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8 Tips For Creating The Perfect Changing Room [Infographic]

Posted on April 8th 2015 by Peter.
Updated on: April 15th 2015.

The Changing Room is often the space in a building that gets overlooked, even though it can be one of the most essential components to a business or facility. Especially with demand for gyms and fitness centres growing year after year. It’s understandable why changing and locker rooms get the least attention, as after all it’s not the changing rooms that bring in the revenue, they simply support the revenue generating areas of the business.

Staff and patrons use changing rooms for many reasons during a work shift or visit to a fitness centre. The main use is to keep clothes and valuables safe, usually locked up in a locker. People want to know their belongings are safely stowed away while they do their daily work shift or while enjoying their workout in the gym.

With this main feature in mind, where do we start when planning out an effective changing room? Your best starting place is trying to determine which type of lockers are the best fit for your requirements. There are a few things you’ll need to consider, such as: How many locker compartments will I need? What type of locking option would best suit my business? Would metal lockers or plastic lockers be best? In the infographic below and the few paragraphs that follow, we’ll help you in selecting the right key components for your new changing room and those all important storage lockers.

8 Tips for Creating The Perfect Changing Room [Infographic]

1. Selecting the right locker material

In the general workplace it’s quite common to find metal or steel lockers. Staff will use these lockers to store their bags and personal items while doing their shift. These steel lockers are strong and durable storage solutions that can withstand daily use. Steel and metal lockers are generally manufactured from 0.7mm sheet steel, with the frames and doors manufactured from slightly thicker 0.9mm steel. Along with steel door stiffeners the metal storage lockers have greatly enhanced strength and security attributes.

A big selling point of most steel lockers is how manufacturers have cleverly managed to build anti-bacterial technology in to their steel. This means with regular upkeep, steel lockers are effective against MRSA, E-Coli and bacteria for the lifetime of the locker, making them ideal for high use areas. It also reduces the risk of illness within the workplace through germs being passed on via storing dirty work-wear in staff lockers.

Plastic lockers are a favourite of the leisure industry where personal storage may be required in wet areas, or outdoors where there may be little or no shelter from the natural elements. Due to the water resistant properties of polyethylene, plastic lockers make an excellent alternative to lockers manufactured from steel. There’s no need to be concerned about plastic lockers rusting or corroding. The lockers can be used in any conditions or climate, and are easily cleaned with a high-pressure washer. Most plastic locker compartments have a small drain hole to allow the water while cleaning to quickly run away.

An option that combines the best of both steel and plastic lockers is laminate door lockers. The tough and solid laminate doors are highly resistant to dents and scratches, and will not rust. Along with the fact that each locker body is manufactured from galvanised steel, it makes placing laminate lockers in wet areas such as swimming pool changing rooms the ideal storage solution.

Depending on the locker material you select, there will be several different colour options and finishes available to select from. All storage locker ranges will have a set colour selection. If you have specific colour schemes to work with, we can offer a bespoke service depending on the quantity required.

2. Determine which locker configuration is suitable

So you’ve selected the locker type and material you’d like. The next step is to choose the right locker configuration for your new changing room. Lockers come in many sizes with different compartment options. Standard lockers all tend to be approx. 1800mm in height, with common widths and depths of 300mm, 400mm and 450mm. In each standard locker unit you can have up to 8 compartments.

Other than standard lockers, there are small cube lockers than can be configured to exactly suit your space. For example; A space where you would like to have 3 columns of four-compartment lockers, but due to a sloping ceiling you can only fit 2 columns of lockers. You could place 2 standard four-compartment lockers plus a column of three cube lockers to best fit and utilise the space. You could also go and replace the 2 standard lockers with all cube lockers. Although this can work out to be more costly, it will look great as all of the lockers will exactly match.

A lot of business owners who have changing room facilities focus on having as many locker compartments in the space as possible. This may sound like a good idea but trust us – smart planning really pays off. You’ll need to take in to account the quantity but also the type of locker actually required by the staff or clients. What’s the point of cramming in lots of locker compartments if no one can use them to store all of their items.

Choosing to have all larger lockers can present the same problem as fitting in as many small locker compartments as you can. The perfect solution is to have plenty of different sizes of lockers and then users can select the right locker to suit their needs.

If you have an existing changing room that may be refurbished, it’s worth taking time to do some research and see what type of locker is most used in your existing space, then purchase new or replacement lockers based on your findings.

When selecting the locker configuration, it’s a good idea to also look at the existing users or type of potential new users that will be using the storage lockers. If your business is situated in a town or city where staff or clients will be wearing coats, suits or jackets, then a single or two-door locker would be ideal. These would provide decent hanging space, with room for shoes, hats and bags.

If staff or clients are likely to come already dressed for their shift or workout then you could consider a four or six door locker to accommodate smaller items such as purses and mobile phones, folded clothes and towels.

With good research into your changing room user demographic, you’ll be able to make a decision on how many compartments and sizes you’ll require per unit. Most successful changing rooms combine a mixture of single and two door lockers, with perhaps a set of personal effects lockers for users who only want to store keys and a wallet.

3. The best type of lock for your lockers

Now that you’ve decided on the type, size and configuration of your lockers, you’ll need to consider one of the most important components; locks. In our experience, locker-locking options can be difficult to understand. There is a lot of choice on the market when it comes to locks and finding out which will suit you best can involve a little research.

The main aspects to consider when selecting your lock type are; is security more important than convenience, and will the locker be used by multiple users or will it be assigned to the same person for a long period of time. Knowing these things will help you decide on the best locking option for you.

One of the most popular and least time-consuming locking options is the hasp and staple lock than works in conjunction with a padlock. A user would have to simply bring their own padlock and use this to secure the compartment after placing their items inside. This is the most secure and cost-effective option available as they are simply through-bolted to the side of the locker and passed through the door. It makes breaking in to a locker door with this lock type time-consuming and would make quite a bit of noise.

If you did go down the route of padlocks as the locking option, it’s also an idea to have padlocks and keys available at your front desk or reception area, in the case that new staff or clients don’t know a padlock is required to secure their valuables. In this case, plan extra storage space to keep these extra padlocks.

If in your changing room you are likely to issue a locker to a certain staff member or client, a standard keyed cam lock would be ideal. Typically these locks come with 2 keys per lock with a master key available for owners and managers to access the compartment if and when required.

The locks detailed above are the most common locking options, but there are plenty of other options to choose from. For lockers that will be used by different people throughout the day, electric or digital combination locks are decent locking options.

The electronic combination locks are similar to safe locks commonly used in hotels where the user sets their own code to lock and unlock the door. The only down side to these electronic locking options is the extra cost compared to a standard padlock or key lock. If your budget does allow for these, they are a really nice touch and will give a more up-market feel to your changing room lockers.

Manual combination locks are usually locked with a combination dial and are more suited to staff or clients who use the same locker on a regular basis, or have it permanently assigned to them.

4. Selecting the right changing room benches

The choices of bench for your changing or locker room are really determined by the type of environment they will be installed in to. If you’re putting benches in to a standard changing room where staff or clients will simply be changing their clothes for a work shift then simple and sturdy wooden benches will suit.

The wooden slats of these benches are sealed and polished, then attached to a coated steel frame. Wooden benches are ideal for cloakrooms, staff rooms and general changing areas. They’re also relatively low-cost compared to other types of changing room benches. It’s an idea to place some coat hook rails above the wooden benches to provide useful hanging space, for items of clothing to hang while getting changed.

If your changing room is likely to get wet or be subject to moisture, either from showers or pool areas then compact laminate or stainless steel benches will be best for this type of environment. Unlike wooden benches, there’s no fear of water or moisture getting in to the material and damaging these benches. Compact laminate benches have slats made from high pressure laminate with a waterproof core and provide a strong and attractive bench seat.

Stainless steel benches are manufactured from just that; stainless steel. The properties of the steel mean that the benches are very robust, and will not rust or corrode. They may be more costly than other types of changing room benches but will prove to be a great investment if your budget allows.

All types of changing room benches are usually available in 4 configurations: single bench, double sided bench, single bench with fixed coat hook rail, and – you guessed it – double sided bench with fixed hook rail. The double-sided bench with hooks are commonly referred to as island changing room benches. They are an easy and flexible way to provide seating and hanging space in your changing room.

The most common accessories to purchase with your changing room benches are shoe baskets or shoe racks. Especially handy if your changing room is prone to wet floors, the shoe racks hang neatly underneath your chosen benches. They provide a place off the floor to put shoes or boots while not being worn. They are generally made from tough wire mesh and make a nice finishing touch to your changing area.

5. Getting the changing room layout right

The layout of your changing room is essential to keep people moving around with ease and comfort. A general rule of thumb for a great changing room layout is: The main circulation path through the changing area should give enough space for two people to walk side by side. If your changing space is too small you’ll have people bumping in to each other or reaching across each other. That’s a sure way to reduce the use of the changing facility. Including lots of doors and corridors in your layout will create a feeling of congestion and a cramped environment.

By planning a fairly open layout, you’ll still have the same amount of changing space and it won’t have a crowded feeling. A great tip to create an even better sense of space is not to have doors. It may sound unconventional but it creates better circulation. It’ll give a more generous width in the entrance way so two people can pass comfortably, removing the need for someone having to step aside due to a one-way traffic situation. The layout design challenge that creates is to still provide privacy of the changing room by adding ‘sight-line baffles’ to keep people from looking directly in from the outside.

An open layout can make your changing area feel much larger and enables users to move around more freely, but this approach can also create concerns about personal privacy. A way to combat this is to segment the area with your lockers. By creating pods of lockers where people have more privacy, you are adding value to the space. Being creative with unique arrangements and locker placement can create small spaces in the changing room where users can socialise.

6. Make wet areas more comfortable

Getting the right layout and design of wet areas with in your changing room is vital. If the airflow is not designed properly to pull the moist air from the showers and changing room it can drastically reduce the longevity of the facility. With the right air-flow system in place, the negative air pressure will be reduced and will provide a more comfortable atmosphere for users, plus the locker and bench materials and finishes will last longer.

The materials used in wet areas of changing rooms are critical due to the level of possible moisture in the air. The areas surrounding showers need to be made of durable materials such as slip resistant tile and waterproof membranes that will withstand heavy usage during peak times. Using tiles with small surface areas resulting in more joints will help with greater slip resistance but will also result in more maintenance.

Safety matting for wet areas

To combat slipping in wet areas of your changing room, we recommend laying anti-slip matting. It’s generally available on the roll, cut to metre lengths, or in modular tiles for ultimate flexibility. Anti-slip matting is ideal as it’s PVC properties make it easy to clean, roll up and rinse. You’ll be able to find a colour of matting that compliments your changing room colour scheme, or you can go for black anti-slip matting.

7. Changing room amenities

There are some amenities that are expected in most changing rooms. These will vary between staff changing rooms and those found in facilities such as sports centres and gyms.

Basic amenities such as wet vanity units giving space for men to shave, and dry vanity units for women to apply makeup and style their hair are staples of most changing rooms. Hair drying stations go down well with both men and women. You should consider incorporating these in to your layout near the exit so they don’t take up changing space.

More costly amenities such as steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs are great for changing rooms within membership only facilities as they will draw people in and can contribute to the overall revenue of the facility.

When designing your layout, also consider whether families will be using the space. Providing family changing rooms or large cubicles for families near to swimming pools are a good idea. Offering a family their own changing space gives them privacy and also helps aid your circulation within the changing room.

Providing a few smaller private cubicles for more private or reserved staff or clients is also a good idea when planning your space.

8. Lighting up your changing room

Another overlooked aspect of the changing room layout design is lighting. Without the right lights, no matter how much effort you’ve put in to all other components and features, the space isn’t going to look great.

First and foremost the lighting you choose needs to adhere to regulations concerning wet areas. This is based on the level of moisture in the changing room and can affect the cost of lighting, as well as the quality and design. Great attention should always be given to electrical fixings in changing room designs.

The lighting should be adequate for the space but not too over powering as to not create ambiance. Wall mounted lights near vanity units throw fewer dark shadows on the face while putting on make up or shaving. Ceiling lights should be directional enabling them to be pointed towards locker areas so users can see well in to their storage space. Down lights and indirect lights create good light levels in general for circulation.

There are many aspects to consider when designing the layout of your changing room. By planning out these key parts accurately will help in the over all goal of creating a functional and attractive changing room environment.

Let us help you create the perfect changing room or your business

There’s several great reasons why we are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of lockers, changing room benches and related products. We can even offer installation services should they be required. Give us the chance to show you how we can help create a perfect changing room for your business.

Live Chat right now with one of our experienced staff members or if you prefer give us a call on 01922 743833.

If you’d like a quote then fill out the form here or email us.

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