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  • Writer's pictureSophie Baylis

Cloakroom Ideas - all your planning questions answered

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Thinking about creating a cloakroom? A small space is sometimes more difficult to plan than a large one. Savvy solutions, smart thinking has to come into play! To help you on your way, I have answered ten of the most common questions. Read on!


1. What do I need to know about building regulations when planning a cloakroom?

There are some building regulations relating to cloakrooms that you’ll need to know about and comply with. In particular, you must add ventilation if there’s no window to open, ensure that all lighting is safely installed and obtain an electrical safety certificate for any electrics.


2. I don’t have a downstairs cloakroom. How can I squeeze one in?

If you have a space with a footprint of at least 130cm x 70cm, you have room for a bathroom. You might need to look in unconventional spots, such as under the stairs, or consider sectioning off part of an entrance hall or laundry room.

To benefit from as much light as possible, it’s worth trying to position a cloakroom on an outside wall of the home so you can introduce a window and flood the space with natural light.

3. How does my home’s plumbing affect the location of my cloakroom?

Waste water from the WC needs to run to the nearest external soil stack. To reduce plumbing costs, install fixtures as near as possible to existing waste lines. If the soil stack is too far away from your ideal cloakroom location, you could fit a new one close to the toilet supply. This would mean digging externally to join the pipe with an existing waste pipe. Alternatively, you could install a macerator system. This is generally less expensive but it isn’t suitable for all homes. Ask the advice of a professional plumber at the planning stage to assess what’s right for your home.


4. What’s the first step to furnishing my downstairs cloakroom?

Your first step should be to take accurate measurements. This will help you decide what you can (and can’t) squeeze in. Once you have measurements and a priority list of products, it’s time to consider that all-important layout. If you’re struggling to decide what goes where, use an online 3D bathroom planner. This gives you the freedom to experiment before you commit to a final layout.


5. My downstairs cloakroom is small – what should I consider in terms of sanitaryware?

When space is limited, shop for a short-projection WC and a compact basin or vanity unit. Alternatively, invest in wall-hung sanitaryware, which creates more visible floor space and therefore makes your cloakroom feel bigger. Design note (EMOJI) wall-hung sanitaryware is supported by a frame that’s mounted within your wall. You may need a stud wall to achieve this.

6. Should I consider a vanity unit for my cloakroom?

If you can squeeze one in, then go for it! A vanity unit provides under-counter storage for spare toilet rolls, hand towels and even a few cleaning essentials. If square inches are at a premium, shop for a vanity with a reduced depth so it takes up less floor space.

7. How can I maximise space for storage in my small cloakroom?

Make your space work hard by using the square inches above your toilet. For example, if you have a stud wall to hide the WC cistern, create a shallow built-in cupboard with the protruding edge (a carpenter will be able to create this for you) or add a few cheap and cheerful shelves. Or, why not follow in the footsteps of @feralrenovations and utilise the small ledge for a few picture frames and a healthy dose of greenery?

8. The door to my small cloakroom opens inwards and takes up a lot of space. What can I do?

If your cloakroom is particularly narrow, a door that opens into the space isn’t ideal. Options include rehanging the door so that it opens outwards rather than inwards or installing a sliding door.

9. What are your top tips for making my small cloakroom look bigger?

Top tip: use the same tiles on the wall and floor of your cloakroom to create a cohesive space that’ll feel more open.


10. How important is a mirror in a small downstairs cloakroom?

Mirrors are always an excellent space-enhancing tool as they convince your eyes that the room is bigger than it actually is.


Read more about cloakrooms:

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