We have seen so many cool toilets under stairs, that we thought it was time to allocate a post to them. So here it is!
Small houses often have a staircase, and most people use it for storage, but there are other options as well. Why not use this space for installing a closet-style toilet?
That’s a great idea if you do not have a toilet on the floor or if you want to cancel an existing one to save space for other ideas.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ideas and what you need to figure out to make this work!
Let’s start by looking at some of the best designs we have come by when it comes to toilets under stairways.
Minimalist Toilet Under Stairs
This idea is so beautifully done.
Even the door is made to measure. The corner is cut off in order for the door to close under the stairs. The basin and the toilet is stylish and place in the center to make it as comfortable as possible to sit and do your business.
Let’s start off with the winner of “smallest under-the-staircase toilets”
It’s a really beautiful toilet which is built to the exact measures of the staircase.
The next toilet is not much bigger, but you have a separate sink/mirror area.
The toilet here is mounted along the stairs so the room can be even smaller. The stairs here are narrow and the space is very limited. So in order to fit in everything, the designer has chosen to place the toilet bowl as far into the lower part of the staircase as possible.
This seems to work really well.
The tallest part of the toilet space is used for washing hands and the mirror is also placed here. This way you have the low ceiling where you sit and the “high” ceiling where you stand up.
The toilet closes off with two doors. That’s a pretty cool way to do it because it reduces the feeling of being trapped inside a small closet. You can open up wide when you enter and if you are home alone you don’t feel locked up in a tiny space at all.
Here’s another similar example from another apartment around the same size.
Again, we have the most headroom around the sink and less headroom above the toilet. That seems to work just fine for this toilet as well.
Here’s an example where the builder has placed the toilet in the opposite direction.
We are not especially fond of the way they have used dark colors on the back wall. But it’s nice to have this example to compare to the example above. It illustrated how much more spacious the room feels with bright and white wallpaper.
This is very important to think about when you are working with tiny rooms like a toilet we want to fit under a staircase!
Here’s another example from an apartment in London just to illustrate the point.
A tiny room can quickly become claustrophobic. Especially when there are no windows. So this is a no go in our book!
White and bright colors work much better as they make the room appear bigger!
Photo: Leanne Dixon
Dimensions Of Under Stairs Toilets
So how tiny can you build a toilet under a staircase?
And a question we need to address in order to find out if this is even possible to do.
You will need at least a 6,5 feet (198 cm) long space from the lowest part of the ceiling. You don’t want the ceiling any lower than around 5,2 feet (160 cm).
You might be able to squeeze everything in a slightly smaller space but then you need to make absolutely sure the loo is short and wall mounted.
Tips For Maximizing The Space
1) Use a wall-mounted sink
This gives you some free storage area below the sink.
It’s important to have this space for storing towels, toilet paper, and what else you need in the toilet.
On top of that, we think that wall mounted sinks looks much more light and stylish than the alternatives.
These are also the type of sinks we normally see in the best tiny houses designs.
2) Use a built-in mirror with storage
When you insert the mirror unit into the wall you allow for extra storage. There are many great designs for mirrors with built-in storage.
You just push gently on the mirror to pop it open and access the space.
You can also get a mirror that can pop storage out on each side. You can check this article for more info on these mirrors.
3) Combined sink and toilet
You can also invest in this cool type of toilet with a sink installed on top. When you flush the toilet it will use the water from the sink. So not only does it save space, but it also saves you water.
And it looks really cool!
You can even get it with a side-mounted toilet seat so you can optimize the very last square inch of the tiny toilet space!
This might not even be necessary with t toilet under stairs as we will typically have at least 6 feet (182) of space.
It’s a great idea to use a combined toilet and sink, it the toilet is really small. The example below is a brilliant example that looks stylish.
You can get a very stylish combined sink and toilets. This one is from the Spanish company Roca:
This toilet seat is opened away from the wall, and by turning the toilet 90 degrees, you get natural access to the sink and the mirror.
We have made a separate article with all the VERY BEST ideas for optimizing the space around the toilet.
Go here to see more ideas here in order to space in a small toilet.
What About Ventilation?
Ventilation is often a problem when you install a toilet in the middle of a house. However, you might be able to install a vent on the wall that is parallel to the staircase.
If you want to follow the building regulations you need to have a form of ventilation installed whenever you have a domestic toilet.
This is to ensure you can get rid of the humidity and it’s also a nice option to be able to get fresh air into a toilet in order to get rid of the smell.
Normally we can fix this with a window but that’s typically not an option when we are installing the toilet under stairs. So instead we can install an extractor. It’s a good idea to have it synched to the light switch. With proper installation, you can have it turn on and off with the light.
If you install a shower you will obviously need stronger ventilation and the ability to drive out the moist. If you cannot get rid of all or it we recommend you get a dehumidifier as well.
Here are the two dehumidifiers we recommend for smaller spaces. They are portable and you can bring them in your RV as well.
You need to connect the loo to the pipe system. This can be a challenge if you do not have a toilet directly above or below the stairs.
So make sure the toilet can be connected to the plumbing. Otherwise, you might be able to fix this by connecting the toilet to pipes that can lead the drain into the sewer.
If you need to install a new sewer line for the toilet you need to consult professionals.
You need a drawing of how the existing pipes are connected to the sewer so you can figure out the best way to connect a new line.
When you fit the new branch unto the existing pipes you need to ensure that everything is installed properly. Nothing is more frustrating than a blocked toilet. Except for a broken sewer pipe which could also be possible if you don’t know what you are doing.
The toilet will also need to be connected to the water supply in order to fill the tank.
Bathtub fitted under the staircase
This is a brilliant use of space.
The space below the first part of the staircase is practically impossible to use for other than drawers for storage.
But for many people storage is not a problem, if you have downsized a lot.
So why not place a bathtub directly below the staircase?
You will need good ventilation here (as we mentioned above). Make sure you have a strong fan to drive out the moisture or a window like in the example above.
But this idea is probably not optimal in most cases. The space around the stairs can be tough to work with and hard to access once you have installed a bathtub in the room. So think twice before you go all out with a bathroom under a staircase.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.