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….

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.

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 equipmentLarger fitness areas:3 changing spaces per 4 pieces of equipmentStudios 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

Enquire for a Quote at 0121 522 0500

Swimming Pool Wet Area

Changing spaces

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


Male pool users2 for up to 100 males1 WC for every additional 100 malesFemale pool users

1 per 5 females up to 501 WC for every additional 10 females up to 1001 per additional 50 females


Male pool users

1 per 20 males up to 1001 per additional 80 males


Male pool users1 per WC1 per 5 urinalsFemale pool users

1 per 2 WCs


Male pool users1 per 10 malesFemale pool users

1 per 10 females


75% of maximum capacity + existing changing spaces

Vanity Stations

Male pool users1 vanity station space per 30 lockersFemale 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.

Speak to the experts on 0121 522 0500

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

Speak to the experts on 0121 522 0500

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

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.
Within the changing room, designate wet and dry sides. To minimise cross-over, prevent routes from one side to the other from overlapping.
Changing areas must not be visible from common areas. Explore all angles to protect single sex changing rooms and toilets from exposing users.
Entrances to vanity areas should prevent congestion at the entrance, including provision for wheelchairs.
Install toilets on the route to the swimming pool but before the pre-swim showers.
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.
Post-swim showers need to be installed close to lockers. This allows users to retrieve soap and towels and minimise the spread of water.
Use floor drainage and other options to remove water from showers. Keeping showers without stepped thresholds increases accessibility and safety.

Have A Question? Contact Our Team

Locker rooms

Locker rooms require bright, crisp, and airy surroundings, no matter if they’re for swimming or another exercise.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.Plan for single sex changing rooms with buffer changing rooms for those peak hours.Minimise the use of artificial lighting by introducing rooflight and other natural lighting to the room.Use bright colours to contrast the walls, cubicles, lockers, and storage.Choose vandal-resistant fittings and materials to prevent damage from vandalism or heavy usage.

Bench seating and lockers

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

Call us For a Quote at 0121 522 0500


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:

Initial Enquiry
Site Visit

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.


Changing Accommodation from the FA
Design note for changing accommodation – Sports Scotland
Clubhouse and Changing Rooms Design Guide – RFU
Clubhouse Design Guidelines – Sports England
Swimming Pool Design – Sports England
Accessible Sports Facilities – Sports England
Sanitary Installation: code of practice for the provision of public toilets – BSI

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