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Toilet buying guide
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Toilet buying guide

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying guides | 3 years ago 9 min read

Don’t know your close coupled toilet from your back to wall toilet? This expert toilet buying guide is the best place to begin, if you’re picking out a new design for your bathroom.

With a huge variety of designs to suit bathrooms big and small, there are so many options when it comes to buying a toilet. Before we begin explaining these in detail, why not take a quick look at this short video?

Click on any of the links below to jump to the relevant section:

What types of toilet are there?

There are all sorts of toilet designs available, each suiting different types of bathroom. To simplify things, we’ve categorised them into 3 main types.

Close coupled toilets

These are the most traditional types of toilet, with a floor standing unit and a visible cistern behind the seat. They are called "close coupled" because the cistern and bowl are closely coupled together, as opposed to the old-fashioned style where the cistern was set high above the toilet, as with some of the more traditional suites (we'll touch upon high level toilets later).

Flush mechanisms vary, from the traditional handle to the modern chrome button, and some may even provide options to adjust the flow of water.

A close coupled toilet can suit any sort of bathroom thanks to the wide range of shapes and styles available, from sleek and simplistic modern toilets to classic elegance for a traditional bathroom. They are also available in a "fully shrouded" design, which is where the whole toilet, from top to bottom, sits against the wall. This makes cleaning easier by eliminating any awkward nooks and crannies.

If you are concerned about hygiene, look out for rimless toilets. Designed without the traditional rim, it is much easier to clean, giving germs and bacteria nowhere to hide.

Find out more about this type of toilet in our close coupled toilet buying guide.

Wharfe close coupled toilet

One of our most popular close coupled toilets, the Wharfe from Orchard Bathrooms

Back to wall toilets

A more modern option, back to wall toilets are similar to close coupled toilets except that the cistern is concealed within a partition wall or a furniture unit. This style of toilet is great for a contemporary bathroom and can provide a space-saving option in a smaller ensuite or cloakroom.

A back to wall toilet can look especially sleek and stylish when the cistern is completely hidden within the wall, but you could also opt for a closed toilet unit, available in a range of finishes to match your bathroom furniture.

When choosing a back to wall toilet, always check to see if the hidden cistern is included, as you may need to purchase it separately. You can also purchase your back to wall toilet with a unit included.

Tate back to wall toilet

The Tate back to wall toilet, seen here with the Ellis white back to wall unit (both from Mode Bathrooms), will bring designer, contemporary style to your bathroom

Wall hung toilets

The ultimate in modern function and design, wall hung toilets appear to float above the floor, with no visible cistern or pedestal. This is the perfect style of toilet for designer bathrooms, with clean and simple lines that make great use of space.

Our wall hung toilets feature soft closing seats, and are made from high quality materials for reliability. With this design, you will also need a concealed cistern and wall mounting unit to install it in your bathroom. You will find many of our most popular wall hung toilets sold in combination with a concealed cistern and wall mounting frame.

Mode Ellis short projection wall hung toilet with soft close toilet seat

For true minimalist style, the Ellis short projection wall hung toilet from Mode Bathrooms is a great choice

How is a toilet made?

Ever wondered how a toilet is made? Watch our short video below, to see the care, quality and craftsmanship which goes into each and every one.


Whether you’re aiming to create a classic or contemporary feel in your bathroom, Victoria Plum has a toilet to suit. As well as the main styles of toilet, we have all sorts of other options and designs to make it easy for you to create the perfect bathroom.

Toilet seats

As well as the style of the unit itself, you may also need to think about your choice of toilet seat. Most of our toilets include seats, using the simple and convenient quick release design for easy fitting. We also have soft closing seats, which allow you to release and close the lid without any sudden bangs, reducing wear and tear.

Depending on the style of toilet, you may also have a choice of colour or finish on the seat, such as solid oak, walnut effect, or the classic white. Seats come in various other materials too, including Thermoplastic, which has a quality hard-wearing finish and is easy to maintain. Seats are also available in Thermoset, a deluxe polymer material which is UV resistant and colourfast, providing an anti-scratch, durable surface.

Toilet and basin units

If you want to create a more seamless look in your bathroom, you could go for a combined toilet and vanity unit. This is a great option for bathrooms where space is at a premium, but also helps to create a stylish and unified look.

Orchard MySpace white right handed unit with Eden back to wall toilet

From Orchard Bathrooms, the MySpace furniture range features a selection of stylish toilet and basin units like this

Toilet styles

To make life easier, we’ve grouped our toilets into 2 main styles: Contemporary (sometimes referred to as “modern”) and traditional.

Contemporary toilets

Clean, precise lines and simple shapes are the hallmarks of a contemporary toilet. Designed with a nod to the latest trends in interior design, most contemporary toilets feature modern innovations, such as push button, dual water-saving flushes.

Contemporary toilets often come with a “fully shrouded” design, which means they sit flush to the wall, with no plumbing on display. This provides a cleaner, more sophisticated appearance and makes cleaning easier, as there are no awkward nooks and crannies.

Some even come with the very latest rimless technology for a more hygienic toilet. The rimless design helps reduce the build-up of germs and bacteria and makes it easier to clean.

Head to Mode Bathrooms, where you’ll find many of our most popular contemporary toilets.

Tate close coupled toilet

The Tate from Mode Bathrooms is a good example of a contemporary close coupled toilet with a “fully shrouded” design

Traditional toilets

Harking back to a golden age of bathroom design, traditional toilets usually feature classic detailing, including bevelled edges and ceramic handle flushes. Usually supplied with a wooden seat for a more authentic look and feel, they fit seamlessly with vintage décor.

There are 2 types of traditional toilet which we haven’t mentioned previously: The high level toilet and the low level toilet.

High level toilets

High level toilets are what most people think of when they imagination a traditional bathroom. Featuring a cistern mounted high up on a wall, with a long flush pipe that connects to the pan, this type of toilet traditionally comes with a chain pull flush. They can really set the tone in a traditional bathroom.

Camberley high level toilet with black wooden seat

Set the tone in a traditional bathroom, cloakroom or ensuite, with the Camberley high level toilet from The Bath Co.

Low level toilets

Much like their high level counterparts, low level toilets are ideal if you’re looking to achieve an authentic period style. Unlike high toilets, the flush pipe is only short, so the cistern can sit comfortably in a small space.

The Bath Co. Camberley low level toilet with wooden soft close seat white

For classic styling, why not consider the Camberley low level toilet from The Bath Co.

Installing a toilet

Size and position

When buying a toilet, it’s important to consider how and where it will fit, particularly if it’s going in an en suite or cloakroom. Measure the space in your bathroom to see what the maximum dimensions of a toilet could be, taking into account how far it will project from the wall, and allowing enough space in front of it. It’s always worth drawing up a scaled plan of your bathroom and arranging things before committing to a purchase.

The height of your toilet is also a key consideration, especially if you are taller than average or have restricted mobility. We offer comfort height toilets, which are slightly higher than conventional toilets, allowing you to sit and stand back up again with ease. A wall hung toilet is another great option, as it can be installed at a height that suits you. Find out what the best toilet height is for you.

Plumbing connections

Another important aspect to consider is the type of plumbing connection you will need to install your toilet, which will depend on the type of toilet you have chosen. If you have a back to wall toilet, you may need to buy a separate concealed cistern, and if you have a wall mounted toilet, you may also need a wall mounting unit.

Soil pipe direction

The soil pipe is the outlet through which toilet waste is flushed, and needs to be connected to the soil stack, which is the outflow pipe for your sewage. The type of toilet dictates how this connection can be made. For example, a close coupled toilet can be connected horizontally, vertically, or to the left or right, whereas a back to wall toilet can only be connected to the soil stack horizontally or vertically. You should check the position of your soil stack in relation to the desired position of your toilet so you know which units you can choose.

For more detailed instructions, see our how to fit a toilet DIY guide.

How much does it cost to fit a toilet?

Toilet installation should typically cost somewhere between £330 and £360*, however, this could increase depending on the complexity of the job, your choice of toilet and your geographical location. It should take around 2 to 3 hours to complete.

*Costs may fluctuate. Find out how much it costs to fit your bathroom, complete with the latest up-to-date estimates, in our handy guide.

Our recommendations

  • Always seek help from a professional when undertaking any plumbing work or installing toilets.
  • Match your choice of fittings and accessories to your choice of toilet unit for a seamless and harmonious look.

Shop toilets

Find the perfect choice for your bathroom with the incredible range of toilets available at Victoria Plum.

Shop toilets

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying guides | 3 years ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 10 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

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