As a nation, our hands have probably never been so clean! We’re all more aware than ever of the importance of washing hands regularly and using antibacterial gel when we can’t use soap and water. Now we’ve got into such a good habit, most of us will be carrying it into the future as it’s an excellent way of reducing risk.
“Being able to wash our hands before entering the rest of the house has always been the best defence in reducing viral spread and until now, we’ve been able to be a bit more relaxed. It’s not just guests that will need to be vigilant, it’s just as important for all of us to remember to wash our hands the moment we return home.
Having a cloakroom, or simply a washbasin near the front door will become a priority for many homeowners,” says Wayne Dance, MD at InHouse Inspired Room Design, a Northumberland-based supplier of bathroom, kitchen and bedroom furnishings.
Modern small sinks and vanity units mean that even if you don’t already have a downstairs cloakroom, you may be able to find room for one in a walk-in cupboard or even under the stairs. Experts suggest that the absolute minimum you need is 80cm by 140cm, although if your current door opens inwards you may have to change it for a sliding or outward-opening option. If you’re starting from scratch, you will almost certainly need to install new plumbing and drainage plus updated electrical circuits. If the room has no window, you’ll also need an extractor fan.
Here’s the Fresh Design guide to designing or renovating the smallest room.
- As a minimum, you’ll need a loo and a washbasin. Wall-mounted loos take up less space visually, as you can see the floor under them. If you need storage, consider a vanity unit with a sink on top which will give you hidden shelves. If storage isn’t a necessity, then consider an open unit or wall-mounted sink which will make the small space look bigger.
- To make the most of the space, put up coat hooks or small wall shelf units rather than putting anything on the floor. This will also make the room quicker and easier to clean! The more uncluttered the space, the quicker it will be to give it a quick clean between guests.
- Mirrors can make a small space appear larger. Position them where they will catch light and reflect it back into the room. Large mirrors will reflect more light, but the mirror should be in proportion with the room – you don’t want an entire mirrored wall!
- If you’re working with a really tiny space, you may struggle to fit a radiator in. Instead, you could consider underfloor heating or, as a much simpler and cheaper option, a electric heated towel rail. These latter have the advantage of being instantly controllable, and can be used independently of the main central heating.
- Such a small room probably won’t need a huge amounting of lighting, but it’s worth putting in a light above the mirror as well as an overhead light to provide targeted illumination.
- Keep the space as clean and uncluttered as possible by boxing in pipe work and painting walls a light, neutral colour – you can always add splashs of bold colour with accessories to personalise the space. Using larger tiles can also help create the illusion of a larger space as there are fewer grout lines visible.
If you decide to proceed with putting in a new cloakroom from scratch, the next step is to consult a plumber to advise on the practicality of your chosen space. If you’re updating an existing room, you may already know a DIY expert with a bit of spare time!
Main image credit: Pelipal Bathrooms/InHouse Ltd0