Main Considerations for Shopping Centre Toilets Design


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    Shopping centres are bustling hubs of activity that attract visitors from all walks of life. With the number of people who pass through these centres on a daily basis, it's essential to provide well-designed and functional facilities, including public bathrooms. While it's easy to overlook the importance of toilets, it's worth remembering that visitors will judge your shopping centre on the quality of your facilities. Therefore, it's essential to pay careful attention to the design of your shopping centre toilets.

    In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the key considerations when designing shopping centre toilets. From cubicle design and layout to washroom accessories and installation standards, we'll explore the factors that contribute to creating functional, accessible, and pleasant public bathrooms.


    The layout of shopping centre toilets can make or break the overall user experience. It's essential to get it right so that shoppers can feel comfortable and secure while using the facilities. A poorly designed toilet layout can lead to long queues, confusion, and even accidents. That's why it's crucial to consider the following aspects when designing the layout of a shopping centre toilet.

    6.1 Shopping Centre Toilets

    Separate Facilities for Men & Women

    First, separate facilities for men and women should be provided. This not only ensures privacy and safety but also helps to reduce waiting times. The number of cubicles allocated to each gender should be proportional to the expected footfall. The average ratio is 3 cubicles and 3 washbasins for every 50 women and 3 cubicles, 2 urinals and 3 washbasins for every 30 men. However, this can vary depending on the shopping centre's location, the type of visitors it attracts, and the peak hours.

    Cubicles Design & Size

    The design of your toilet cubicles is just as important as the layout. It's important to choose cubicles that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. When it comes to size, make sure the cubicles are spacious enough for users to comfortably move around. British Standards provide detailed sizing guidelines for different types of toilet cubicles; these include standard, enlarged, ambulant, and wheelchair-accessible cubicles.

    We’ve written a full article on the different types of toilet cubicles and their associated dimensions, which you can find in our Knowledge Hub page.

    Number of Required Cubicles

    When designing the layout of public toilets, it is crucial to take into account the estimated number of visitors and determine the appropriate number of cubicles required. Various factors, such as the building's usage and the number of visitors, may influence the number of required cubicles. For instance, a busy shopping centre might require more cubicles per person than a small coffee shop or a school.

    You can read more about the standard requirements and the minimum number of toilet cubicles per person for different sectors and main considerations in our Knowledge Hub page.

    Disabled Accessibility and Disabled Cubicles

    Ensuring that your shopping centre toilets are accessible to everyone, including the disabled, is a legal requirement. British building regulations require that a minimum of one cubicle and washbasin be designed for disabled use. This cubicle should be spacious enough to accommodate a wheelchair and should have grab bars and a low sink.

    It's also important to ensure that there are enough disabled cubicles available, and they are located in easily accessible areas.


    The lighting in shopping centre toilets is essential for creating a safe, comfortable, and welcoming environment for visitors. To achieve this, it is important to use energy-efficient lighting fixtures such as LED lights that are long-lasting and produce minimal heat. When designing the lighting plan, it is crucial to ensure even illumination throughout the space to avoid shadows and dark areas. 

    Natural light can also be used to create a bright and welcoming environment while reducing energy consumption. Additionally, it is important to consider the maintenance of the lighting fixtures, making sure that they are easy to clean and maintain. By keeping all these factors in mind, you can design a well-lit and comfortable space that will provide visitors with a positive experience.


    When it comes to washbasins, it's all about finding the right balance between functionality and style. Shopping centre toilets should provide a clean and hygienic space, and the washbasins play a crucial role in achieving that. They should be made of durable materials, easy to clean and maintain, and be able to accommodate a variety of users.

    Materials such as ceramic, stainless steel, and even solid surfaces are popular choices for washbasins in shopping centre toilets. When it comes to the number of washbasins, it's essential to consider the capacity of the toilet and the peak hours of usage. Additionally, it's necessary to provide lower sinks for children and people with disabilities to ensure accessibility and inclusivity.

    6.2 Shopping Centre Toilets

    Washroom Accessories

    A washroom is more than just cubicles and washbasins. It's the little extras that can make all the difference, elevating the user experience and providing a memorable impression.

    First and foremost, shopping centre toilets should provide the basics - toilet rolls, soap dispensers, and hand-drying facilities. Mirrors are also a must-have, helping users check their appearance before they leave the washroom.

    Sanitary Vending Machines & Sanitary Bins

    Sanitary vending machines, for example, can provide much-needed convenience and privacy for menstruating individuals.

    Proper waste disposal is vital to maintaining hygiene in public bathrooms, and sanitary bins play a significant role in achieving this. Sanitary bins should be readily available in all shopping centre toilets to provide a discreet and hygienic way for women to dispose of used hygiene products. These bins are usually fitted inside the cubicles for convenience, and some models even come with a pedal-operated lid to reduce the risk of contact with the bin's contents.

    Having readily available and well-maintained sanitary bins not only provides convenience for women but also helps maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of the washroom facilities. Improper disposal of waste can create unpleasant odours and become a breeding ground for bacteria and germs, making the environment unhygienic and potentially harmful to public health.

    Coat Hooks & Door Stops

    Coat hooks are a simple but important accessory that should not be overlooked in shopping centre toilet design. Visitors who have bulky clothing or bags will appreciate the convenience of having a place to hang their items while using the facilities.

    When selecting coat hooks, it's important to consider the durability of the materials used. Metal hooks are often the best choice as they can withstand frequent use and are easy to clean. Hooks should be installed at a height that is easily reachable for adults and children alike and should be spaced far enough apart to allow for multiple items to be hung without touching each other. In addition to standard coat hooks, consider installing hooks designed for bags, purses, or other personal items. These hooks can be mounted on the back of cubicle doors, allowing visitors to keep their belongings within reach but off the floor.

    Door stops may seem like a small detail, but they can make a big difference when it comes to the functionality of shopping centre toilets. They also help to reduce the wear and tear on cubicle doors, which can lead to costly repairs or replacements down the line.

    Grab Rail for Disabled and Elderlies

    Grab rails can provide support and stability for disabled and elderly individuals. These rails help disabled and elderly users move around the washroom safely and independently. When installing grab rails, it's important to choose a material that is durable and easy to clean, such as stainless steel or high-quality plastic. The grab rails should be securely attached to the wall, and the fixing points should be concealed to create a clean and unobtrusive look.

    There are a variety of different types of grab rails available, including straight rails, angled rails, and swing-away rails. Different users may require different types of grab rails depending on their mobility needs. By incorporating grab rails into your shopping centre toilet design, you are providing a safer and more accessible environment for all users, regardless of their mobility needs

    Baby Changing Facilities

    For families with young children, baby changing facilities can be a lifesaver. It's important to include these facilities in the design of a shopping centre's restroom, not only for the convenience of visitors but also to ensure that the centre is accessible and welcoming to families.

    When designing baby changing facilities, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, the facilities should be easily accessible to all visitors. This means that they should be located in a central and easily identifiable location, with clear signage and easy-to-use facilities. In addition, baby changing facilities should be designed with safety in mind. This includes ensuring that there is adequate space for parents and caregivers to safely change their children, as well as providing secure and stable changing tables that are easy to use.

    Installation Standards

    The installation of toilet cubicles and accessories is just as important as the design itself. Proper installation is crucial for ensuring safety, functionality and durability.

    It's important to ensure that all components are installed according to the manufacturer's specifications and building regulations. This includes adhering to the recommended weight loads, securing the cubicles and washbasins to the wall, and providing proper ventilation and drainage.

    The use of high-quality hardware and materials, such as corrosion-resistant fixings, will ensure that the toilet components remain in place and in good working order for years to come.

    Finally, when it comes to electrical installation, it's essential to ensure that it complies with the relevant regulations and that all electrical fittings are safe and secure.

    6.3 Shopping Centre Toilets

    Ventilation Systems

    Nothing can ruin a visit to a shopping centre toilet faster than unpleasant odours and poor air quality. That's why proper ventilation is a critical consideration in designing a shopping centre toilet. Without it, toilets can quickly become stuffy, humid, and downright unpleasant, detracting from the user experience.

    Fortunately, there are several types of ventilation systems available to improve air quality in shopping centre toilets. Mechanical and natural ventilation are two options available for different space sizes and needs. Mechanical ventilation uses fans and ducts to remove moisture and odours, while natural ventilation relies on windows and vents to circulate air. Regardless of the system you choose, proper design, installation, and maintenance are essential to avoid malfunctions.

    Designing shopping centre toilets that are functional, accessible, and visually appealing requires careful planning and consideration. By taking into account factors such as layout, cubicle design and size, lighting, washbasins, washroom accessories, and installation standards, you can create shopping centre toilets that offer a positive and comfortable experience for your visitors.

    At Excelsior Panelling, we understand the importance of creating shopping centre toilets that meet the needs of your visitors while also being durable and cost-effective. If you have any questions about bathroom design, toilet cubicle types and sizing, or any other aspect of shopping centre toilets, our team of experts is here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you in creating the perfect public restrooms for your shopping centre.


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