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Are toilet seats universal?
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Are toilet seats universal?

Posted by Rebecca Doody in DIY advice | 11 months ago 5 min read

Buying a new toilet seat isn't as straightforward as you might think. In this article, we lift the lid on these items and discover if they are universal in shape and size.

When choosing a new toilet seat, it's important to make sure you get the right size. Toilet seats aren’t universal, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In this blog post, we'll lift the lid on the different types of toilet seats available and demonstrate how to measure your toilet to ensure you get the perfect fit.

Orchard Balance replacement soft close toilet seat

While this would make life much easier, sadly, toilet seats aren’t universal

Types of toilet seats

If you’re living in the UK and Europe, toilet seats tend to fall into the following general shapes:

  • Round
  • D shaped
  • Square

UK toilet seat shapes These are the 3 general toilet seat shapes you’ll find in the UK

In North America, it’s a slightly simpler affair. There are 2 main types of toilet seats: round and elongated. Round toilet seats are the most common type, and measure 16.5 inches long. Elongated toilet seats are larger, measuring 18.5 inches long.

In addition to the toilet seats detailed above, you’ll also find a variety of speciality toilet seats, such as soft close seats, heated seats and seats with built-in bidets.

How to measure your toilet

To measure your toilet for a new seat, you'll need to take 4 distinct measurements.

First, you’ll need to measure the length, which is from your toilet seat holes to the front edge of the toilet pan.

Next, you’ll need the width. This is from the widest point of the bowl to the widest point of the bowl.

Your third measurement is known as the height, and is the distance between the holes backwards to the cistern or wall.

Finally, you will need to measure the distance between the 2 toilet seat holes.

Choosing the right toilet seat size

Once you have the measurements of your toilet, you can choose the right size toilet seat. Picking the right toilet seat is a matter of matching the shape of the seat to the shape of your toilet and ensuring the measurements match your existing toilet.

As previously, mentioned, toilet seats in the UK and Europe broadly fit into 3 general shapes: Round, D-shaped and square. However, there are other things you will need to take into consideration—the toilet seat dilemma is real!

Oak effect toilet seat

An oak-effect toilet seat is ideal for a traditional toilet design

Toilets and their seats come in 2 broad styles: contemporary and traditional. Contemporary toilet seats are usually quite simple in their design (and can come in slimline designs), whereas traditional toilet seats may be a little more elaborate or made from wood, rather than plastic. If you have a contemporary toilet, a contemporary seat will match better and vice versa.

And this leads us nicely on to the matter of toilet seat materials. Many people prefer a hard, thermoset plastic, as it is durable, hardwearing and resistant to stains and scratches. However, a wooden toilet seat may be more desirable, especially if you have a traditional style bathroom.

Here's one final piece of advice: it’s always worth buying your replacement toilet seat from the same place you bought your toilet. That way, it’s far more likely that you’ll find the exact replacement for your specific toilet.

Orchard Wye square thermoset replacement toilet seat with soft close hinges

The Wye replacement toilet seat is square, made from durable thermoset plastic and comes complete with soft close hinges

Speciality toilet seats

If you're looking for a speciality toilet seat, such as a soft close seat, heated seat or seat with built-in bidet, be sure to choose a seat that is compatible with your toilet bowl. Most speciality toilet seats are designed to fit most common UK or European toilets, but it's always a good idea to check the manufacturer's specifications before you buy.

Fitting your toilet seat

The great news is, fitting a new toilet seat is a relatively easy task, even if you aren’t the best at DIY. See our step-by-step guide to fitting your toilet seat, complete with easy-to-follow video.


Choosing the right size toilet seat is important for both your comfort and hygiene. By following our tips, you can ensure you get the perfect fit for your toilet. However, if you still need a helping hand, why not see our comprehensive guide to toilet seat sizes.

Shop toilet seats at Victoria Plum

We offer a wide variety of toilet seats to choose from, including round, D-shaped and square seats, plus soft close seats and wooden designs for traditional bathrooms. Shop our selection of toilet seats today and find the perfect fit for your bathroom. Click below to begin.

Shop toilet seats

More advice and information on toilet seats

At Victoria Plum, you’ll find plenty of expert advice on toilets and toilet seats. Why not read our toilet seat buying guide, which will help you understand more about this product. And, if you ever wondered why toilets have toilet seats or whether you should leave your toilet seat up or down, we’ve written articles about that too!

Author, Rebecca Doody

Posted by Rebecca Doody in DIY advice | 11 months ago

Originally from Somerset, Rebecca is our resident copywriter who takes care of all things product related. Rebecca loves the modern interior style with both neutral and bold influences to create a statement look.

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