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Designing your toilets: the 3 mistakes to avoid

Neglecting the layout and lighting are some of the major mistakes that should not be made when designing toilets. Two interior design professionals detail them, and discuss the best practices to adopt in order to successfully design toilets that are as practical as they are stylish.

Whether independent or placed in the bathroom, toilets often occupy a limited space in our homes. Their arrangement is not always easy, due to door openings, the integration of a hand-washing basin or storage space. Often neglected, the layout and decoration of toilets also lack ideas. Valérie Laporte-Volatier, interior designer at Les Murs have ears, and Margaux Meza, interior designer at Transition Interior Design, are used to taking care of these small spaces. Discover their recommendations and tips. 

Error n°1: neglecting toilet layout

When the toilets are independent, not putting hand wash basins in them is problematic, as interior designer Valérie Laporte-Volatier explains. This requires going out to wash your hands in an adjoining room, often the bathroom.  

The good practice: if the surface area of the toilets is really small, use a small rectangular washbasin, 15 or 20 cm deep maximum, or a model to be placed at an angle. 

In toilets where every square metre counts, use a small hand-washing basin. Realization Transition Interior DesignTransition Interior Design

The other black point of toilet design is undoubtedly to neglect storage. Whether it is for toilet paper or cleaning products, sufficient space is needed. Be careful not to add cumbersome furniture that can quickly be bumped into. 

The good practice: Margaux Meza of Transition Interior Design recommends rather “to optimize the place above the Geberit. To do this, why not create a niche, a closet, or use this recess for shelves.  

“Shelves can be opened to place books, decorative objects, etc…, or with two hinged doors,” says Valérie Laporte-Volatier. 

Use the surface above the Geberit to create storage space: closed cupboards and an open niche. Realization The Walls Have EarsJoanna Zielinska

Finally, when it is located in the bathroom, “falling directly on the toilet in majesty” is certainly not the ideal solution, warns the interior designer of Les Murs ont des Oreilles.  

The good practice: in the case of renovation work, the best solution is to “place it at the back of the room, and hide it with a low wall or a screen” that delimit the different functions in the bathroom.

When there is no choice, the toilets are in the bathroom. For aesthetic reasons, hiding them behind elements such as a vanity unit is a good idea. Realization Transition Interior DesignShoootin

Error #2: relegating toilet decoration to the background

The most common mistake identified by Valérie Laporte-Volatier is to ” stay minimalist and basic ” in the decoration of toilets, when on the contrary it is possible, and even recommended, to indulge in pleasure. 

The good practice: the interior designer of Transition Interior Design advises to dare to use colours and patterns to “create a strong atmosphere” in the WC. Whether it is with a strong painting, a panoramic wallpaper or a patterned tile, you must give free rein to your imagination and dare, since the space is all the smaller as there is little risk of making mistakes.  

Dare to use colour on toilet walls to give character to the room. Realization The Walls Have EarsJoanna Zielinska

Wallpaper works wonders in toilets where you can dare to do anything. With its patterns, it gives an art deco look to the small space. Realization Transition Interior DesignTransition Interior Design

Be careful, however, “decorating your toilet in a disparate way, without imagining a common thread” undermines the decoration of the toilet, says Valérie Laporte-Volatier. 

The good practice: define an atmosphere, a theme, to avoid cacophony. There is no shortage of styles: Nordic, retro, chic shabby, curiosity cabinet, art deco, etc.  

Error #3: Ignore toilet lighting  

“Saving zenithal lighting” is another faux pas not to be committed in toilet design, according to the pro of Les Murs ont des Oreilles agency. Although toilets “do not need to be over-lit,” says Margaux Meza, it is important to see clearly enough. 

The good practice: Valérie Laporte-Volatier recommends creating “a false ceiling with 1 or 2 recessed spotlights offering homogeneous light, or[think of] a ceiling outlet to place a decorative suspension”.  

For the interior architect at Transition Interior Design, it is also possible to design indirect lighting by playing with wall lights. The ideal is to choose models that project shadows on the walls in order to create a warm atmosphere. 

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