Changing Room Design Guide for Leisure Centres

This changing room design guide is for leisure centre, gym, or swimming pool operators. We’ll cover cubicle and toilet sizes with general design principles to consider.

Use this guide to help you design a safe and hygienic changing room. Whilst the information here aims to be accurate, it cannot replicate official advice from a professional. Each case is different and – as all designers and installers should pride themselves on – your solution is bespoke.

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    Locker Room, Changing Room – What’s the Difference?

    Americanism has confused the differences between:

    • Locker room
    • Changing room
    • Dressing room
    • Fitting room

    Without getting into semantics, this guide will refer to the locker and changing rooms as the same thing. The terms are used interchangeably. The latter two refer to rooms found in retail for trying on clothes before purchase. They’re not covered in this guide.

    Checklist for Changing Rooms

    changing room design checklist for leisure centers

    Fitness Gyms and Sports Centres

    Changing spaces

    Small fitness area:

    1 changing space per piece of equipment

    Larger fitness areas:

    3 changing spaces per 4 pieces of equipment

    Studios and classes:

    1 changing space for each 5m² of floor space OR maximum class size


    1.5 lockers per each person using the studio or gym over a one-hour period


    1 shower for every 6 changing spaces


    Vanity station

    1 vanity station space per 30 lockers


    Unisex Accessible Changing Room

    At least one which must include shower and toilet

    Swimming Pool Wet Area

    Changing spaces

    # of changing rooms = Total pool size(m²)/6


    Male pool users

    • 2 for up to 100 males
    • 1 WC for every additional 100 males

    Female pool users

    • 1 per 5 females up to 50
    • 1 WC for every additional 10 females up to 100
    • 1 per additional 50 females


    Male pool users

    • 1 per 20 males up to 100
    • 1 per additional 80 males


    Male pool users

    • 1 per WC
    • 1 per 5 urinals

    Female pool users

    • 1 per 2 WCs


    Male pool users

    • 1 per 10 males

    Female pool users

    • 1 per 10 females


    75% of maximum capacity + existing changing spaces

    Vanity Stations

    Male pool users

    • 1 vanity station space per 30 lockers

    Female pool users

    • 1 vanity station space per 20 lockers

    Unisex Accessible Changing Room

    At least one individual unisex accessible changing room complete with shower and toilet.

    Changing Room Dimensions

    Orange lockers and bench in gym room

    These dimensions are only recommendations from bodies such as Sport England, the FA, and the RFU. In some cases, they serve as minimums. Consult with a professional designer to ensure your space is adequate before ordering parts.


    One person changing cubicles

    • Length: 1000 (1500mm for two person cubicle)
    • Width: 1100mm
    • Bench seating: 300m deep

    Family sized changing cubicle

    • Length: 2600mm
    • Width: 2000mm
    • Bench seating: 600mm deep
    • Minimum manoeuvring space: 1500mm x 1500mm

    Accessible changing cubicles

    • Length: 2500mm
    • Width: 2400mm
    • Minimum door width: 875mm
    • Minimum manoeuvring space: 1500mm x 1500mm
    • Deep fixed seat bench (optional): 600mm deep

    Toilet Cubicle Sizes


    • Length: 1800mm
    • Width: 850mm
    • Minimum manoeuvring space: 450mm


    • Length: 1800mm
    • Width: 1210mm


    • Length: 1800mm
    • Width: 800mm

    Wheelchair accessible:

    • Length: 1500mm
    • Width: 2220mm
    • Minimum door opening: 900mm
    • Outward opening door: 950mm wide

    Shower sizes

    Communal shower area

    • Length: 1250mm
    • Width: 4000mm
    • Distance between each shower: 750mm

    Single-person shower cubicle

    • Length: 2000mm
    • Width: 1000mm

    Disabled shower cubicle

    • Length: 2000mm
    • Width: 2200mm
    • Minimum door width: 875mm

    General Planning Principles for Changing Areas

    White locker and black bench in locker room

    The focus when planning changing areas is movement. How does the user access each area and facility without causing congestion or bottlenecking traffic? The placement of the changing area in the building itself impacts usage and management. All must be considered before designing.

    Swimming Pools

    1. Separate dry and wet changing rooms. Swimming pool changing areas have higher temperatures and humidity, increasing the difficulty to keep clean. Leisure centres should install separate changing rooms to accommodate swimmers and other users to maintain cleanliness.
    2. Within the changing room, designate wet and dry sides. To minimise cross-over, prevent routes from one side to the other from overlapping.
    3. Changing areas must not be visible from common areas. Explore all angles to protect single sex changing rooms and toilets from exposing users.
    4. Entrances to vanity areas should prevent congestion at the entrance, including provision for wheelchairs.
    5. Install toilets on the route to the swimming pool but before the pre-swim showers.
    6. Pre-swim showers should be installed to encourage use before entering the swimming pool. Keep them close to the pool, forcing users to walk through them instead of avoiding them.
    7. Post-swim showers need to be installed close to lockers. This allows users to retrieve soap and towels and minimise the spread of water.
    8. Use floor drainage and other options to remove water from showers. Keeping showers without stepped thresholds increases accessibility and safety.

    Locker rooms

    1. Locker rooms require bright, crisp, and airy surroundings, no matter if they’re for swimming or another exercise.
    2. Research the peak time usage of the gym or leisure centre. Dig deeper to determine the number of users who arrive changed to influence demand needs. Consider increases when classes are running – especially at the beginning or end.
    3. Plan for single sex changing rooms with buffer changing rooms for those peak hours.
    4. Minimise the use of artificial lighting by introducing rooflight and other natural lighting to the room.
    5. Use bright colours to contrast the walls, cubicles, lockers, and storage.
    6. Choose vandal-resistant fittings and materials to prevent damage from vandalism or heavy usage.

    Bench seating and lockers

    1. Cantilever benches reduce corrosion risk and enable easier cleaning.
    2. Ensure some lockers are large enough to store a collapsed pushchair or for people with disabilities to store artificial limbs or walking aids.
    3. Install lockers to accommodate the maximum number of users your centre can hold.
    4. Disperse lockers over single-sex areas whilst concentrating them in mixed-sex areas. The dispersion provides flexibility whilst concentrating helps security.
    5. Consider putting seating in the individual changing cubicles instead of in the open changing area.


    In areas of heavy traffic and risk of soiling and spillage, install flooring that can be easily cleaned. Ensure it’s slip-resistance and impervious.

    Choose materials that are water and detergent-resistant. When cleaning, these materials can be hosed down or mopped easily.


    Reduce out-of-order time with durable materials. Lockers and cubicles are in constant use every day. They must withstand excessive force, be anti-vandal, and be strong enough to not deteriorate quickly.


    We’ve discussed the accessibility benefits of a well-presented and clean changing room. In general, however, a colourful and maintained space is welcoming. It helps users relax. Choose materials that are on brand and put your users at ease.

    Locker Layout & Sizes

    changing room design guide

    Standard sizes

    Standard lockers are usually 1800mm x 300mm x 450/600mm.

    Half-height lockers are around 900mm tall. 50%-70% of the lockers should be half-height.

    Three-quarter, third, and quarter lockers are available where needed.

    Note: a professional designer and manufacturer should offer bespoke lockers to fit the space you need. Standard sizes are guidelines, but you should not be restricted by them. Find out here how to get the most out of your locker room space.



    To provide full accessibility, ensure enough lockers are available between 45-90cm high with a width of at least 30cm. 10% of all lockers must be full height (180cm) to allow mobility aids to be stored.

    Position locks must be positioned at 115cm maximum above the floor and be operated by a person with poor dexterity or limited hand or arm strength.

    Locks and lockers must have embossed numbers that can be read by sight or touch.

    Using high-contrast colours for lockers can help assist with orientation. Section out zones and use signage to help.

    Every same-sex washroom must have at least one WC cubicle suitable for the ambulant disabled. If there is only one cubicle, it must be suitable. These cubicles must include an outward opening door.

    Washrooms with 4 or more cubicles must have at least one enlarged cubicle. There must an outward opening door with a horizontal and vertical grab rail set installed.

    Changing rooms procurement with Arkinstall

    Arkinstall maximises your space with our in-house design services. We design, manufacture, and install bespoke benches and lockers solutions. Working together is a 5-step journey:

    1. Initial Enquiry
    2. Planning
    3. Site Visit
    4. Installation
    5. Result

    This guide focused on changing rooms in sports centres. But they’re not exclusive to this sector anymore – schools, offices, and other places of business now demand changing rooms. That’s why it’s essential to build durable changing rooms from the start.

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