It's usually the smallest room in the house but come up with some downstairs toilet wallpaper ideas and you've got yourself a space that is sure to make a statement.
Whether you keep it classy or go all-out whacky, this compact room offers a chance for you to unleash some creativity with your small bathroom ideas and impress the many guests it will no doubt see. You can play around with colour and pattern, and choose something you might not be brave enough to use in a larger living space.
Bathroom wall ideas often list wallpaper as one of the easiest ways to add drama to a room, but when it come to choosing a print, colour and theme, it can be tricky to know where to start. And then which part of your downstairs toilet ideas do you wallpaper – all of the walls, or just one?
Downstairs toilet wallpaper ideas
'Wallpaper is a wonderful way to add texture and character to a downstairs toilet,' says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene. 'Consider a mural design to add a sumptuous and enchanting feel, creating a space that delivers a sense of escapism.'
Lucy St George, co-founder of Rockett St George, agrees: 'Wallpaper in a downstairs toilet is a great way to add an instant pop of pattern and colour,' she says. 'While wallpaper in the bathroom is often approached with caution, it shouldn’t be ruled out. The downstairs toilet is the perfect place to play around with more adventurous design decisions. As a smaller space, downstairs toilets can pull off bolder patterns and brighter colour palettes than other parts of the home.'
Ready to get started with some downstairs toilet wallpaper ideas?
1. Try a tropical look
A palm-print paper is a fabulous way to give your downstairs toilet a taste of the tropics. If you don't want to go for something too bright, embrace a darker small bathroom colour scheme with shades of inky blue and deep forest green set on a black background.
Bringing in small tropical-themed accessories, like a parrot ornament and plants, gives a nod to the theme, while gold light fittings, shelving and taps keep the look feeling luxe rather than tacky.
2. Map it out
Dare to be different with a map-print wallpaper that gives you something new to look at each time you visit your downstairs toilet. You could use a map that's local to your area, or maybe somewhere you'd like to visit – or why not go for one that shows countries and gives the kids an educational geographical element?
3. Go big and bold
While one wallpapered wall looks great in a downstairs toilet, don't underestimate the impact that having all walls papered can make as a striking wallpaper idea. Here, a bold leopard-print paper has been used throughout, and although the background of the paper is dark, the fact there is a window in the room and the ceiling and skirting has been kept white means the room stays feeling light and bright.
'A small downstairs toilet is a fantastic room to embrace colour and pattern, creating a wow moment for you and your guests,' says Little Greene's Ruth Mottershead. 'Don’t be afraid to use rich, deep colours and all-over patterns, as these are transient rooms in which to add character and showcase your personality.'
Note the perspex panel above the sink to protect the wallpaper from water splashes and the wood mirror that ties in with the orange-brown colour scheme. Ornate mouldings on the ceiling, a traditional-style sink and a thick fabric blind all bring a sense of luxury to the room.
4. Turn it terrazzo!
Terrazzo or ink-splotch prints are guaranteed to give your downstairs toilet an eye-catching look. If you can, think about wallpapering the wall directly in front of you as you open the door – that way you get the full effect of the pattern and if the door is left open at any time, it makes it a more decorative view.
This under-the-stairs downstairs toilet idea has a wallpaper with a light background, which works well against the darker grey paint on the walls and door outside.
5. Make it modern
If your downstairs toilet has modern fittings, with curved loos or contemporary basins, then pick a wallpaper to match. Geometric or aztec prints are ideal for continuing that on-trend feel – and if you feel the print is a little too bold, why not use it on just half the wall above some wall panelling ideas?
6. Team wallpaper with tiles
If an entire room of wallpaper feels like it might be too much, why not add some wall tiles in too? Having been built out here to box in all the pipework behind the toilet, the tiled area also offers a display shelf, along with a splashback behind the sink.
Using plain white metro tiles as your cloakroom tile idea helps the wallpaper become the focus, with its fabulous flamingo print very much taking centre stage. Despite its bold print, the wallpaper's soft grey colour tone keeps it feeling light and far from overpowering, and the small hints of pink add a feminine feel.
7. Stay bright
Not for the fainthearted, this fun photographic wallpaper will almost certainly appeal to the colour splashers among you. The fun collage of iconic front covers gives you something to look at and it's easy to pick out a colour from the design to echo elsewhere in the room, as has been done here with the blue tiled splashback over the sink.
You could always make your own wallcovering, with your own choice of book (or magazine) covers, of course.
8. Don't forget the ceiling
Decorating the ceiling isn't only for living rooms and bedrooms – it can make your downstairs toilet really stand out. A creative bathroom wallpaper idea takes this small space from drab to fab, giving it the ultimate wow factor.
Here, a busy jungle print, Kingdom Lion wallpaper, £52 a roll from Graham & Brown has been used on all walls, and you'll see that by taking it onto the ceiling it helps draw the eye upwards and emphasise the room's height.
9. Fill it with florals
Give your downstairs toilet an uplifting floral or botanical theme with a wallpaper that fills it with blooms and leafy prints. This summery design has had its nature theme echoed with the use of wood (on the toilet seat and door), and a rustic terracotta pot and plant on top. All that's needed is a floral-scented candle or diffuser to really set the mood.
'Botanical wallpapers are always a winner, bringing a sense of calm through the connection to nature,' says Lucy St George. 'From leafy palm prints to oversized florals and colourful tropical landscapes, botanical wallpapers have a timeless appeal and balance natural calm with luxury.'
10. Create an illusion
Trompe l'oeil is a technique often applied to wallpaper to give it a 3D, optical effect, and you can see an example of that here with this one wall that looks as though it's a cabinet of drawers.
What we particularly like about this room, is that if you look closely at the wallpaper you'll see that some of the printed knobs have had real knobs screwed into the wall on top (with a set of keys hanging off of one of them), to make the drawers appear even more realistic. Clever!
11. Pair paper with panelling
When you can't decide between paper and paint, why not have both? Here, panelling at the bottom half of the wall has been painted a light blue, with the same colour picked out in the wallpaper pattern above.
This half-and-half design is also good if you think wallpaper might not work in a wet area behind the sink, and gives you the chance to put your creative skills to good use mixing and matching colours and prints.
12. Have fun with animal print
Animal print never seems to go out of fashion, whether you're opting for leopard spots, snakeskin scales or wavy zebra stripes, like these. Ramp up the impact by using it on all walls for maximum effect, letting the print do the talking. There's no need for lots of accessories here – keep it simple, with neutral fittings and one statement piece, such as this large gold mirror.
Not confident enough to go so big and bold? Try using your animal print wallpaper on just one wall – or above some panelling, instead.
'For a beautifully bold look, dark and dramatic colours from bold black to graphite grey and midnight are perfect for statement bathroom schemes,' says Lucy St George. 'These colours create cosiness and the illusion of space, so are also ideal for smaller cloakrooms and downstairs bathrooms.'
13. Set the scene
Escape to foreign climes with a wallpaper that depicts a country or landscape of your choice. Whether it's a city scape, beach scene or architectural landmark, it's a great way to turn your toilet into an exotic room that guests won't be expecting.
14. Stay tonal
If you're more about texture and neutral colours, pick a wallpaper that adds interest without overpowering the room. Here, a subtle print called Mineral marble grey luxury geometric wallpaper, £70 per roll from 1838 Wallcoverings echoes the textures and colours used in the accessories by the sink, adding to the scheme without becoming the focal point.
15. Keep it classy
Ornate detailing, traditional fittings and high ceilings all cry out for a wallpaper that is just as classy in style, so consider not only your pattern but your choice of colour too.
Here, the wallpaper features a delicate woodland print, while the colour is the perfect match for the paintwork, creating a beautifully blended wall.
Can you wallpaper a downstairs toilet?
'Certainly! Any space can be wallpapered,' says Claire Greenfield, lead designer at Harlequin. 'Using wallpaper in a cloakroom can be incredibly effective, adding interest and personality to a space. Key considerations for a cloakroom to keep in mind will be the dimensions of the space – in particular cloakrooms under stairs which can have tricky angles, so ensuring you have properly measured the space is crucial.'
How can I make my downstairs toilet look nice?
Firstly, think about how you want your downstairs toilet to look. Would you like something bright and bold, or luxurious? Perhaps you'd like a theme, or something a bit more quirky?
'Due to the size and secluded nature of a downstairs toilet, this is a brilliant space to add a touch of fun,' says Claire Greenfield. 'The cloakroom is perfect to deviate from a home’s overall scheme, acting almost as a retreat from the everyday, and thus creating a more personal space. Dark patterns, like our "Enigmatic" or "Paeonia" prints would look far richer, creating a secluded sanctuary from the home. Bright patterns like our recently launched "Dahlia" can brighten a space that lacks lots of natural light, which can make a bathroom feel far more warm and homely.'
How do you revamp a downstairs toilet?
Start by seeing what needs replacing – is it the whole scheme, complete with fittings, or could you get away with just freshening up the walls and accessories? Next, decide where you'd like your wallpaper to go. 'It’s important to avoid wallpapering areas that will be regularly splashed with water and instead choose tiles for these spots,' says Lucy St George. 'However, other than that, there really are no rules!'
Lucy continues. 'One of our favourite choices for bathroom wallpaper at Rockett St George has to be chinoiserie. Featuring majestic birds, blossom trees and extraordinary garden scenes, chinoiserie designs also celebrate the beauty of the natural world. Long associated with luxury, introducing these patterns to your bathroom creates a display with instant impact and is guaranteed to impress any guest.'
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Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at lauriedavidson.co.uk
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