The Belgian “Half” Bathroom

I like how almost all North American homes have a half-bathroom (or “powder room”) near the entry hallway or living room and a full bathroom near the bedrooms.  By half-bathroom I mean TOILET + BASIN and by full I mean TOILET + BASIN + BATH TUB (or shower, or both!)

I remember my first trip to Belgium (and Europe) where I was surprised to find that in Tom’s home, there was a half-bathroom downstairs and another one upstairs too, Cool! , I thought…  Until I entered the “full bathroom” and realized that, wait a sec, the full bathroom does not have a TOILET!!!  Not really a FULL Bathroom! So weird! So apparently, the house is about a hundred years old, and that was the design back then or something.

But then last week, Tom was apartment hunting (so cool to say that! heehee).   I couldn’t help but notice a theme in all the bathroom photos:

1. Every single apartment does NOT have a toilet in the “full” bath-rooms, even if the house was built in the 21st century and even when there was ample space!  It isn’t really a full bathroom but just another half-bathroom to me.  Don’t people pee before they shower?  Why do they still build this old design?

2. Most of the powder rooms – do NOT have a wash basin!!!  I don’t get it – don’t you wash your hands after going to the toilet!?  So does that mean I come out of that powder room and go to the other half bathroom to wash my hands? –__-  That became an easy nice to have – yay that powder room has a washbasin!!  But full bathrooms – they were pretty much non existent – at least in the apartments in our budget .

3. None of the bathrooms have a windowI know. Not a particularly big deal, but it would be really nice to have a window in the toilet for better ventilation.  Or I hope the exhaust fan is really strong! Haha!  It made me realize (and appreciate!) how well designed Hong Kong buildings are.  Despite the small size of most apartments, all buildings, even the very old buildings in Hong Kong (the one I’m living in right now is about 40 years old, which is pretty old for a sky scraper), has a window in every room.  And the last building I stayed in was a super uber small apartment, but it still had a window in the bathroom AND kitchen.  I guess the building blue print is designed in such a way so that every apartment’s bathroom and kitchen would have a window!

Here’s a series of half-bathrooms from some apartments T visited – WITHOUTH a wash basin – and the corresponding other half bathroom – (even though there was ample space for a toilet)!

Uccle1 - 10 Uccle1 - 12

The left one could have been a storage room if the toilet was in the right one!

13F flat - 23 13F flat - 28

Etterbeek1 - 024 Etterbeek1 - 028

Railway - 029 Railway - 035

What is that little seat on the picture on the right ?
Tom says its for washing the feet, does not look like it to me. I would rather have a toilet there!

Luckily, and by co-incidence, the one we chose does have a basin in the toilet half bathroom! Open-mouthed smile



  1. That little seat on the right picture is definitely not for washing your feet. Well, we do say that to our 4 year old LOL It’s called a bidet and can be used to clean your private parts 🙂 after a bathroom visit. It’s something you see quite a lot in France and Spain. We Europeans are weird sometimes LOL

    love from Belgium,


    • hi Cindy! thanks for stopping by! 🙂 and good to know!!! haha . i’ve also seen it once in a 5-star hotel in dubai, i’ve never dared to use it , luckily! 🙂

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