Design the cloakroom of your dreams in six easy steps

inspo for you to design the cloakroom of your dreams

Let me ask you one thing: what do Harry Potter and a cloakroom have in common? Well, easy – they both live under the stairs.

But enough of the bad jokes. We’re about to tell you how to design the cloakroom of your dreams. So read on to discover the six essential steps.

design the cloakroom
Design the cloakroom of your dreams. To make best use of available space, why not place your cloakroom design under the stairs? This design by CP Hart features the Axor Citterio small Basin mixer, £490, paired with a Duravit Vero side handbasin, £206.40. For similar soft pink tiles, try Tile Mountain, and include patterned wallpaper to make it feel bright.

A downstairs loo is a great, practical addition to your home – but how do you design the cloakroom you’ve always wanted? Luckily, I have you covered: here are six steps to cloakroom success, staircases entirely optional.

Cover your bases

First things first: by law – and by that I mean building regulations – your cloakroom will need an extractor fan.

They’re not the prettiest, I hear you, but Siobhan Hayles at Siobhan Hayles Interiors taught me a trick. Use it to design the cloakroom you love.

Design the cloakroom of your dreams: Black can bring an extra layer of glamour into your cloakroom. If you go this dark, balance the design with a lighter floor, for example wood or laminate. Mirrors help bounce light around, while the gold frames and metallic accessories step up the luxe factor, too – as does the marble countertop Kohler‘s Vox vessel basin, £321, has been placed on.

She fits fans above eye level or chooses one that can be painted or wallpapered over for ultimate blending in.

You’ll need enough space under the floor, too. This is to allow the waste pipe for your loo to run at a pitch of at least 18mm.

Also make sure you have enough floor-to-ceiling height – at least 1.8m. This is so tall guests won’t have to stand a bit funny when washing their hands.

All the most useful cloakroom tips

Sort out the (water) supplies

Aka the messy part, as you will have to pull up the floors.

Try to install your cloakroom as close as possible to the sewer outside. The waste pipe from the toilet should be as short as it can be.

Bonus: less plumbing means less disruption.

Also be aware that if you place your new room under the stairs, you might need to reconfigure things. Specifically, you may have to relocate your electric and gas meters and the fuse box.

design the cloakroom
Design the cloakroom of your dreams: A corner basin, such as this Mistley design, from £668, from The Albion Bath Company, makes clever use of small spaces.

More tips to help you design the cloakroom of your dreams

Use your space wisely

Let me tell you this: all a cloakroom needs are a basin and WC, and slimline fixtures make it easier to kit out a space as effectively as possible. Avoid clutter, too, as it’ll only take up valuable room and make your scheme look messy in the process.

But if your space is extra compact, don’t despair – Chris Payne, a senior designer at Ripples, has some advice.

“A compact or corner basin with a single-lever wall-mounted mixer tap works well with a wall-hung toilet,” he told me.

Nobody puts Baby in the corner, but I’ll happily place a basin there.

Choose the right vanity

This can drastically change (read: elevate) the scheme’s look.

Design the cloakroom of your dreams: A freestanding vanity can take many shapes, from a full cabinet to a simple table with a countertop. They all have one thing in common, though: paired with vessel basins, they make a winning combination and can make a real statement. Inspired by oriental designs and finished by hand, London Basin Company‘s bright Adriana, £900, would add a fun twist to a monochrome scheme, for example.

“A freestanding table works well with a vessel basin,” Natalie McHugh at NK Living told me.

She recommends shopping around for a more unusual piece of furniture and advises to choose narrower legs, as this will create a feeling of space.

More essential ‘design the cloakroom’ advice

Light it up

Don’t just have a single fitting – give your space the treatment it deserves.

A mix of task and ambient illumination creates a multi-layered scheme that adds to the décor and is guaranteed to wow your guests.

design the cloakroom
Design the cloakroom of your dreams: Dark tiles, even if they’re only fitted on part of a single wall can make a dramatic statement. If you want to take it even further, add a basin that’s not the standard white – I love this soft pink. Gemini Tiles‘ Buxy Antracita Hexagon design is priced £32.99 per sq m.

How to wow your guests when you design the cloakroom you’ve always dreamed of

Wow your guests (and yourself)

If you’re anything like me and love a bit of drama, this is your chance to live out that fantasy to the fullest. Plus, decorating with dark tones will make the room appear bigger, as the light reflects differently.

Alison Johnson at Otta Design told me to look towards boutique hotels for inspiration and be extravagant with materials.

Whether your style is more monochrome or all about colour and pattern, a cloakroom is ideal for design experiments. This scheme by Day True mixes more classic features – the high-cistern loo and paneling on the wall – with ultra-modern tropical wallpaper, shades of green, and an industrial-style basin and mixer combination. Cloakrooms from Day True start from £2000.

Black and gold Art Deco wallpaper is so lush

Personally, tapping into my deep love for Daisy Buchanan, I’m eyeing a black-and-gold Art Deco wallpaper – but there are no limits on your creativity. Do you like birds of paradise? Now’s the chance. Are you a fan of uber-cool geometrics? Go for it. Can your style best be described by calling it an explosion of colour and personality? Put it on full display.

Designing a cloakroom is the ideal opportunity to have a play with styles and colours, so don’t let anyone stop you.

See? Easy(ish). Just don’t forget to share your incredible spaces with me, please – I’m ever so curious what you come up with.

Featured image: You don’t spend much time in your cloakroom, which makes it the ideal space to be bold with your design – the less time you spend in a room, the smaller the risk of you getting tired of a colour or design feature all too soon. This Heritage Bathrooms scheme features the Victoria high-level WC and sister, £530, paired with the Victoria basin, £285, on the Abingdon washstand in Vintage Gold, £500, with the Glastonbury tap in Vintage Gold, £345, and the Harlesden mirror in Vintage Gold, £145. For a similar wallpaper, try Graham & Brown or Etsy.

So, did you love this feature? Now you know how to design the cloakroom of your dreams, read Bathroom lighting explained.

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