Inspiration for Cloakrooms

I’ve lived in the UK for going on 14 years now and the one thing I’ve noticed is that the ‘cloakroom’ is practically a British institution. The smallest room in the house, usually containing just a WC and small sink is normally the place where one’s personality comes to the fore. My friends’ downstairs loo is plastered from floor to ceiling in interesting images and articles ripped from magazines, a particular favourite being an employment opportunity where a secretary is promised £100k a year for being available at all times day and night and essentially giving up his or her own life for the sake of the boss. Another friend has a disco ball in hers. It’s rumoured that Matt Bellamy of the band Muse keeps his Grammy in his. It might be plastered with family photos or seaside resort postcards. One thing, however, is perfectly clear. Your loo says a lot about you.

personality filled cloakroom

While this seems to have been the trend (‘anything goes’) for years, home owners are now becoming more savvy, understanding that even the tiniest space that’s open to visitors is an opportunity to show off their style and perhaps even their good taste. And while the cloakroom is still an entirely functional space, the opportunity to create an attractive room should not be missed. Installing a cloakroom under the stairs could actually add value to your home and could be an attractive feature for resale. So getting it right can be as crucial as ensuring whatever space you do have is maximised.

cottage downstairs cloakroom

Pale colours of course will give the illusion of more space and so utilising lighter colours or pale tiles is usually the easiest trick employed for such a small area. Tiling the entire space as in the example below draws the eye upwards and creates the illusion of a taller space – important when quarters are a little bijou!

contemporary cloakroom

Maximising any existing wall space or using wider window sills as shelving for storage can create much-needed storage for toiletries. Using trim can create a luxury feel, carrying the look of a historic property into even the smallest spaces.

cloakroom with window

Whilst many bathroom retailers will have smaller basins and fixtures specifically for cloakrooms, getting the layout right is also something you’ll want to consider. A corner sink can be a great space saver and a wall hung toilet can look contemporary and unobtrusive. Or you may consider a toilet and sink in one for brilliant space saving.

small toilet and sink in one cloakroom

Consider using reflective materials to bounce any light around your space. Metallic, glass or glossy tiles are a great way to create a brighter atmosphere and can go a long way in creating a personality-filled space.

mirrored tile in cloakroom

This does not necessarily mean that you have to now play it safe in terms of your decorating style. With smaller rooms that you don’t spend as much time in, you can actually have a bit of fun with the decor, using bold wallpaper or dark paint colours to create drama. Why not hang a small sparkling chandelier or glimmering sconces to give the space some elegance and whimsy? Combine it with a glossy black floor tile for the ultimate glamorous loo!

small bathroom with black and white wallpaper

So just because it may be the smallest room in the home, doesn’t mean it should be a neglected space. Your cloakroom can be petite but it can still have lots of personality and function perfectly too.

How do you decorate your own cloakroom? Any favourites of the ones shared here? I’d love to hear from you.


Image sources: Anthropologie via The Anna Mum Diary / Border Oak / Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects via Houzz / The Finished Space / Trend Survivor / Troyer Builders via Tidbits and Twine / Style at Home


A Social Media and Content Marketing Editor, Kimberly Duran is an Interior Design-obsessed American ex-pat, who chronicles her decorating journey in her personal blog, Swoon Worthy. When she’s not helplessly drooling over blogs, design sites and adding things to the imaginary ‘shopping basket’ in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects with her partner in crime, Wayne, stalking eBay for bargains, taking Instagram pictures of her cats, and continuing her love affair with gold spray paint.