Knowing your ‘standard’ from your ‘soft-close’, or your ‘smart’ from your ‘slim’, or you ‘standard white’ to your ‘sparkly sea theme’ will put you in good stead when it comes to choosing the perfect toilet seat. Here’s all you need to know about arguably the most underrated bathroom product.

Are Toilet Seats Universal? Is there a Standard Toilet Seat Size?

If you’ve never really put that much thought into the shape of your toilet, you’re probably in the majority. Most people have no idea that as different toilets come in so many different styles, so too will toilet seats.

There is no universal size toilet seat. Types of toilets vary by both shape and size, so it’s worth knowing what size you need before you invest in a new seat.

The Different Shapes of Toilet Seat

Unless you’re a toilet enthusiast (no judgement from us, we certainly are), you could be forgiven in thinking that all toilets are the same shape. However, whilst the classic pan shape is either round or oval, more modern styles are adding a new dimension to our bathrooms. Square, angular, and D-shaped toilets have become more and more common, and they need a toilet seat to match.


Round toilet seats are common in older designs and suit traditional bathrooms. Round toilets don’t take up as much room as other designs, so they suit those who lack space. They may look simple and understated, but round toilet seats can do wonders when it comes to giving your bathroom a more traditional feel.


Pointed, or elongated toilet seats are also very common. They’re available in a range of styles and again, tend to be featured prominently in traditional designs. Most people find elongated or pointed toilets more comfortable, although they are more expensive than rounded designs and take up slightly more space.


Square seats are common in minimalist style bathrooms. They are modern, generally soft-close and angular, making them great for people who want to add a modern touch to their bathroom.


Like square-shaped seats, D-shaped toilet seats are modern and stylish. They pack a little less of a punch aesthetically than square-shaped seats, so are great for those who want a modern feel in their bathroom without going too overboard.

Wrap-Over Seats

Wrap-over seats have a lid that completely covers the seat. This makes them minimalist, modern, and stylish. They help to keep things neat and compact, in addition to maintaining a hygienic seat that’s protected by the top lid. They can be purchased in a variety of shapes but we love the square or D-shaped versions for that extra modern punch.


A vintage bathroom needs a vintage toilet seat to match, and your options are practically endless. Traditional seats are often oval or throne seats and come in a choice of wooden finishes. Those of you who want the look of a vintage seat with the features of a modern design doesn’t have to miss out – soft close seats with a vintage look are readily available.

What Materials are they Made From?

Toilet seats generally come in a choice of two materials, plastic or wood.

Plastic Toilet Seats

Plastic seats are more common. They are cheaper, more malleable and easy to clean. The main types of plastic used are Thermoplastic and Thermoset, although plastic resin is another option. Thermoset is slightly more expensive as it’s more scratch resistant, but all three types are durable. Resin toilet seats can be made in any colour, and items or pictures can be embedded into the surface of the seat. This makes them great in a kid’s bathroom.

The main issue with plastic seats is they can get cold in winter – not something you should have to endure first thing in the morning! A good (albeit costly) solution is to invest in a heated seat! They can also break or crack if not used properly – in short, don’t use your toilet seat as a ladder to change your bathroom spotlights…

Wooden Toilet Seats

Wooden toilet seats are less able to withstand wear and tear, but they will offer you a warmer seat in the winter! Natural wood toilet seats look more traditional and can be purchased in an array of finishes to suit your bathroom. The two types of wood most commonly used include MDF or engineered wood, and solid wood.

MDF wooden seats consist of pressed wood fibres. This makes them hygienic, comfortable, and easy to clean. Solid wooden seats are often made from oak, pine or mahogany. While solid wood seats look fantastic, the durability can vary hugely – so it’s worth doing your research before you buy.

What Size Toilet Seat do I Need?

Arriving home with your new toilet seat only to discover it’s the wrong size is something no one should have to endure.

To work out what size toilet seat you require, you need to measure your pan in three places. Remove your current toilet seat first.

  1. Measure from post hole to post hole at the back of the seat area.
  2. Calculate the width of the bowl where it is the widest
  3. Measure from the front of the toilet seat back to the post holes.

These measurements tell you what size you need. Toilet seats will show the width and depth in millimetres.

Toilet Seat Features

Soft Close Hinges

Soft close hinges are, in our opinion, one of the best inventions around, as there’s nothing more rage-inducing than the sound of a lid-slam in the morning. Soft-close seats are easy to operate and can now be bought very cheaply.

However many any traditional toilet seats often don’t have soft-close hinges, but as long as you train your family to lower the lid gently, you shouldn’t have too many problems.

Ultra-Slim Seats

Ultra-slim seats are modern and minimalist, suiting practically any bathroom and often available with soft-close hinges. Whilst not specifically designed for smaller bathrooms, they will certainly help your bathroom to look bigger – whereas bulkier seats won’t do you any favours when it comes to space-saving.

Bidet Seats/Smart Seats

Technology is everywhere, and now it’s in our toilet seats! Japanese-style toilet seats are rapidly growing in popularity in the Western world, thanks to the huge amount of comfort (and novelty!) they offer. In fact, we’re starting to wonder how we ever lived without one!

How to Install or Replace a Toilet Seat

Picked out the perfect toilet seat but not quite sure how to get it onto the toilet? We can assure you, you’re not alone. Our how-to guide will turn you from a DIY zero to a DIY hero in just a few simple steps (but it’s actually pretty easy!).

You will need:

  • Protective gloves
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Tape Measure
  • New Toilet Seat

Removing the Old Seat

Toilet seats are usually attached to the toilet with two bolds, which are hidden by two plastic caps at the back of the toilet.

  1. Use your screwdriver to remove these caps to reveal the bolts
  2. Use your pliers to keep the nuts in place while you unscrew the bolts with the screwdriver
  3. Remove the toilet seat

It really is as simple as that!

Fitting the New Seat

  1. Assemble the fitting provided with the new seat
  2. Attach the new fittings to the toilet, using your hands to tighten the bolts – be careful not to over tighten
  3. Place the new seat over the toilet and line the fittings up, make sure the seat is central and in the right place
  4. Tighten the nuts with a wrench or your pliers when you are happy with the position.

If this post hasn’t ignited your passion for toilet seats then, quite frankly, you are a lost cause! When it comes to bathroom styling, the little pieces make a big difference – and toilet seats can certainly make a difference.

Howards of Hayling offer a selection of stunning bathroom designs for you to touch and feel from traditional elegance to contemporary styles.  There’s a choice for any project and any budget – whether you are refreshing your ensuite, adding a cloakroom or refurbishing a family bathroom.  If you need a little inspiration, head to our local showroom where our friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to help make your perfect bathroom become a reality.

If you’d like further information, simply contact Howards of Hayling today on 023 9246 5182 or email and our friendly and knowledgeable team will be more than happy to assist you with any enquiries