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A Guide to: Cloakroom Suites

Cloakrooms used to be one of the more neglected parts of the family home, with the emphasis placed less on style than it was space and practicality.

These days, however, there are a range of different design options when it comes to choosing a cloakroom suite, and though it's still one of the hardest rooms to get right, you should able to find one that fits your requirements.

Here are our top tips.

1. Choose a light colour scheme

By now, every homeowner ought to know that one of the easiest ways to make a small space look and feel bigger is to choosing a light colour scheme on the walls. For bathrooms, this means opting for creams, beiges and light greens rather than anything luxurious like red or blue.

You may also want to look into employing the same pattern on the walls as you do on the floor (for example, using the same tiles on both). This will create an optical illusion whereby the room seems a lot bigger, particularly in the absence of natural light from a large window.

2. Combine your toilet and sink into one unit

For most of us, the cloakroom is less a bathroom in which we have our daily shower and shave than it is a downstairs toilet to which guests can be easily directed instead of having to traipse all over the house every time they need to use the toilet. As such, there are only two units you really need: a lavatory and a sink or basin.

And the good news is that you can now buy both of these in the same unit, with the sink being affixed to the top of the toilet just above the chain. You can find these units at retailers like Bella Bathrooms and Victoria Plumbing, and they're a great way to free up leg room if you're working with a really small space. Some are even equipped with cupboard space so that you can store extra toilet paper or cleaning products as well.

3. Go easy on storage units

If you don't manage to find a unit that supports storage space as well as a sink and a toilet, then you will naturally need an alternative means of storing toiletries.

As a general rule, it's best to avoid free standing storage units, as they tend to get in the way, particularly if the room is very narrow. Shelves are also a generally a no-no, as the bathroom door generally opens inwards, which means there won't be much wall space.

Instead, try to make as much use of existing storage spaces. The window sill is a good place to start. If there's enough room, you could perhaps put a basket on it for storage purposes.

4. Mirrors

If you find a small bathroom unit with mirrored cabinets, it's definitetly a worthwhile investment. As well as providing extra storage space, it also has an additional function as an optical illusion. It simply makes the room look and feel bigger - again, especially if there are no windows.

By the same token, it's best to avoid big mirrors hanging from the wall or the door. Use your best judgement, but make sure you fit some kind of mirror in there one way or the other.

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