In 2014, when Wakeen purchased her club, she implemented just a few, but telling, upgrades—installing new carpeting and new toilets. “We put in these extraordinary, amazing, power-flush toilets, since we were constantly having problems with the old ones,” she says. “We still get tons of compliments about them.
“I never thought women would be so pleased by something as basic as a toilet flush!” she says.
If the plumbing isn’t working, she adds, no one will be happy.
An Inviting Environment
While men may be content with basic, utilitarian locker rooms, women, generally, are looking for something more. They’re tempted by and inclined to indulge themselves in warm, comfortable, and attractive spaces with a variety of enticing amenities.
“Women tend to gravitate toward venues that are sleek and modern in design, but, at the same time, inviting,” reflects Vasilik. “We think of these spaces not as locker rooms, but, rather, as an experience for each person using them. We design more for hospitality than raw function.”
For Debra Siena, the president of Midtown Health in Chicago, which specializes in fitness center management, the locker room is a very personal space that should appeal to all of the senses. “Consider it a sanctuary space,” she says. “Spacious design, softer finishes, and aesthetically pleasing neutral colors all work—but no pink, please.”
Pink, she says, is well beyond passé.
In terms of appearances, “We recommend light, fresh finishes that feel welcoming. If warm woods are used for the lockers, the surrounding finishes should provide contrast with a lighter, cooler tone,” Amsberry says. Conversely, if light, cool colors are used for the lockers, the surrounding finishes should be warmer, or have plenty of warm accents.
“Using these contrasting tones enhances the overall sense of visual and physical comfort.”
Little touches such as artwork and fresh flowers can add to the décor, suggests Camie Evans, the managing partner of The Women’s Club, a women-only facility with 1,900 members in Missoula, MT. “We bring in vases of fresh flowers each week. Our members love that.”
Lavoie agrees, “We like to introduce elements such as artwork, floral displays, and other forms of visual enrichment to help establish a feminine ‘brand’ for the locker room.”
Serving the Senses
Another subtle but significant element is lighting, both for setting a mood and for functionality.