Servicing Utopia

Cafe Toilets

Cafes often have a limited amount of floor area and therefore individual toilet units need to meet the requirements of different users.

Click the highlighted objects to find out how users experience this toilet space.

Providing sufficient storage beyond toilet spaces


Disabled toilets are often used as temporary storage solutions, and thus they are no longer accessible. Avoid this by maximising storage opportunities elsewhere in the building in the early stages of the building design process.

Baby Changer

Baby changing facilites provided in disabled toilets should not impede on the area requirements for wheelchair users.

Individual toilet spaces can provide safe and comfortable facilities

Some people don't feel safe in binary toilets with shared washing and circulation spaces, and the availability of individual toilet spaces such as this one are therefore really important.

Avoiding binary gendered signage

'Male' and 'Female' signage on individual toilets can make using those spaces difficult for users who aren't represented by binary genders. Consider using gender-neutral signage.

Disabled toilets should not be the only gender-neutral option

visible toilets

Relying on the disabled toilets as the only available gender-neutral option is not the best solution in larger buildings, where there is the possibility to accommodate gender non-binary spaces.



Making toilets visible at the entrance to the cafe

visible toilets

It is useful for people to see what kinds of toilets are available and where they are upon entering a semi-public space to know whether they meet their requirements and put them at ease. Making toilets visible also allows people to locate them easily.

Designing toilet routes through occupied spaces

visible toilets

It is useful to think about the ways in which people may inhabit buildings early in the design process and ensure that routes to the toilet are both easy to identify and navigate. This is particularly important for disabled people who might not be able to get to toilets as easily as others.



Include shelves, hooks and crutch/cane containers

Not everybody sits down to use the toilet, and without a shelf, users with colostomy bags have to put them on the toilet floor. Other fittings, including hooks and crutch/cane containers, can provide a hygienic and convenient aid for users.

Making doors and locks easy to use

Easy to use locks

In order to make toilets accessible to all, the weight of doors and the pace at which they close are important considerations. If doors are too heavy or swing too quickly some people find it difficult to get in and out of the toilet. Toilet locks should also be easy to use for people of all ages and abilities.

Avoiding ultra-violet lighting

UV lighting

Ultra-violet lights can make it difficult for partially sighted people, those with epilepsy and/or other sensory sensitivities to differentiate between and make use of facilities in the toilet. It is important to avoid the use of UV lighting where possible.

Space for those who support toilet users

Adequate space

Many people need support from carers or personal assistants to use toilets, including children, some older people and disabled people. Disabled toilets need to be big enough to accommodate more than one person for these purposes.

Ensure that sinks are of a practical size


If space is available then a large rather than small sink is preferable to many people. People can use toilet sinks to fill up water bowls for assistant dogs, for example. It is important, however, that the sink does not impede access.

Making toilet spaces safe

Alarm cord

Alarm cords should be available in disabled toilets. Consider positioning the cord near the toilet and within reach for all disabled people, including wheelchair users, but not in a place where it could get tangled up in wheelchairs and other equipment.

Adequate provision within spatial constraints

visible toilets

The floor area available in cafe spaces can be limited. However, gender neutral, family friendly and accessible facilities can be achieved through private toilet units offering a range of facilities inside offering access for many people.