Who wears a cloak these days? Not many people. Except perhaps a vicar. In winter. In an English borders village. It’s funny then that we still hang on to the word cloakroom… but what is a cloakroom and do you need to be Batman to have one?
For most of us in 2014 Cloakroom means one of two things. It’s the hole in the wall where we pay £2 to someone to look after our coat at a gig. Or it’s the downstairs loo, that also doubles as the room where we hang our coats, keep umbrellas and maybe (if it’s big enough) a rack of ‘outdoor’ shoes.
It’s usually a room brim full of stuff – with several winter jackets hung on the back of the door – so that it doesn’t open as far as it really should. More commonly than not, it’s also home to the downstairs toilet, which makes for the occasional awkward moment when one member of the family needs their coat and another needs something else.
So how do you make your downstairs cloakroom more functional and less free-for-all? If you are considering embarking on some major improvements to your water closet here are our top tips to the perfect cloakroom.
Changes to layouts, fixtures and fittings
If you are you are thinking about a full refurbishment and your downstairs cloakroom is of reasonable size (for a downstairs cloakroom) then it’s worth considering a complete change to layout. Modern fixtures and fittings come with lots of clever space saving features. For example the large old Victorian style toilet pan and basin could be replaced with a compact pan and corner sink. The latest cisterns tend to be much slimmer and wall hung – so the pan sits further back – whilst a corner sink is also less intrusive into the room. An over the toilet storage unit can also add to your capacity to keep cleaning and paper supplies handy, but out of sight.
If you are after something quirky that’s a bit more of a feature you could try the Aquarium Loo from fishnflush.co.uk Being a goldfish in that aquarium would be like living in your very own theme park all year round.
Partition – If you manage to create enough spare room you might contemplate an additional door partition – separating the toilet from the coat hooks. Adding an extra door means that the awkward “I need my coat/I’m on the loo” conversation will be banished for good, plus (when there’s no one actually in the loo) the kids can pretend it is an airlock, like on Star Trek.
As well as layout changes, there’s a surprising amount you can do with clever furnishings too. An overhead storage compartment with coat hooks beneath – for example – is perfect for keeping winter gloves, scarves and neat and tidy. If the layout works it could go on the wall between the two doors in your new partition between the toilet and hall.
The Illusion of space
Finally, it’s a classic trick – but if you want to create the feeling of more space then installing some decent sized mirrors on your cloakroom walls can give the illusion of a larger room. Just ensure you point them in the right direction, on the right walls – there are some circumstances when we don’t want to see our reflection.
Finally you can ask yourself if you really need to be using the space all year round for everything that’s in there. If you’re keeping your ski jackets in there in July because you’ve simply got nowhere else for them – you might consider a storage locker at one of our London locations.