A changeroom (regional use), locker room, dressing room (usually in a sports or staff context) or changing room is a room or area designated for changing one's clothes. This seclusion is usually for privacy reasons. Alternatively, it may serve to separate persons of different genders while they are not clothed.
Changerooms may have individual cubicles or stalls, or they may have gender specific open spaces. Sometimes washrooms are also used for changing clothes, since a person can readily change in a toilet cubicle. Many changerooms include washrooms and showers. Sometimes a changeroom exists as a small portion of a washroom. For example, the men's and women's washrooms in Toronto's Dundas Square (which includes a waterplay area) each include a change area which is a blank counter space at the end of a row of sinks. In this case, the facility is primarily a washroom, and its use as a changeroom is minimal, since only a small percentage of users change into bathing suits.
Larger changerooms are usually found at public beaches, or other bathing areas, where most of the space is for changing, and minimal washroom space is included. Beach-style changerooms are often large open rooms with benches against the walls. Some do not have a roof, providing just the barrier necessary to prevent persons outside the changeroom from seeing in.
Types of changerooms
Various types of changerooms exist.
- Locker rooms are usually gender-specific spaces where clothes are changed and stored in lockers. They are often used for swimming or other sporting purposes.
- Fitting rooms, or dressing rooms, are usually small single-user cubicles where a person may try on clothes. These are often found at retail stores where one would want to try on clothes before purchasing them.
- Green rooms and trap rooms are usually mixed-gender backstage or under-stage changing spaces found at theaters and other similar venues.
Locker rooms are thus named because they provide lockers
for the storage of one's belongings. Alternately, they may have a locker room attendant who will keep a person's belongings until they come to retrieve them. Locker rooms are usually open spaces where people change together, but there are separate areas, or separate locker rooms, for men and women.
Locking devices used in locker rooms have traditionally been key or coin lockers, or lockers that are secured with a combination lock. Newer locker rooms may be automated, with robotic machines to store clothes, with such features as a fingerprint scanner to enroll and for later retrieval. Locker rooms in some waterparks use a microchip equipped wristband. The same wristband that unlocks the lockers can be used to purchase food and drinks and other items in the waterpark.
Fitting rooms, or "dressing rooms", are rooms where people try on clothes, such as in a department store. The rooms are usually individual rooms in which a person tries on clothes to determine fit before making a purchase. People do not always use the fitting rooms to change, as to change implies to remove one set of clothes and put on another. Sometimes a person chooses to try on clothes over their clothes (such as sweaters
), but would still like to do this in private. Thus fitting rooms may be used for changing, or just for fitting without changing.
A green room
is a room in which people change clothes for performance, theatre, or the like. Some believe that the term "green room" may have originated from the old days of outdoor theatre when people would change right behind the stage backdrop, on the grass behind the backdrop, which would hide them from view of the outdoor audience. Green rooms are usually located backstage, but sometimes under the stage, or to the side. When they are located under the stage, they are often also called "trap rooms" because many stage setups, especially for magicians, involve a trap door that goes to a room under the stage. In a magic trick, a performer may drop down into the trap room, through the trap door, onto a padded surface like a mattress, to "disappear" and change into another outfit. Green rooms are usually not separated by gender, because performers often operate as family
and help each other change. For example, a husband and wife team of circus performers might need to "rig" each other up with various wiring, cabling, safety harnesses, and the like. For example, the green room at Canterbury Theatre in Canada's Wonderland is a large co-ed space in which large numbers of people are usually in various states of undress, including being completely naked at times. Although there are often small gender separated spaces in some green rooms (to meet building codes, etc.), the changing activities of a green room typically spill out into the main area back stage, where there are dressmakers, tailors, and other staff, frantically working on getting everyone ready for the next production.
Traditionally, before the advent of modern plumbing, there existed a number of cleansing stations for cleansing one's clothes and body. Cleansing stations were separated by gender, and combined the function of cleaning clothes with cleaning of the body. The closest modern equivalent would be a combination laundromat plus locker room with showers.
During the nineteenth, and early part of the twentieth century, the increase of urbanization caused an increase in the spread of disease. Poor hygiene was determined to be the cause. Since many families did not have practical means to clean themselves or their clothes, public cleansing stations were established for their use.
Because of the privacy afforded by changerooms, they create a problem in the tradeoff between security and privacy, wherein it may be possible for crime to be perpetrated by persons using the cover of privacy to sell drugs, or steal clothing from a department store. Some department stores have security cameras in the changerooms.
Communal changerooms pose less of a risk of theft than fitting rooms, because there is not total privacy. In particular, the perpetrator of a crime would not know whether or not other users might be undercover police or security guards. Also modern changerooms often have labyrinth style entrances that have no door, so that people outside cannot see in, but security can walk in at any time without the sound of an opening door alerting persons inside. Washrooms in which changing clothes is merely a secondary purpose often also have such labyrinth openings. Many washrooms have security cameras in the main area with a view of the sinks and the urinals from a viewing angle that would only show the back of a user. However, when a washroom is located near a fountain, wading pool, or the like, and is likely to be used for changing clothes, some believe that washroom surveillance cameras would be a violation of privacy.
Another security risk present in changerooms is that of theft. If belongings are left behind, anyone may simply take them, unless they are secured. Lockers exist for this purpose, and changeroom operators may post signs waiving responsibility for stolen items.