10 Essential Downstairs Toilet Design Ideas
A downstairs toilet or cloakroom is often the smallest room in the house. But its size should be no excuse when it comes to making sure it works perfectly for you or your guests. These downstairs toilet design ideas will help you get the most from your space.
1. Wall mount the toilet. Not only does a wall-hung WC reveal more floor, thus making it more ‘space-enhancing’, but it also gives you the option to choose how high the seat is. In the UK, the standard industry height for a toilet is around 400-420 mm. We think this is too low for many people. We recommend fitting to 460-480mm to the seat, which makes it more comfortable to get on and off. Wall mounting the WC also makes it much easier to clean around the toilet. Cleaning the floor with a single swish of a broom or mop is a lot simpler than trying to access either side of a floor-mounted loo while complaining that around the pan the silicone seal is getting grubby.
2. Choose your WC and basin more by size than by style. A tiny basin is often all that is needed in a cloakroom, so go for a size that is proportionate to the available space. As for the WC, look for a short projection pan. In a small room, a pan that’s 480mm deep will pay dividends compared with a pan chosen by style that happens to be 100mm bigger.
3. When looking to finish the cistern housing, don’t try to make it match the basin cabinet by using cabinet doors. This gives you too many panel edges and dirt-collecting nooks and crannies. Instead, use a cistern frame that has a removable flush plate for maintenance and an easy-clean tiled front. You’ll find this far easier to keep clean and a lot more hygienic.
4. If you are tiling your cistern housing, use the same tiles as you have on the floor. This will give you an illusion of space – small rooms seem larger when their surfaces are not divided up into lots of different areas and colours.
5. Don’t make a basin splash-back out of three or four tiles. Ideally, use a solid surface material like Tristone or Corian. This allows you to have a matching cistern top, window ledge and splashback, which are all grout-free and easy to clean.
6. If, for pipework reasons, you can’t use a wall hung basin, then at least tile the cabinet plinth in matching tiles and set the plinth back so you can fit concealed lighting to the overhang. This gives your sink a ‘floating’ feeling which enhances the space in the room.
7. If you’re thinking of installing a fancy mirror with integral LED lighting, be sure to try before you buy. Some are very bright and bombarding your retinas with piercing white light is not ideal. Instead, a simple, strategically positioned ceiling downlighter will be far more useful for anyone using the mirror.
8. If you want to turn your mirror into more of a feature, try setting it off the wall with backlighting that highlights a contrasting wall colour.
9. If you can, make sure there’s a surface, other than the floor, where guests can put a handbag while powdering their nose. This could be provided by a small amount of storage. Cloakrooms don’t usually require a lot of storage space, but cleaning products usually need space and a spare loo roll can be quite valuable at times! Alternatively, for toilet rolls fit a second loo roll holder – we usually fit these vertically where they can be seen easily. This is much tidier than just leaving an extra roll on view on the window ledge.
10. Fit lighting activated by a movement sensor. This is helpful, especially for guests, as it means there is no fumbling around in the dark looking for the light switch.
We hope these small cloakroom design tips will help you to turn the smallest room in the house into a welcoming restroom.
If you would like your cloakroom designed by an experienced, award-winning bathroom designer, drop us a line on the contact form, or call us on 01530 814058.