8 things to consider before doing up your downstairs loo

How to make the most of your cloakroom

It may be the smallest room in the house but there are plenty of reasons why the humble downstairs loo should be given some decorating attention. After the hallway and lounge, it’s often the only room your guests will see, so has a certain kerb appeal that makes it a key area for making an impression. However, given the downstairs loo is often literally shoe-horned into the space below the stairs, deciding what to do with such a limited space can have its challenges. Don’t be put off though! Enjoy the freedom of knowing it’s the one place where you can really go to town and make a decorating statement without breaking the bank (or compromising your style standards!).

1. Go a bit crazy
If there’s any room in the house where you can afford to push the decor, it’s the downstairs loo. It’s not a room where (hopefully) much time is spent, so wild and wacky, off-the-wall or the plain smile-enducing pattern can all be used without fear anyone will be sticking around long enough to get sick of it. Diminutive proportions mean you can afford to experiment with more expensive or unusual finishes. And if you don’t like it, it’s not that expensive to rip it out and start again…

Dragon wallpaper, Paperboy for Wallpaper Direct

2. Have fun with accessories

A well-chosen decorative basin, or a bowl made from an unusual material can have a big impact on the space. This vintage fireman’s bucket has been adapted to serve as an unusual and striking basin.

Fornasetti Malachite wallpaper, Cole & Son

3. Impact is everything.Small space, big statement! Don’t forget, great imact can still be made with a single roll of wallpaper and a linear metre of carrara marble.

4. Wallpaper works. A
general lack of moisture means means that unlike in a bathroom, you can go
to town with bold wallpaper. Box in pipework to make things neat and uncluttered.

5. Keep things off the floor
As with any compact room, use wall hung ceramics if possible to keep the floor clear, increasing the feeling of space.

6. Go over to the dark side
Though lighter shades will make a space feel more airy, rich colours and exotic materials create a decadent and cocooning feel.

Panelling painted in Stiffkey Blue by Farrow & Ball.

7. Don’t forget about lightingAs well as task lighting next to the mirror, incorporate some statement lighting to create mood.

8. Pattern can be playful and chicCheeky pattern doesn’t have to be garish. When in doubt, keep the colour palette simple and the look will stay sophisticated.

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