Bed & Bath Privacy Locks

When you're in the bathroom or trying to relax in bed, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your door locks are capable of providing complete privacy.

When you're in the bathroom or trying to relax in bed, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your door locks are capable of providing complete privacy.  While comparing different lock functions can be confusing, manufacturers make special privacy locks for the bedroom and bath to help you easily select the right lock for the job.

These privacy locks secure the door without the use of a cylinder or key and can be easily locked using a simple push button or thumb turn. 


When you enter a room with a privacy lock and close the door, a locking feature on the handle allows you to lock the door from the inside.  Privacy locks typically feature either a small thumbturn built into the knob or a simple push-button.

Once you lock the door, no one will be able to turn the knob and enter the bathroom, but you can easily exit the room by either turning the knob or turning the thumbturn from the inside. 


Privacy locks come in a wide variety of colors and finishes from brushed nickel to antique bronze to polished brass.  Buyers can choose from many different handle and knob designs, including sleek modern styles and more traditional shapes and profiles.

While some commercial privacy locks come in mortise configurations that fit into a pocket in the door, most residential and commercial privacy locks feature a cylindrical design, which fits into a simple hole cut into the door. 

Emergency Access

Many privacy lock manufacturers include an emergency access feature to allow for emergency access to rooms equipped with a privacy lock.  Generally, these locks can be unlocked from the outside of the room thanks to a small hole or opening in the center of the handle.

Insert a nail, paper clip, pin or special metal tool into the hole to disengage the lock and enter the room.  This feature is useful for families with young children, who may accidentally lock themselves into a room.

It is also helpful if you inadvertently press the button to lock the door while it is open, then close it with no one inside the room to unlock it. 

Lack of Security

Privacy locks are designed to provide privacy, not true security.  These locks should never be installed on exterior openings or in rooms like the home office, where security might be a concern.

Door Stops

One common problem with privacy locks occurs when the lock has a push button feature and the door swings into the room.  In this case, it's very easy for the push button on the lock to hit the wall, locking the door.

If someone pulls the door closed, the door will be locked.  A simple door stop can help alleviate this problem by preventing the lock from hitting the wall.

If you choose a wall bumper for this purpose, look for concave models, which feature an indentation to accommodate push buttons and prevent them from accidentally engaging and locking the door. 

About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.