Should bathroom doors open in or out?

People visit the bathroom for many reasons, the most obvious is to answer a call of nature, to clean your hands or clean up a mishap on your clothes, or to freshen up, while some use the restroom to take a selfie.

Most people are accustomed to opening doors inward even bathroom doors. With years of doing the same thing, it becomes second nature so when the direction is changed it can cause unintentional damage, frustration, and accidents. Although there’s no home building code concerning the direction a door should swing, it’s a rule of thumb to have interior doors open into a room, not into the hallway or other common areas. This will prevent the door from blocking or bumping into someone passing by.

The standard swing of the bathroom door will vary to accommodate the architectural design or for safety reasons like easy access to the room in case someone is trapped inside or faints. Depending on where the door is located and the general layout of the place, an out-swinging door can be opening in the direction of another occupant blocking the way to exit.

Different types of bathroom doors



Panel doors
  • Most common type with rectangular or square patterns.
  • Can either be a single large panel or multiple small panels.
  • It’s versatile and you can match any bathroom décor.
Barn doors
  • Very trendy giving a room a warm cozy feeling.
  • Comes in a variety of designs and can adapt a variety of colors.
  • Used to separate the master bedroom from its en-suite bathroom.
Pocket doors
  • Very distinguishable and ideal for bathrooms.
  • They slide into the wall instead of swinging open which saves on floor space.
French doors
  • Hang on hinges at each side and swing towards each other meeting at the center.
  • Used in different settings and can adapt a variety of styles.
  • Not very popular in bathrooms.

Here are a few reasons why most bathroom doors open inward.

Doesn’t block corridors or hallways

This is the most common reason for having a push to enter doors this way you don’t block or bump into traffic or someone in the corridor. If people keep coming in and out of the bathroom, a pull outward door will not only disrupt people from walking up and down the hallway, it will also take up space in the corridor. It can also block or hinder the movement of people in case of an emergency through a narrow corridor.


A bathroom door that opens inward has hinges and locks on the inside so you can’t get locked inside. An outward bathroom door can be dangerous for people walking just outside the door because it can be opened at any time and can knock them out on the floor.

Prevent unwanted intrusion

A bathroom door that opens inward can prevent someone from accessing the bathroom when it’s occupied which will save you some embarrassment. In case the lock is broken, it’s harder to open the door from the outside if the door opens inward and you can hold the door shut from the inside which will prevent someone from entering.

Odor control

We can all agree that washrooms don’t smell very good, but an inward door can help in keeping the smell under control. When you push to enter the bathroom, some of the fresh air enters and mixes with the rest of the air inside. But if you pull the door to enter, the inside air gets sucked out of the bathroom which isn’t a very good thing.


If you’re going to use the bathroom for whatever reason, a door that swings inward is a better option since you don’t have to touch the door handle to open it to access the bathroom. Mostly, you’re more in a hurry to enter the bathroom than when you’re leaving. So an inward opening door will save you some time and you won’t need to struggle with the door in case you really need to use the bathroom.

However, there are a few negative consequences to having an inward opening bathroom door.

Limited space

Some bathrooms are very small so you have to be very near the toilet so you can be able to open the door. Unfortunately, most bathrooms are designed to only fit one person which barely leaves space for opening the door. The problem is compounded if you carry luggage into the bathroom.

Increased contact with germs

If you have to squeeze in and out of the bathroom, you’ll end up touching the walls and other parts of the bathroom which most people prefer not to touch. But when you’re trying to open and close the door, you’ll find yourself standing very close to the toilet which leaves you feeling dirty and covered in germs.


A bathroom should be a place that is safe and private enough so anyone who uses it can feel comfortable to complete their business without any problems. You should also ensure that nobody is inconvenienced.


Do bathroom doors have to open inward?

Doors can generally open inward or outward unless the door opens directly into a set of stairs. If the bathroom is small the door can be installed to open outward to create more room.

How do you determine which way a door opens?

When the door is open, stand with your back to the jamb that has the hinges. If the door is on your right, it’s right-handed. If the door is on your left, it’s left-handed.

Bruce Marcus

Bruce Marcus, an expert at Home Improvement, has been working in this field for years. He works closely with different homeowners and helps them chose the best flooring for their houses. The expert believes that carpeting a home is one of the best choices that any homeowner can make. According to him, this option not only makes your home look classy but also keeps it warm and cozy. Marcus has been equipping homeowners with useful tips regarding how to get the right carpet for your home. He hopes that this information can help you make an educated decision when choosing a carpet.

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