A washroom, also known as a powder room, lavatory, restroom, bathroom, water closet or loo, is a room that contains at least a toilet and hand basin. Larger washrooms might also contain a shower or tub, baby diaper changing facilities, a bidet or numerous fixtures as seen in public washrooms. A washroom partition is a wall or part of a wall that separates one or more of the washroom fixtures from the other, usually to provide privacy or enhance interior design. Different types of washroom partitions abound and are built according to need, design, comfort and space available. The most common types of washroom partitions are glass block or tile walls, steel toilet partition walls as seen in public places and decorative washroom room dividers such as western-style swinging doors.
Public places have partitions between toilets. Restroom partitions are usually comprised of utilitarian steel or wooden walls with swinging doors, organized into toilet stalls for privacy. Shower partitions in hotels or luxurious homes might be constructed of mosaic or ceramic tiles or glass blocks that provide privacy and style without sacrificing light. A bathroom might feature a separate toilet or bathing area with a half wall constructed of simple drywall or elaborate glass blocks. The bathroom partition usually reflects the design of the building, combining aesthetic appeal with the need for privacy.
The public latrine plumbing system is based on a system used by the industrious ancient Romans. Aqueducts brought fresh water into a city, which flowed below very long stone benches with holes that served as toilets; waste was channeled out to a cesspool. It was a brilliant system, but the washrooms afforded no partitions and thus no privacy for the patron.
Chamber pots in bedrooms served as miniature lavatories. Outhouses, which are small outdoor sheds with latrines, gave the user some privacy. Washroom partitions and separate rooms were developed later as modern plumbing systems became more common in homes.
As people became more educated about sanitation and as improved health brought affluence, bathrooms became more commonplace in homes. The bathroom partition arose in larger bathrooms, giving a bather some privacy while allowing another person to use the other bathroom facilities. Public facilities, such as restaurants and schools, devoted entire rooms as public toilets. Washroom partitions became necessary to divide one facility from another. Today, washroom partitions are a normal aspect of public washroom facilities and can be a pleasing amenity in personal bathrooms.