Finnish vs American Bathrooms


Of all the places that I’ve lived, this apartment has my favorite bathroom. It’s a square room with walls tiled from floor to ceiling. The lights are recessed overhead. There’s a drain in floor. It’s got a sink with a cabinet above it, a toilet, and a shower head with the control knobs sticking out of the wall below it. No bathtub, because I’ve yet to meet anyone in Finland that has a bathtub. It’s utilitarian, not at all fancy, and most Americans would probably hate it. So let’s talk about Finnish vs American Bathrooms.

What it has going for it, to start off, is a heated floor. In the winter, when it’s chilly, this is a greatly appreciated amenity. It also has a heated towel bar, which just means there’s a chrome rack mounted to the wall that has hot water pipes running through it. Not only does it dry off damp towels quickly, it’s lovely to wrap a warm towel around yourself when you’re down with a shower.

The fact that the shower head comes off the wall and can be hand-held, coupled with the drain in the floor, means that it’s amazingly easy to clean the bathroom. Hit it with some spray cleaner and hose it down, basically. Practical and comfortable.

Finnish vs American Bathrooms

In my corporate past I lived in a McMansion, and the bathroom didn’t make me nearly as happy as this one. I don’t need a retreat or an oasis. I need a place to take care of business so I can get on with my day. The fact that it does provide a little luxury where it counts, by being spacious and uncluttered to move about in, simple to maintain, and gloriously, deliciously warm, is more important than pretty fixtures or counter tops to place fancy soaps and flowers on.

This is another example of the differences between the Finnish and American mindsets. Finns seem to care more about what a thing does and how well it does it. Americans care about the appearance and luxury and affluence more than the practicality of things. Once again, the little things, the simple joys, are the ones that have the greatest impact.

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