Water closet staging describes techniques that are used to improve the aesthetics and appeal of a toilet room or partial bathroom. Water closets have come back into style, as more prospective buyers seek greater degrees of personal privacy in shared and master bathrooms.
Water closets are really small rooms that usually only contain a toilet or a toilet and small sink. These facilities can be located within a larger bathroom or independently, to be used as a partial bath in tight spaces. The primary modern use of a water closet is to provide privacy for the toilet area in a master bath, so that 2 people may occupy the space at the same time, while maintaining some degree of separation between the toilet and bathing uses of the room.
Since water closets are really tiny, there is not much that needs to be done to stage them effectively. However, since the topic of water closets comes up often with clients, I decided to write this dedicated essay covering the best practices for preparing a WC, or master bath that contains a WC, for sale.
Water Closet Staging / Do I Need a WC?
Two of the most common questions that I receive regarding bathroom staging deal with water closets. While related by subject matter, both questions are concerned with opposite sides of the same coin:
Do I need to create a separate water closet in my master bath?
Should I get rid of my water closet when I renovate my bathroom in preparation for selling my home?
Let’s address these inquiries one at a time:
If you are renovating a bath anyway and have the space, installing a separate water closet might be a good idea, since these do rank well with selective buyers. Meanwhile, buyers who do not show partiality towards having a water closet typically do not penalize a bathroom for having a separate toilet. Therefore, there is really no risk, but the project will likely entail additional financial expense. If you are renovating a high-end home, there is no reason to leave out any detail, so in these instances, we recommend installing the WC to please the majority of buyers.
Some buyers are concerned that they should remove their present water closet and reconfigure their bathrooms for a more open design. The best answer to this question really depends greatly on the room size, overall design and other factors. Generally, water closets are assets and should not be removed, although they might benefit from being reconfigured for a more modern design if they are currently aesthetic liabilities. Remember, there are ways of configuring a water closet to make them more appealing, such as the use of decorative glass block walls, or the separation of space through room size alone. Not all water closets must be tiny cubicles resembling a closet containing a toilet.
Water Closet Enhancement Tips
If you have a water closet, or are building one, there are some basic tips that can help you to enhance its appeal to buyers. The following represent the best practices embraced by the professional staging sector:
Make sure that the flooring is seamless and continuous to the main room design if the WC is contained within a larger bathroom.
If formal walls and a door exist, bring these up high enough to offer plenty of privacy. Half walls do not qualify as truly useful for the most private of users.
Be sure the toilet is clean and undated. After all, it is the star of this tiny interior space.
Do not leave toilet brushes, plungers or cleaning supplies visible in the space.
Add a few pieces of art or accessories to tie the WC into the main room décor.
If a sink is present inside the water closet, be sure to highlight it with lighting and decorative touches to enhance its usefulness and appeal. A mirror is also highly recommended to be placed behind any size sink.
If no sink exists in the WC, a wall mounted dispenser of wet sanitary hand wipes is a nice touch that can win over buyers who protest at the lack of a hand washing station within the WC itself.
Water Closet Staging Summary
Some water closets are not found inside master bathrooms, but instead are simply independent toilets placed within the home, typically for guest use. These partial bathrooms must contain some form of sink or they will be judged as being useless and quite disgusting. If no sink exists, consider replacing the current toilet with a combination unit that can be fitted into the smallest of spaces, if need be.
For traditional water closets in a larger bathroom, consider ways that can make the space more appealing, especially in luxury houses and apartments. Some truly magnificent water closets have full size sinks, with a full selection of toiletries and even high-tech hand driers. A few even contain multiple fixtures, besides the toilet and sink, such as heated towel bars, a scale and a bidet.
Remember, water closets can become selling features when they are highlighted and accentuated with the many touches inherent to professional home staging. However, when neglected, these features can become liabilities, just like any other house attribute that is not optimized prior to placing the property up for sale.