Adding a cloakroom to your garden room

Dermot, a self-builder, emailed to ask how we would adapt our garden room with storage shed plans to house a w.c and a kitchen area, instead of the store. We thought we would share our answer here as it maybe something you are thinking about for your garden room project.

It is becoming increasingly popular to incorporate a toilet/shower room into a garden room. Many buyers are also incorporating a kitchenette to make the room self-contained from the house and opening up many possibilities for future use.

Incorporating a toilet/shower room is going to be expensive

It is not a cheap option to incorporate a showroom into a garden room building. It is not so much the cost of sanitary ware as this is quite competitively priced, its the connection of the water and sewerage to the mains supply of your house. These connections need to comply with and be passed by Building Control, so you are going to need to seek the skills of a qualified plumber. You could, however, undertake the groundworks yourself to save money.

Because you need to identify where your mains connections are and the gravity fall from your garden room to them, it would be wise to get a professional along to advise you before you go too far down the planning process.

There are off grid options

There are some off grid options that you could go with that will cost you much less. In these instances, the professional garden room designers make use of cassette toilet systems and water tanks used in caravans. Yes, you have to do some work to maintain these systems, but they are a cost effective way of installing a toilet in a garden room.

When it comes to framing you shower room

Dermot asked how we would adapt our garden room with store plans to incorporate a shower room. We would create a stud work wall on the front elevation to remove the doorway to the store, creating one large room.

We would then build our shower room in one corner using a stud work frame, in much the same manner as our exterior walls. We would use a 47 x 100mm timber for this stud work but in many instances professional garden room designers would specify 47 x 75mm framing.

Stud work partition

You would build your interior stud work partitions in the same manner as the exterior walls

When designing your stud work frame, you need to think about where any pipework will be installed and position your studs accordingly. From experience, we know that it is worth working out where the drain of your shower, for instance, will run and adapting the floor layout accordingly, rather than end up having to cut into a joist.

Cloakroom studwork frame

You would fix the stud work frames into the walls, floor & roof frameworks. Remember, to add lintels and small studs above any door openings

Even though you have the envelope of insulation created by your exterior walls, we would still insulate these partition walls as it will add an extra layer of thermal performance but more importantly help with sound. You could use your rigid board like Celotex or a fibre matting like Rockwool.

You would then finish the walls with plasterboard either side, having done your first fix of plumbing and electrics before you do. If you are planning to tile your shower room, you might want to use a cement based board such as Hardiebacker as this will take the weight of the tiles and is waterproof.

Think about incorporating a window

A cloakroom or shower room is going to need to have an extractor fan to ensure that the room complies with Building Regulations. You might want to also incorporate a small window to allow for added ventilation and natural light. Small fanlight windows are often used, positioned above the toilet or basin. You would frame this in the same way as any other window opening with timber lintels and supporting studs below and above the opening.


When it comes to positioning a shower room in a garden room, they normally sit in the corner of the main room. Some designers will set the door on an angle to make the shower room seem less boxy.

Positioning a cloakroom in a garden room

Positioning a cloakroom in the corner of the room creates a natural recess for a kitchenette

Other designers will run the shower room along the depth of the building. With this layout, you end up with the door in the centre of the wall with the loo to one side and the shower at the other. The room would typically just be 900mm wide, this being the width of a small shower tray.

Positioning the door on the corner of the cloakroom

Some designers will position the door at a 45-degree angle to make the cloakroom seem less boxy in the room

When space for a cloakroom is at a premium garden room designers are making use of space saving sanitary ware. For instance, you can buy a toilet which has a wash basin above.

Shower room layout for a garden room

Another layout we commonly see is the shower room running the depth of the room. This layout tends to be 900mm wide with the shower at one end, the toilet at the other and a basin in the middle

Incorporating a kitchen

If you position your shower room in the corner of the room, you will create a natural recess for a small kitchen area.

You could use normal kitchen units to build this, but you might also want to look at the work of John Strand and Elfin Kitchens who both offer complete kitchenette options, which make use of every inch of space available.