According to a bathroom habits survey by the bathroom manufacturers association UK, an average person spends 30 minutes in the bathroom daily.
That is more than 182 hours per year for each individual, and over a 60 years life span, one spends more than a year simply in the bathroom!
So the bottom line is - bathrooms are quite crucial. The earliest bathroom was made in the third millennium BC as humans had invented indoor plumbing by then.
It is the 21st century and we are now almost obsessed with bathrooms, so much so that we have quite a number of them to choose from- full-baths, half-baths, powder rooms, en suite baths, master baths, steam rooms, saunas etc.
We visited the sanitary market of Dhaka and talked to shop owners about the fittings, fixtures and other accessories that are available in the market. According to them, currently, more than 20 companies have their products in our local market.
Toto, Kohler, Bravet, Grohe, Inax, American Standard, Jaguar, Eago and Duravit- are some of the foreign companies that prevail in the Bangladeshi sanitary market.
And as for local companies, we have RAK, Star, Charu, Rosa, Ruby, Tilottoma, Akij, Sheltech and Square and they control almost 80-85% of the entire market. They are more affordable than the foreign ones.
Md Abdur Rashid owns a bathroom and kitchen accessories store in the Banglamotor area.
According to him, as Bangladesh is an emerging economy, people have more money to spend on luxury products. That is why the market is expanding.
Bathroom fittings and fixtures
Bathroom fittings are the little accessories that are removable - cabinets, mirrors, soap and paper holders, towel racks etc.
While the fixtures are taps, showers, floor drains, commodes, basins, bathtubs etc, which are not easily removable and are directly connected to the water supply system.
At present, 60 to 70 types of bathroom fittings and fixture items are available in the market.
In the sanitary market, these products are divided into two categories- the shower section or the functional part that incorporates the ceramic and metal fixtures and the accessories or the non-functional part.
The shower section has too many items- just do not get overwhelmed. It has a 'water mixture', which is basically a popular term for a warm and cold water supply system in a single tap.
You will also find showers (rain shower, head shower, hand shower), jet spray, angle, shower column, floor drain and basin waste drain, etc.
Again commode/ Indian pan (water closet), basin, bathtub are also parts of fixtures. These are basically made of ceramic and fibre while taps and showerheads are primarily metal products.
The non-functional part incorporates the items that do not involve water supply lines like towel rack or rings, soap holders, paper or tissue holders, mirrors, cabinets etc.
If we talk about colours, stainless steel with chromium layering and a glossy finish is the most popular for metal fixtures.
If you want to get fancier you will get golden, black or even custom colours in a glossy or matt finish.
And for ceramic fixtures, white, ivory, or off-white are the most popular colours, almost 90% of customers choose in this range. But you will get black and other primary colours in mirror glossy or matt finished ones too.
Depending on the quality, company, and material, the price varies a lot. According to sanitary business owners, you can design a basic and moderate bathroom for about Tk50,000.
Md Abdur Rashid said, "Local company products are affordable. But the imported ones of almost the same quality are pricier due to the import tax."
Another businessman Rajib Das said, "You can spend a fortune on bathroom fittings, these have now become almost luxury items."
And the market prices prove that. For example, a single basic basin may cost you Tk1,000 and it can go upto 2 lakh!
What to consider while choosing your fittings and fixtures
We talked to a number of architects and interior designers and every one of them was consistent about one thing- fixtures and fittings should be some of the first choices you make to adjust with your budget and aesthetic.
Because these are some of the most heavily used features in a bathroom. But changing or repairing them can be a tedious task.
It is always possible to save on tiles or paint, but your fixtures and fittings should be budgeted from the beginning so that you do not compromise with the quality.
Here are some of the suggestions that you can keep in mind while browsing for fittings:
Start taking note of product prices from the very beginning. It will help you to maintain the budget tracker so that you do not have to compromise at the last-minute. Compare the price and design available in the market.
These are the most used as well as visible items in your interior. That implies they should truly reflect your aesthetics and also be of high quality in order to stand the test of time. So be very clear about your preferences.
Have an idea board or a vision board on your Pinterest. What colours do you like? Do they match the overall colour and aesthetic theme of your home? Do you prefer modern or classic designs? Who will be using the bathroom? What is the overall weather of the area you live in? Ask these questions before adding anything to the board.
Apart from durability and functionality, one of the factors that you should consider is the cleaning process. It is important to regularly clean them to maintain their shiny appearance.
Have a proper idea about the area of your bathroom. You may want a rain shower, a top shower, and then another push shower- but you may not have the space. Having too many items may turn your bathroom into a cluttered mess.
How to clean your fixtures and fittings
A rusty, discoloured tap can destroy the overall appearance of your bathroom. So can a water-stained bathtub or dirty glass panels.
Keep in mind that with time, your faucets and fixtures will get stained and corroded.
Limescale, a hard, chalky deposit of calcium carbonate, accumulates in the tap filters, causing the flow of water to slow down.
Soap and dirt also build up on the corners of the taps. It is important to regularly clean them to maintain their sparkly appearance.
Clean your faucets with a little soap, preferably dish soap, warm water and moist cloth. Avoid using strong cleaners that scratch the chrome plating.
You can use mild acids like vinegar or lemon. Make a solution of equal quantities of white vinegar and warm water. Dip a cloth into the mixture and use it to clean your taps.
Baking soda has become very popular nowadays with 5-minutes crafts and Blossom videos and sometimes it does work well. Pour some baking soda and a little bit of water on the stain, and scrub away with a toothbrush.
The metal-plated faucets have delicate finishes, so you will have to steer clear of abrasive cleaning products. Use a diluted mixture of mild soap and distilled water on a sponge or microfiber cloth. It is best to avoid regular water that can stain the delicate metal plating.
For the bathtub, basin, glass cabinets and mirror, do not use any hard scrub. If you clean regularly, mild soap, water, and vinegar should be enough to keep them clean.
The commode may need some harsh stain removals, but if you clean it regularly, it will be shiny for a longer time.