Considering how important the toilet is to every person every day, we spend little time on actually choosing them. If you’re concentrating on choosing a suite, it makes perfect sense for toilet and basin to match as they are usually positioned close to each other. If you have a focal point bath, try and choose a toilet and basin that are part of the same range, otherwise the bathroom could look a little disjointed.


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There’s a huge choice of wall-hung and back-to-wall designs within the bathroom furniture ranges, which means the cistern is hidden and the only part of the toilet visible is the pan itself. Dual flush versions save water, by offering the choice of full or half flushes, and there are also hi-tech wash and dry versions too! Owners of traditional-style period homes could choose decorated toilets with high-level cisterns for an authentic scheme.


Types of Toilet

There are lots of different descriptions of toilet types, and although to the untrained eye the differences may be minor, in fact these details do have a big impact on the design of the bathroom.


Close-coupled toilets are popular … they tend to be affordable and straightforward to install, especially if replacing an existing toilet. Close-coupled means the cistern sits on top of the back of the toilet pan. It’s a neat and unobtrusive look. For contemporary style, choose a toilet with a push button flush on the top surface of the cistern.

Low Level & High Level Toilets

Prior to the popularity of close-coupled toilets, the choice was between low-level (where the cistern is separated from the pan and joined by a pipe which can be around 30cm in length. Alternatively, a high-level cistern is a very traditional choice, where the cistern is mounted high on the wall, the flush is usually a pull-chain, and the pipe joining the pan to the cistern is often shiny brass or chrome.  

Back-to-Wall Toilets

A back-to-wall toilet (usually listed as BTW in brochures) doesn’t have a visible cistern – it is concealed within a furniture cabinet or sometimes behind a false wall – perhaps in an alcove. A BTW toilet is neat and easy to keep clean as the back of the pan sits flat against the wall.


A Wall-Hung toilet is similar to a back-to-wall model, except the pan is suspended above the floor. Wall-hung toilets must be installed by a builder who is familiar with the concept and a highly competent installer.  It involves fitting a wall frame, concealed within the furniture, that will bear the weight of a wall-hung/suspended toilet. Bathroom designers are keen on this type of toilet as it enhances the floor space and provides a slick, modern look.

Comfort Height Toilets

Several brands have ‘comfort height’ toilets. These types are a few centimetres higher than standard and are often recommended for elderly or less able-bodied users.

Corner Toilets

If space is limited, consider a corner toilet. These are generally close-coupled designs, where the cistern is quadrant or wedge-shaped so the toilet sits neatly in the corner. Can be a good solution in a compact bathroom, making use of an otherwise under-used corner – team with a quadrant shower cubicle for efficient use of space.

Shower Toilets

Shower toilets have been popular in Japan for some time, and are beginning to be seen more often here. They look very similar to an elegant wall-toilet, but have the facility to shower and dry the user as well. Look at Grohe’s Sensia Arena design.


Styles of Toilet

Modern toilets have sleek lines and contemporary shapes. Inspect the toilets in the showroom from all angles, look at potential nooks and crannies that could become troublesome to clean. The simpler the design the better. Traditional styles are more elaborate with lots of curves and embellishment. Once again, look at simple styles with a traditional influence, try to avoid shapes and details that could cause cleaning issues.


Toilet Seats

Toilet seats are vitally important, for obvious reasons! Whilst we don’t suggest lifting the lid and trying out every toilet in a showroom for size and comfort, it’s worth knowing what the options are. A soft-close  system is a must-have … it means the seat just has to be nudged downwards and it will finish the descent on it’s own, with a soft landing. A must for keeping middle of the night bathroom trips nice and quiet! Seats and lids can be cheap and cheerful, in colours and patterns, available from home interior sheds for just a few £££s. These can be a good update, especially for a toilet that is past it’s best. A new toilet will come with a co-ordinating seat, and when ordering you’ll probably be given a choice of colours or finishes. White always looks good, of course. Some brands offer painted or stained wooden seats to match their furniture range. For an old-fashioned, traditional look, go for a mahogany-stained wooden seat; the same designs are usually available in oak or pine-style finishes


Other Toilet Considerations

Don’t be too shy about sitting on a toilet in the showroom! Height variations may be small, but really do make a difference, especially for taller or smaller people. If you want to be eco-friendly, choose a toilet- system that has a dual flush – widely available and can save lots of water throughout the life of the toilet. If the toilet is for a person with restricted hand use, or perhaps with arthritis, check that the flush button or lever is suited to their particular hand movements and/or limitations. Remember that moving or altering a soil pipe can be time-consuming and costly – but it may be worth it if it makes a dramatic difference to the room layout.