create a cloakroom with character

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  • The downstairs toilet may be one of the most compact rooms in your home, but it also offers a chance for you to unleash your creativity and impress the many guests it will no doubt see. It’s a room where you can play around with colour and pattern, opting for something you might not be brave enough to choose in a larger living space. Meaning creative downstairs toilet wallpaper ideas are always welcome!

    Small bathroom ideas often show wallpaper as a key ingredient if you want to add impact and drama, and there’s no better spot than your downstairs toilet – but should you wallpaper it all or just a portion of the room? Go for a bold print or something more playful?

    Downstairs toilet wallpaper ideas

    ‘Wallpaper in a downstairs toilet is a great way to add an instant pop of pattern and colour,’ explains Lucy St George, co-founder of Rockett St George. ‘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.’

    Whether you’re looking for subtle or after something much more dramatic, we’ve found cloakroom ideas to suit all tastes. Ready to see some decorating magic? Read on for downstairs toilet wallpaper ideas…

    1. Team wallpaper with tiles

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme

    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.

    2. Make it bold

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore

    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.

    3. Don’t forget the ceiling

    Image credit: Graham & Brown

    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 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.

    Buy now: Kingdom Lion wallpaper, £65 a roll, Graham & Brown

    4. Fill it with florals

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Kristy Noble

    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.’

    5. Create an illusion

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme

    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!

    6. Pair it with panelling

    cloakroom bathroom with blue painted wall panelling

    Image credit: Paint & Paper Library

    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.

    Buy now: Hardy Palm wallpaper, £118 per roll, from the Botany collection, Paint & Paper Library

    7. Go for animal print

    Image credit: Homebase

    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.’

    Buy now: Arthouse Serengeti zebra print textured black and white wallpaper, £14 a roll, Homebase

    8. Set the scene

    Cloakroom sink area with architectural wallpaper behind

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Rachael Smith

    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.

    9. Stay tonal

    bathroom with round grey sink and geometric wallpaper

    Image credit: 1838 Wallcoverings

    If you’re more about texture and neutral colours, pick a wallpaper that adds interest without overpowering the room. Here, a subtle print echoes the textures and colours used in the accessories by the sink, adding to the scheme without becoming the focal point.

    Buy now: Mineral marble grey luxury geometric wallpaper, £70 per roll, 1838 Wallcoverings

    10. Keep it classy

    grey downstairs bathroom with wallpaper

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Paul Raeside

    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.’