Cloakroom Design Ideas


These rooms tend to be very small so cloakroom design ideas need to take into account the amount of space available.

With this in mind there various products on the market that help make the most of limited room. And there are products available specifically designed to work in confined spaces.

There is no reason why you cannot have a luxury cloakroom that looks every bit as good as a full size bathroom. And borrowing from good bathroom design practices will enable you to achieve just that.

cloakroom basin

Pushed For Space?

The amount of available space is always going to be the main constraint on the scope of your cloakroom design.

There is no use trying to shoe-horn a shower into a small room when there simply isn’t the available square meterage. So make the most of the space without cramming too much in.

The minimum that will be required is a toilet and a wash hand basin. If there is the room you could fit a full sized basin and pedestal. But these can be a bit large for most cloakrooms. Many manufacturers will make a smaller cloakroom version of their basin. This is important if you want a consistency to your design. And it is vital if you have a very stylised items or they will not match.

Cloakroom basins will vary in size from make to make. Some manufacturers might even offer a range of basin sizes so that you can choose the one that suits your room best.

The shape of the room will also determine which layout will work best. A long, thin room might require a different approach to a square one.

combined basin toilet

Space-Saving Designs

There are products available that are specifically designed to work in the confined space of a cloakroom, as previously mentioned.

Corner toilets are available that can work well in a small space. Combining one of these with a corner basin is a great way of maximising space.

Adding a cloakroom under the stairs is a common way of utilising this awkward space. But the dimensions here are extremely tight. Ideally you need both the toilet and the basin to be sited against the highest wall. Luckily there is a product that has been developed that can do just this.

The combined toilet and basin is an all-in-one solution. The basin water drops down into the cistern. This is then used to flush the toilet. Any excess water simply drains down into the pan.

concealed cistern

Cover Up Your Cistern

Creating a built-in cistern is a popular cloakroom design idea.

The short span across the wall of a cloakroom is perfect for boxing-in the cistern and all of the pipework associated with a toilet. It can also be constructed in such a way as to provide some extra storage too.

You could try this technique with an existing toilet but the success will depend on the toilet design.

Most toilets sold these days are close coupled. This means the cistern is bolted onto the pan. Trying to box-in this type of toilet is not really practical. A low level toilet has a separate pan and cistern connected by a flush pipe. This set-up could be adapted to a built-in design. This would be the cheapest option but you might feel that it is worth buying components that are actually designed for this purpose.

A concealed cistern is quite slim in design. This allows the cupboard or boxed in area to also be slim when measured front to back. A back-to-wall pan will sit neatly against the box-work without the need for any complicated cutting.

Moving the position of a toilet is a bit more tricky – especially downstairs as the soil pipe tends to exit via the floor so it is not easy to move.

vanity unit

Add Some Storage In Your Cloakroom

Installing a vanity unit is the obvious way to add a bit of extra storage to your cloakroom. There are always bits and pieces and cleaning materials that are needed close at hand in a cloakroom. Leaving these out in the open is a bit unsightly. So some form of storage is always welcome to keep things neat and tidy.

If you have space in the cloakroom for a wall-mounted wash hand basin then you should have enough room for a small vanity unit. There are plenty of designs on the market that are extremely neat and have a small footprint. They are designed with cloakroom sue in mind.

If you would like a slightly bigger basin you could choose a semi-recessed vanity unit. This keeps the cupboard section quite small but offers a larger basin for washing. You could also tie-in the vanity unit with a built-in W.C. unit and pull the whole design together.

You can also use wall cabinets to add some extra storage but make sure you have the room. They protrude out into what is already a pretty compact space. An ideal location is the wall behind the toilet. In this position it will have the least impact on the available space and if you choose a large, mirrored cabinet can even make the room feel bigger. Which bring us to mirrors…


Mirrors Can Make A Small Space Seem Bigger

This is a trick regularly used in bathroom design. It’s not rocket science it is simply a fact – mirrors make a room look bigger. And the bigger the mirror you use, the bigger the effect it will have.

Cloakrooms do not have the same levels of steam and condensation as a bathroom. So a mirror should last for years without deteriorating.

You could add mirrors via a cabinet, as mentioned above. But a large, flat mirror will yield the best results.

Mirrors are available made-to-measure, cut to size by a glazier. They can also drill the mirror to enable it to be fixed easily. This will give you the option of covering a large section of a wall. Again, the area above and behind the cistern is a great position for this.

cloakroom walls


Cloakroom Walls

The lack of condensation in a cloakroom means that a much wider choice of wall coverings is available.

Wooden cladding and wallpaper really struggle in bathrooms. The damp conditions can cause wallpaper to peel and wooden components can split due to excess moisture. But both are suitable from use in cloakrooms.

Another idea is to use bathroom cladding. This works well in any room and there are plenty of designs that are suitable for use in cloakrooms. If you want to make it feel more like a bathroom then marble is the way to go. If you are looking for something less austere then maybe a woodgrain finish would be more appealing.

You could always choose to use a combination of products.

A timber or panelled effect bottom half with a wallpaper or painted top half works well. A dado rail can be used to cover the join where the two surfaces meet. And because there is no shower water to worry about none of the joins or materials have to be waterproof.

There are wall panels available that can emulate all of these finishes. The big advantage of using panels is they require little or no preparation. They can be fitted over existing wall coverings making the whole installation process quicker and cleaner.
A variation on the top and bottom split is to have an alternative finish on one of the walls. This is know as a feature wall. You could be brave and opt for a mirrored wall as mentioned earlier. But more commonly a colour that contrasts with the main décor is used to provide an accent on one wall.

Vicenza Whiteline Ceiling Panels

Make A Feature Of Your Ceiling

Your cloakroom ceiling does not have to be plain white painted plaster. There are other options.

An easy makeover can be achieved using ceiling panels. These are available in a variety of finishes depending on whether you are looking for something plain or something a little more eye-catching.

But keep it light. Dark ceilings can make a small room feel even more enclosed. It is no coincidence that most ceiling panel designs are white in colour.

You can cut holes easily in ceiling panels to accept recessed lighting. It can also conceal all the cables needed for any new lighting. Battens can be used to lower the ceiling every so slightly. The cables can then be run behind the panels easily.

Further Information

See this blog post for more ideas on the bathroom cladding mentioned earlier – more info

Design tips for small bathrooms also apply to cloakrooms – more info

Installing Ceiling Panels – more info