Often considered a dull little room, a cloakroom should be a cherished piece. Sadly neglected by many homeowners, locker rooms all too often become dumpsites for broken bikes, worn out shoes and defective deck chairs. If you treat it with a little (but not too much) respect, your cloakroom will serve as a convenience to your guests while giving you privacy in your own bathroom (where your wrinkle cream, your old rag and your worn teeth a secret!).
Demanding a minimum of space (an area as small as 1 x 1.5m will host the essentials), a cloakroom can be located virtually anywhere as long as appropriate arrangements can be made for the plumbing and, if it adjoins a living room or kitchen, there is a lobby between the two. An upstairs space below an existing bathroom will in many cases minimize the disturbances.
What's in the locker room? Essential, of course, are the pan and toilet cistern. From a decorative point of view, an integrated cistern is cleaner and also provides a shelf on which accessories can be displayed. If your tank is not built-in, you can still install a removable shelf supported by brackets. If space is limited, you will need an extra-small wash basin or sink that will fit a corner.
In a larger dressing room, it's a good idea to choose a more generous basin with a mixing mixer-faucet arrangement – so useful for filling a bucket, watering can or kettle. The basin can also be placed in a vanity unit to give it a less utilitarian appearance and to provide additional storage below. If space permits, the inclusion of a shower unit can help relieve pressure in a master bath.
In addition to these essentials, you will need a well-lit mirror (preferably full-length), a toilet tissue holder, a towel rack and wall hooks for coats. The heating of a room used for such short periods may seem unnecessary, but it is essential for the comfort of those who visit the room and can easily be combined with a heated towel rail. Grooming accessories such as nail brushes, perfumes, brushes and combs, paper tissues and a clothes brush are smart additions, as are magazines for the pleasure of visitors.
Because your locker room is likely to occupy only a small area, you have a wonderful opportunity to consider more exotic finishes that could be considered extravagant or overpowering in a larger space. And, as the time spent in this room is likely to be brief, you can afford to make a decoration statement much stronger than what might be considered cautious in, say, a family bathroom.
This is the perfect piece to make a visual joke to a captive audience – where else can you view your achievements (your "Oscar", your diploma, your war medals, your certificate of parachute jump or your price of peace?) without appearing immodest? Think about the following ideas:
- If there are a lot of pipes exposed, how about making it a feature by painting them rainbow colors?
- How about covering your walls with newspaper sheets containing funny titles?
- If your locker room has a dull view of the window (or even no window at all), why not take advantage of the opportunity to create your own scenes with a touch of trompe?
- Consider leaving the walls equitably plain and using your locker room as a trophy room, museum, or art gallery.
Whatever your style choice, be careful not to combine too many ideas in this small space where the piece will lose its impact.