Remodeling your home provides the fun of creating a new space. While you do need to pay close attention to the big picture like colors and textures, you also need to mind the details. One of those details is the toilet, specifically the toilet seat.
Perhaps your toilet has held up well. It does not require replacing. It could use an updated look though and a new seat can provide that. Maybe you did not even know you could replace just the seat, but you can.
While your toilet will likely last an average of 10 to 15 years, your toilet seat won’t make it that long. The seats used to last longer, but the plastic bolts used today just do not last as long as old school metal bolts. That means yours could have already worn down or perhaps you moved into a new to you home and the seat seems worn. You can replace just the toilet seat and update the look and feel of the entire commode.
You’ll probably be surprised by the diversity of possibilities among toilet seats (as well as toilet brands and toilet stores). There’s a lot to choose from depending on the type of toilet, its shape, material, your bathroom’s colors and the toilet’s size. Let’s start with toilet type.
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Toilet Styles and Their Seats
Many homes only have a commode, more commonly referred to as a toilet, but some homes also have a bidet. While both fixtures have lids, their design differs slightly. Within toilets, you’ll have those with an open front or closed front on the seat. Unless you want a quirky look for your powder room, you need to make sure your two seats match. You will need to purchase a toilet seat and bidet seat/lid as a matched set. This ensures that they come in the same exact color and shade, plus they fit the fixtures you have purchased. Within the designs for either and both toilets and bidets, you have a range of shapes.
Toilet Seats: The Shape of Things
Shape means a lot. Most people probably think of an oval toilet and that’s it. Toilets actually come in three distinct shapes:
- Open or U-Shaped
- oval or elongated,
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A round seat and lid set will measure 16 to 17 inches from the toilet bowl’s mounting hole to front, while an oval, also referred to as an elongated, seat and lid set will measure 17 to 18 inches from the toilet bowl’s mounting hole to front. A square seat and lid set typically comes in a standard size. Square seats come in closed front design, oval and round seats you can find in both closed front and open front designs.
Round or circular seats prove the most common in home bathrooms. This traditional choice is a simple circle with no gap in front.
Open or U-Seats
Open front toilet seats are a legal requirement in public restrooms in the US. The seats resemble a “U.” The U shape provides a more hygienic choice since it protects the toilet from urine drips when men urinate. It also provides more space for an individual to wipe without their hand touching the toilet bowl or seat. Finally, it helps prevent disease spread since the individual’s genitals do not touch the seat there.
In commercial bathrooms, oval or elongated toilet seats are the most frequently installed. These provide more sanitary conditions and are made from hearty materials like stainless steel.
Toilet Seat Materials
Gone are the days of outhouses. Enter the time of bathroom design. Just as the other fixtures in your powder room contribute to its hominess, so does the toilet seat. You can purchase toilet seats made of four common materials that contribute to the overall design of your bathroom. Match the following materials and textures to your interior design plan:
Wood Toilet Seats
Within the family of wood seats, you can choose from molded wood or solid wood. Natural wood provides a more versatile decorating option since you can stain it to pretty much any shade or color you desire and choose a dull or high-gloss finish. The most popular options include bamboo, medium density fiberboard and natural wood. The downside of using natural wood is that it can damage easily if you use the wrong cleaner. No worries about splinters, but any wood or wood product can warp in a very moist environment. Otherwise, these exhibit extreme durability and their style and elegance contribute to a more opulent setting.
Plastic Toilet Seats
Plastic toilet seats prove the most common choice. Most homes have toilet seats made of high-impact plastic. Others use a plastic coated composite wood seat and lid. The only way to change the color of these seats and lids is to purchase a new one. If you live somewhere that the winters get cold, you’ll notice it more with a plastic toilet seat. These also tend to show cleaning marks and cold weather and time can make them tear or split.
Polyresin Toilet Seats
Polyresin or polypropylene seats provide a more lightweight, flexible material than plastic or wood. These also come in a range of colors and designs. These are your decorative toilet seats. If you have ever desired a see-through or clear toilet seat with fish seemingly swimming in it or a lobster hanging out or want to switch out your toilet seat seasonally or for the holidays, these are your seats and lids. Choose from Easter, Halloween, Christmas, Hannukah, Thanksgiving, and other themes. Who wouldn’t want a cartoon turkey looking up at them when they came to use the bathroom?
Toilet Seats: Colors of the Rainbow
While porcelain and polyresin typically come in white or black and occasionally taupe, plastic and wood feature a plethora of design possibilities since they exhibit the greatest color flexibility.
Plastic seats come in numerous colors. The rainbow is yours, plus you can chose form patterns and prints. You can make your toilet make a statement.
The color selection has grown so diverse that many manufacturers and retailers host online color chips, so you can more easily choose a set of seat and lid that match the rest of your bathroom or powder room. You may not realize the décor diversity available to you nowadays, but you can purchase a toilet seat in a color to match your tile and grout jewels.
The choice extends far beyond blue or red. You’ll find shade options such as sapphire or raspberry. This lets you obtain an exact match to the rest of the décor.
If you really want a perfect match to your other décor, take a swatch of your wallpaper or a paint chip of your wall color to the printers. Yes, really. Ask to have a unique toilet seat in that design 3-D printed. You can obtain the exact match to your décor today.
Maybe you do not need to go that far. You just want something fun and funny for your bathroom. Try a clear toilet seat and lid with an inserted design, like fish that seem to swim about inside.
Another option can help you avoid turning on the bathroom light at night. That is a lighted toilet seat You can obtain a lighted glow from your toilet bowl in a plethora of colors to help you find your way to the throne in the dark.
Measuring Your Toilet Seat
By now, you probably have a pretty clear idea of what you want in a toilet seat. You feel ready to shop. Consider the shape of your toilet and measure it first. Toilet seats come in various sizes and you must measure first and buy the right size for it to work.
The measurement process is simple. You measure the following three items:
- the distance between the bolts that attach the toilet seat to the bowl,
- the width of the toilet bowl at its widest point from the outside of the brims,
- the toilet bowl’s length from between the seat bolts to the outer front edge.
Your measurements may vary from the standard for US toilet seats. The standard for width between toilet seat bolts is 5.5 inches. The bolt to front measurement for a round bowl is 16.5 inches, while an oval bowl measurement is 18 inches or 18.5 inches.
Other Toilet Seat Features
Today’s toilet seats and lids also provide a range of options for those desiring additional amenities in their bathroom or powder room. It can get pretty funny how many choices you have and some of the features available. Know that I am not making any of these up and if you would like a cushioned sea foam green, heated toilet seat with metal hinges that match your sink and bathtub and shower fixtures, you can purchase that.
These specialty seats do not have to be for a medical condition. Many specialized toilet seats are made sheerly for pleasure, such as for heating the seat or matching the wallpaper. Some folks just like to change out the seats regularly for seasonal décor.
If you have kids, you’ve heard the slam of a toilet seat which is startling on the best of days and scares the wits out of you on the worst.
Avoid a heart-attack with a soft-closing toilet seat.
Aside from the standard lids, you can also choose a soft closing lid that no person can slam. Other options include heavy duty lids with a child toilet seat you can add, then remove and slow close seats.
Many people like raised toilet seats. These prove popular among the elderly, the tall, some people with disabilities and those with posture problems. Some come with attached handles like the one above while others are simply a raised or elevated seat.
The Japanese started the heated toilet seat trend and it caught on many places, including the US. If you live in the northern part of the US, especially, a heated toilet seat can make all the comfort difference in the frigid winter months.
Today’s shopping climate tends toward specialties. If you have your heart set on some strange feature you think might not already exist, try searching for it online. It probably already exists and you can buy it on the Internet and have it shipped directly to you.
Really, there is no limit to what you can find online. The selection of toilet seats has grown rather profane and slightly amusing. You can find anything you need including zebra stripes or heated wood. Your local computer store with a 3-D printer can help you even more since it can print your dream toilet seat.