Even before we began the renovation of our listed home, I had so many plans and ideas for the downstairs toilet.
As the dimensions of the room are small, I wanted the decor to be bold and have maximum impact. I knew I wanted to incorporate a bold wallpaper — and I also wanted to add tongue and groove panelling.
40 weeks after beginning the extension, we completed it! The first completely finished room of our build. And it was so good to see our downstairs toilet ideas finally brought to life!
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How Much Space Do You Need for a Downstairs Toilet?
A downstairs bathroom is something we dreamt of for a long time.
It probably sounds a bit odd but if you’ve never had one, you’ll understand my excitement!!
A downstairs loo is right up there with a utility room; something that, if you’re short on space, you can only dream of.
We definitely didn’t have the space prior to doing the extension. And even when we began planning the new room, we were still limited on square footage.
Any interior designer will tell you that small spaces require a little extra forethought and planning to ensure you can include all the elements on your wish list. That said, a small functional space can also be big on impact — and packed with all the essentials — if you use a little creativity and ingenuity.
The room is only 77cm x 123cm (less than 3ft wide and only 6ft in length).
But being small in size shouldn’t mean that you can’t go big on design.
Downstairs Toilet Ideas on Pinterest
As ever, when I’m planning any kind of house project, Pinterest is my first port of call.
It’s the best resource, full of inspiration and imagery to help give you ideas.
I created a board dedicated to ‘Downstairs Toilet Ideas’ and scoured Pinterest for any relevant bathroom ideas, pinning my favourites. And literally pinned everything (and anything) that took my fancy.
I think that bold patterns can work really well in small downstairs bathrooms. So from the outset, I’d decided that I was going to go with quite a heavily patterned wallpaper— with painted tongue and groove panelling.
But the colour of the panelling — and the look and feel of the room — was definitely something that was driven by the wallpaper in the end.
How to Select Fixtures and Fittings for a Small Toilet Room
As we’re tight on space, the fixtures and fittings in our new downstairs toilet room had to work pretty hard.
I spent hours searching for a perfect-sized sink — with no tap hole.
Typically, I found one — and ordered it — to receive an email a couple of weeks later, saying that the company had gone into administration.
Thankfully, I found another one that fits the bill!
It’s wall hung — formed out of smooth, solid resin, with no pre-drilled tap holes — and the perfect size.
Surprisingly, it was quite tricky to track a sink down that didn’t have any pre-drilled tap holes, so I’m thrilled with this one — it’s perfect.
The brushed brass bottle trap and matching basin were a really great find. They’ve made such a difference to the look and feel of the basin, and elevate it a notch or two, from basic to beautiful.
You can buy the tap we’ve used here. It’s lovely quality and — as it’s wall-mounted — it really gives a luxe feel to our modest little downstairs loo.
The back-to-wall toilet came from Victoria Plum.
All the working parts are neatly concealed in the boxed-in area behind, which meant that we could keep the look of the space clutter-free without any pipework on show.
Small Downstairs Toilet Ideas on a Budget
One of the ideas we’d had for the downstairs toilet was for the metalwork to be brass. I located taps and sink hardware — all in a lovely brushed brass finish. But, try as I might, I couldn’t find a toilet flush to match (that didn’t cost an arm and a leg).
I found one for a little under £300 — which is a ridiculous price for such a small detail — so we decided to spray the chrome one that came with the toilet.
The finish is brilliant. I used Rust-Oleum metallic gold spray paint.
Who knows, it may chip over time but I’m not desperately worried about that. Hopefully, by the time it happens, someone will have produced a cost-effective alternative.
Funky Cloakroom Ideas
Gathering together all of the fixtures, fittings, and accessories for our downstairs toilet was so much fun! If you have a strong idea of how you’d like the overall feel of the room to be, it makes searching for products a little easier.
Just be open-minded and look in charity and junk shops for thrifted bargains — as well as online and in high street stores.
The mirror was a charity shop bargain, and the brushed brass loo roll holder was a steal from Amazon.
As there isn’t much room around the sink for toiletries, I used a brilliant solid brass wall-mounted holder for our handwash dispenser. The liquid soap in the dark brown bottle came from Zara Home — they no longer stock this sadly.
The brushed brass bottle holder is in stock at the time of writing this.
Although this is a small detail, it’s made a big impact.
It means that the soap can be mounted on the wall and frees up the sink area — so it negates the need for a shelf.
Finally, talking of shelves; some info on the little oak shelf, covering the cistern.
It’s a simple, solid oak board that came from Homebase. Mr D cut it to size and I oiled it. Wooden accents can add warmth to a downstairs cloakroom.
I love how it gives a nod to the original oak beam above.
And, I also love that it offers the perfect resting place for our ‘Kate and The Smelly Finger’ artwork. (Not its original name — I think it’s called ‘Life’s a Joke.’)
This came from Desenio and has been in our bedroom, dining room and snug, before taking residence in the downstairs toilet.
Downstairs Toilet Wallpaper, Paint, and Flooring
For the Walls
As I mentioned before, the colour we chose for the panelling was wholly driven by the wallpaper.
I chose ‘Blackthorn by William Morris’ and had the colour of the paint matched to the dark green ground of the paper.
This is such a great way to keep a really cohesive look when you’re decorating.
It’s unlikely you’ll get a perfect match from a pre-mixed paint colour. And if you don’t want to spend hours and hours trawling through paint charts, I highly recommend getting the paint mixed up to match the paper.
We used colour-matched Dulux eggshell on the panelling and the same colour emulsion on the ceiling.
I toyed with the idea of leaving the ceiling white but think it just would have looked unfinished.
In the end, I didn’t even bother to test it out. I just went big and painted the inky green directly onto the raw plaster. No miscoat, no undercoat.
The colour is a triumph; deep and rich and infinitely better than white.
The grey and white floor tiles came from Bert and May.
They’re encaustic; a cement tile handmade in Spain with crushed marble and natural pigments. The finish is really beautiful. They were worth the expense and the faff of having to seal them before use.
I wondered whether a pattern on the floor and the walls would be too much, but I love the combination.
Small Toilet Ideas Brought to Life
Adding a downstairs toilet has made a world of difference to how we live. But also, taking a bit of time to plan every detail of our smallest room has meant that this little space is big on impact.
A small downstairs toilet needn’t be an afterthought. It’s one of the rooms that most of your guests will see.
Seeing our downstairs toilet ideas brought to life is one of the most rewarding aspects of our whole renovation. Creating a room from scratch may feel a little daunting at first, but when it all comes together — and you realise your vision — it feels so good!
Try not to be intimidated when designing small bathrooms! You can use the limited space to really go to town with your personal style. A lot of the cloakroom designs I saw on the internet were quite bland until I discovered the ones on Pinterest!
Small toilets shoehorned into the smallest spaces! Under the stairs, or in cupboards smaller than our own cloakroom. Colored sanitaryware, statement wallpaper — not to mention amazing storage ideas. There’s a wealth of inspiration and some amazing creativity out there.
Frequently Asked Questions About Our Small Cloakroom
Do you have underfloor heating?
No — we don’t. And this is something that I wish we’d installed. We didn’t want a radiator (or heated towel rail) on the walls of our downstairs cloakroom because it’s such a narrow space. But I do wish we’d put underfloor heating underneath the tiled floor as it can feel quite chilly underfoot in the winter.
Where did you get your sink from?
All the details of where we bought everything from are in a PDF that can be downloaded by clicking the banner below:
What colour is your panelling painted in?
It is a bespoke Dulux colour. I had some paint mixed up to match the ground of the wallpaper.
Your tap has a 210mm projection, but the sink only has a projection of 250mm. Does this ever cause problems with a wet floor?
It’s a close call as the projection of the tap is very near to the front of the sink. But we wash our hands to the side rather than at the front of the basin, as there’s so much more room. The kids sometimes forget, and we do end up with water splashes on the floor but I loved the tap so much, that’s a small price to pay
Do you have a towel rail?
We have a little brass hanging button for the towel. It’s made of solid brass and matches the other accessories.
Did you choose specialist bathroom wallpaper?
No — I chose a standard wallpaper. And as there’s no shower or bath in the room, it’s perfectly durable. And, as the walls are panelled halfway with tongue and groove, the toilet wallpaper doesn’t get marked with kid’s fingerprints either!
Where are your spare loo rolls?
Ah, good question! As there isn’t enough space for loo roll baskets or other floor-standing storage, I have hung the spare loo rolls in a strong bag on the back of the door.
I hope these downstairs bathroom ideas have given you some inspiration! If you are remodeling a downstairs cloakroom yourself, send me some pics. I’d love to see!
* All prices stated were correct at the time of update.
Originally published May 25 2020.
Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.