe Fri 15-Mar-13 19:56:03

I didn't mean to suggest it was surprising smile I'm just intrigued really why people would actually let it put them off a whole house, if the rest was great.

MrsJamin Fri 15-Mar-13 20:42:19

We are just about to leave our two up two down Vic terrace with bathroom off the kitchen. Now our boys are getting older we definitely need more Than one bathroom, as the youngest will be potty training soon. There's definite down sides and I am glad to be leaving here. Running downstairs with a vomiting toddler is not fun. Having a child doing a smelly poo whilst you're cooking is not fun. I am looking forward to going straight from the bathroom to my bedroom without going through the kitchen, dining room, up the stairs, etc. However for a time it was fine and didn't bother us, plus we sold this pretty quickly so I don't think it does bother everyone especially without children.

AliceWChild Fri 15-Mar-13 22:10:26

Yes I think it seems to be a specific type of downstairs bathroom people are talking about. Mine isn't off the kitchen, nor in a cold damp extension.

StrangerintheNight Sat 16-Mar-13 00:04:33

I lived in a flat for a year with a combined bathroom/kitchen. There was a separate toilet, but the shower was right next to the cooker, and there were 2 sinks, one for dishes, one for brushing teeth etc.

Not great for privacy, although this was continental Europe, so privacy a concept which only prudish British girls worried about. Flatmate and I had to have quite a well organised morning routine...

lalalonglegs Sat 16-Mar-13 08:40:58

Another reason not to like them is that they usually cut off the "normal" access to the garden, you generally have to come out of a side door in the kitchen and go down a narrow side return which is a bit of a bleurgh space rather than being able to walk out of a door at the rear of the kitchen into the main section of garden. They just seem to get in the way.

Agree with everyone who has said that they are often cold and damp too.

fatnfrumpy Sat 16-Mar-13 10:27:12

We are renovating a e 3 bed with bathroom off the kitchen.
We asked the EA should be sacrifice the 3rd bedroom and move the bathroom upstairs. They said a definate no!
However we are making room between bed 1 and 2 for a shower room and toilet.
Would that make a difference to all the downstairs bathroom haters?

georgedawes Sat 16-Mar-13 10:28:29

I just remember having food poisoning as a child and not making it to the toilet on time, then vomiting all over the kitchen walls. Yuk.

Fat - (weird to call someone that to get their attention in a nice way wink) yes that would make all the difference too me. Not sacrificing a bedroom but still able to run for a shit in the middle of the night grin

Maebe Sat 16-Mar-13 10:44:06

Fatnfrumpy, I think that would be the ideal. We're not planning on being in this house for years, but if we were, or the next house still has a downstairs bathroom, we'd find a way to put a teeny en-suite loo somewhere. But sacrificing a 3rd bedroom, or even turning the 2 doubles, 1 single into a 1 double, 2 single, would actually knock quite a lot off your house.

Most people would probably prefer to have a toilet on all floors. If there was a toilet on each floor I can't see how it would be an enormous issue which floor the actual bath/shower was on.

(Also I can admit the area I am in, most of the houses have downstairs bathrooms and the conversions are all done well - at least in everything we viewed to buy - so no smelly, damp extensions, so this undoubtedly biases me)

Bunbaker Sat 16-Mar-13 10:47:48

"I think it's really unhygienic if the bathroom (particularly the toilet)is directly off the kitchen."

I think modern building regulations demand that there should be two doors between a downstairs toilet and the kitchen.

I would hate a downstairs bathroom for all the reasons given here already. I wouldn't even bother looking at a house that didn't have an upstairs bathroom, unless it was a bungalow. I think the OP must just have babies in nappies to not understand why most people prefer an upstairs bathroom.

I don't think it is just larger houses that now have downstairs toilets. All small modern houses I have been in lately also have downstairs toilets, and a lot of them manage to squeeze in an en-suite bathroom.

Maebe Sat 16-Mar-13 11:45:18

Bun, I get the preference for an upstairs toilet. As I said, I'd rather have one. Yes, I do still have a baby in nappies, but I can see why you'd like the kids to be able to pee easily at night. I'm also thinking about a bathroom. As I said, if you have a toilet on each floor, I'm intrigued why people would prefer the bath/shower to be upstairs. Like I said, I'm discovering a lot of pros. Once you take the toilet out of the equation, so to speak, (which as you say, for most modern houses is the case, though where I live most of the housing stock is older so those with toilets on every floor are either very large, or have had room cut out of a bedroom to make an en-suite) there's a lot of benefits to a downstairs bathroom.

(Obviously if someone could give me one bathroom per person I'd be a very happy bunny grin)

annh Sat 16-Mar-13 12:23:23

Who are you trying to persuade here?! Yourself or us? If it works for you, great. Personally it would be of not benefit to me to have a downstairs bathroom as I don't have small children so no need for supervising them at breakfast while having a shower, etc and I really wouldn't want to be getting dressed in the living room either. Horses for courses.

BackforGood Sat 16-Mar-13 12:35:55

Well, as annh suggests - people have given you lots of reasons, but it seems you don't actually want to know why people prefer their bathroom upstairs.
Mainly though - once you've changed the question and now said there could be a toilet upstairs - is that people doon't want to traipse across the landing, down the stairs, along the hallway (or through the living room), then through the kitchen, having to carry all their clothes they are going to put on with them, each time they have a shower or bath. If you forget something, you can nip across the landing in the nude if you like, or just with a towel round you, without having to do the journey where other people will be.

jamaisjedors Sat 16-Mar-13 14:33:02

I totally get what you are saying.

We have an upstairs bathroom and a downstairs one, and we only ever use the downstairs one, for all the reasons you state.

When the DC were v. little it was perfect, and even now, I start them on breakfast and go and have my shower - they are only a room away if they need me.

Like you, we get clothes together the night before and get dressed straight from the shower.

It is not off the kitchen though, there is a room (our study) in-between.

It means I can mn in the study while the DC brush their teeth in the bathroom next door!

Bunbaker Sat 16-Mar-13 15:14:36

It sounds to me that it is more practical for some of you to have a downstairs bathroom when your children are little.

I still don't like the thought of having a bathroom so near to family living. To me it doesn't afford much privacy, especially when you have people staying. I like to be upstairs, away from the rest of the household while performing my ablutions. I like being able to nip across the landing if I have forgotten something. Even though we have a downstairs loo I still prefer to run upstairs when I need to go. Besides, the exercise is good for me.

PlasticLentilWeaver Sat 16-Mar-13 16:04:13

Fatnfrumpy - don't put a jack and Jill bathroom in, unless you want to hear every bodily function of any guest who uses the other bedroom! We are currently living in a rental like this, and I admit to refusing to view any house with a jack and jill as a potential purchase as it has put me off so much. Saying that, this house also has a downstairs bathroom, and a separate downstairs shower room. Its only a 3 bed hmm.

We have also just sold a 2 up 2 down with bathroom downstairs at the back, off the kitchen. Its a little Victorian place that didn't have a bathroom at all until 1952. Didn't put me off buying it, and doesn't seem to have made it hard to sell on.

We live in a converted bungalow and the bathroom is downstairs off the hallway.
For me it has more negatives than positives. It doesn't bother me too much that at night I have to go downstairs apart from running through the house naked and when the dc were small it meant they could bath while I cooked etc. but now they're older they've worked out they can poo on the loo with the door open to watch tv, also if any of them feel sick at night there's no way they would make it down t e stairs so we always have a sick bowl upstairs.
For me it's the fact that sometimes I'm in the bath/loo and someone comes to visit and then stands talking in the hallway right outside the bathroom door. Plus after the bath I have to traips through the house in a towel in full view.

It's due to these reasons why we've considered moving a shower room upstairs.

Maebe Sat 16-Mar-13 21:01:19

I see how that sounds like changing the question blush Didn't mean it to sound like that, I guess in my head it made sense that there was a distinction between a bathroom and a toilet, completely get why people would like a toilet in each floor. I spend more time downstairs that upstairs, so at the moment having the toilet downstairs is more convenient and I don't find it a problem at night. And not trying to convince anyone, I was genuinely just intrigued (as I said before) why some felt so strongly about it that it would put them off an otherwise great house.

GreenEggsAndNichts Sat 16-Mar-13 21:59:00

The problem is, it would have to be a great house. As in, significantly better than anything else in that price range. And if we're now saying that the upstairs has a loo, and the downstairs has the bath, then (for me) that arrangement would only be acceptable if it did not require me having to walk through all living areas/kitchen in order to have a shower. It's fine if we're just here as a family but not ideal when we have guests or extended family/inlaws around. I, for one, am a pro at forgetting little things, forgetting I've left my hair towel on the hook in the bedroom instead of the bath, for example. I'd be forever back and forth through the house to fetch them. It's just not ideal, and if you're looking to buy a house you want to live in for a long time, why settle for something which you already know will irk you?

Jaynebxl Sun 17-Mar-13 10:44:20

We have a loo upstairs but our main bathroom is downstairs. I would have been put off the house if there had been no upstairs loo but I've never minded the downstairs bathroom. In fact I quite like it with young children. If they are ill or have a wee accident in the day it is easy to just plonk them in the shower, for example.
The house we are moving to has two bathrooms upstairs and one bathroom downstairs plus a loo. I suspect there are times we will still choose to use the downstairs bathroom for convenience but no doubt we will use the upstairs ones more.

Jaynebxl Sun 17-Mar-13 10:45:12

And actually when we were selling our current house we had 17 viewings in three days and only one of those was at all sniffy about the downstairs bathroom.

Jaynebxl Sun 17-Mar-13 10:45:49

I think people generally accept it is often par for the course if you go for an interesting period house.

Bunbaker Sun 17-Mar-13 10:57:38

"And actually when we were selling our current house we had 17 viewings in three days and only one of those was at all sniffy about the downstairs bathroom."

Don't most people read the particulars of a house before viewing? I would have though that this would have weeded out the ones who wouldn't want a downstairs bathroom.

DontmindifIdo Sun 17-Mar-13 11:01:16

bunbaker - yep, DH wouldn't view a house with only a downstairs bathroom, becuase there's no way he'd agree to buy it, so why waste everyone's time.

Bunbaker Sun 17-Mar-13 11:08:28

"bunbaker - yep, DH wouldn't view a house with only a downstairs bathroom"

Neither would we.

Jaynebxl Sun 17-Mar-13 12:15:54

So would I Bunbaker which goes to show how many people were still interested despite the downstairs bathroom. And one person who didn't read the particulars grin

Coconutfeet Sun 17-Mar-13 19:48:30

We were put off houses with downstairs bathrooms for the reasons mentioned but also because they're usually between the kitchen and the garden so you can't supervise children playing outside while you're in the kitchen, or open the kitchen up to the garden with French doors, which is something I really like the idea of.

They're fairly common where we used to live and they were always really cold and damp.

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