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Renovating the downstairs loo

Usually the smallest room in the house, the downstairs loo is often overlooked. In terms of decorating it often isn’t an easy fix either. Perhaps you’ve inherited one with tiled walls that aren’t to your taste or perhaps an ugly or old suite. Whatever you’ve got, there are always things you can do to freshen up the room. Here are a few ideas.

Downstairs loo

Credit: Sanderson

Quick fixes

Paint it

Paint has to be the cheapest and quickest way to change the look of a room. In a small room it’s tempting to keep it light and bright, but actually, a small room can take a darker colour or pattern quite well.

Credit: Photo by Paul Massey

Change the lighting

Lighting can make a room feel small and dark or bright and welcoming. OK so it’s a downstairs loo, but that’s still important. Perhaps change the bulb and get a new light shade.

Build in some storage

Our downstairs loo also doubles up as a cloakroom and storage for dog towels etc, so it can start to feel a little cramped. If you have high ceilings perhaps consider some high-level shelving that’s above eye level and keeps to floor space clear.


A large mirror can instantly make the room feel bigger and lighter. Carefully positioned (no one wants to look at themselves on the loo!) it can transform the feel of the room.

downstairs loo inspiration

Credit: Perini Tiles

Move involved fixes

Dealing with tiles

Panel over them
Tongue and groove panelling looks great and is actually quite easy to do. I’ve just done this myself (pics coming soon!) and I was surprised what I could achieve with a jigsaw and some timber. The mitre cuts are the trickiest bit, but if you can get your head around it it’s well worth the effort. If you don’t fancy having a go yourself, a chippie would make short work of this kind of job and the end result would probably be better – although a little less satisfying.

Credit: Remodelista

Paint them
I know, blasphemy. But tiles paints have come a long way. I wouldn’t recommend it as a long-term solution, but as a short term fix, if you’ve just moved in or just can’t look at the horrific tiles any longer, it is an option. I painted my kitchen tiles and then re-coloured the grout. The effect was OK. I lived with it for two years… but I was glad to see the back of it in the end!

Credit: UdA-Archetetti

Take them off and start again
Definitely the most expensive option. Even if you take the tiles off yourself, chances are you will need a plasterer to fix the wall (to not try plastering yourself unless you are a weight lifter and have the patience of a saint!) or a tiler to install new tiles – its the cuts that are the trickiest part.

Credit: Fired Earth

Improving the suite

Give it a really good clean
Sounds obvious, but getting some super-powered cleaning products on an old sink can work wonders. Bring back the shine to the tap and get that limescale off for good.

Credit: Apartment Therapy

Don’t fight the style
If you have a beautiful vintage suite, perhaps design the room to fit that period. If you have a 60’s square toilet and sink, or perhaps a colour suite (avocado and teal are my favourites!) then find something that makes it look right. Trying to make it something that it isn’t will always just look wrong.


Old lino or tiles can look drab make the room feel unclean. Pulling up the lino and replacing it with a new piece can work wonders and needn’t be expensive. Depending on the size of your room a small piece of lino can be purchased from B&Q or you might even be able to get an offcut from a carpet shop. Be careful if you’re laying it yourself; cutting it too small is a big mistake and not easily fixed.

Maybe you’ve got carpet? Pull it up! For me, there is very little worse than carpet in a toilet or bathroom. It doesn’t bear thinking about! Rip it and any put paint the floorboards, replace with wood, put lino down, anything is better than carpet!!

More Downstairs Loo Inspiration on Pinterest

I love interiors! I've always enjoyed styling my home and my husband will tell you I'm always moving things around and trying something new. My favs include Mid Century Modern and Ecclectic mixes of contrasting themes such as classical design and pop art.

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