Types Of Toilet Seats (Shapes & Materials Guide)

Contemporary bathroom interior with toilet and bathtub

A detail that’s most often overlooked but one that proves to be integral in bringing together the elements that make a great bathroom is the toilet seat. Even toilet seats can have a huge impact on the overall look and feel of the bathroom space. 

Getting started on this can be a bit overwhelming because there are many factors to consider, including the materials, shapes, colors, and designs.

But you’re in luck as we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of toilet seat options below so that you can finally kickstart your home upgrading or remodeling project.

Toilet Seat Shapes

Contrary to what most people think, toilet seats come in various shapes besides the classic round-shaped seat. Here are the different shapes of toilet seats that you can consider.


Close up of a round-shaped toilet seat

A typical round-shaped toilet lid set measures about 16 to 17 inches starting from the main toilet bowl’s mounting hole all the way up to the front. This is the most common shape of toilet seat on the market today. 

Open or U-seat

U-shaped toilet seat in a public restroom

The front part of the toilet seat is usually kept open, which is normally seen in public bathrooms all across the US because it’s a legal requirement for establishments. 

True to its name, this seat shape resembles the letter “U”. It’s also perhaps more hygienic compared to the other toilet seat shapes because it protects the main toilet from urine drops when men urinate. 

A U-seat shaped toilet also makes it safer for a user to wipe themselves without the hand ever touching the toilet bowl. Lastly, it helps stop the spread of diseases as the genital doesn’t touch the actual toilet seat with this shape.

Oval or Elongated

Oval shaped toilet seat in bathroom

The length of an oval toilet seat is slightly longer than a round-shaped toilet seat, which measures 18 inches or more from the mounting hole to the front of the toilet. This toilet seat is quite popular in commercial bathrooms and tends to provide extra sanitary benefits. It’s also usually made of more prime, durable materials.


Modern bathroom interior with square-shaped toilet seat

This toilet seat is a bit unique but also still has its own appeal. As the name suggests, it’s shaped like a square or a rectangle that features two sides that are parallel to each other.


D-shaped toilet seat

A D-shaped toilet seat is a combination of both the rounded and the square-shaped toilet seats. It’s rounded at the top and has a flat hinge edge at the bottom part where the user will be sitting. 

This style is commonly seen in contemporary bathrooms. 

Toilet Seat Material

There’s a wide variety of toilet seat materials to choose from these days, especially with the constant technological innovations. Here are some of the common toilet seat materials that you can check out:


Modern stylish bathroom interior with wooden toilet seat

This can be solid wood or engineered wood components that have been varnished with a sealing compound. Its finishing protects it from water and at the same time, ensures that the seat stays sanitary.

Because wood is a natural material, it’s still prone to deteriorating faster compared to plastic. Still, its main appeal lies in its appearance and texture. Most prefer natural wood since it provides better comfort when you sit on it during the cold winter months.

You can consider either solid wooden seats or molded ones. Opting for a natural wood option provides you with more versatility in your designing options. You can choose to stain it in any color that you want and pick out either a matte or a glossy finish.

The popular wood types for wooden toilet seats are bamboo, a variety of natural wood, and medium density fiberboard.

The only downside to this option is that this can be easily damaged if you use the wrong cleaner. Otherwise though, wood is an opulent choice for a toilet seat, one that can exude class and elegance in the bathroom.


Classic white bathroom interior

Plastic toilet seats are commonly seen in households. The material is usually made of high-impact plastic. Others opt for a plastic-coated composite wood material as well. 

For a better quality option, consider thermoplastic which is said to be more durable because it’s injected by a molding material that’s made of synthetic resin.

These seats only come in the color that you buy them in and are not customizable, unlike wooden toilet seats. The only downside to plastic toilet seats is that they can get uncomfortable to sit on during the cold months and cleaning marks tend to be visible especially when abrasives are used.


Standard silver foil resin toilet seat with chrome hinges

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These toilet seats are made of lightweight and flexible materials compared to wood and plastic. They come in a diverse range of colors and designs, and are considered decorative.

They can be quite whimsical too as they can be customized according to your liking. These can definitely add a punch of personality to your bathroom.

Speaking of resin, there are also seats that are made of pure resin. They are both practical and aesthetic but the quality mainly depends on the manufacturer of the specific product. 

They’re far more durable and aesthetically-pleasing compared to plastic seats. There are also resin seats that are made of organic materials if you prefer a more eco-friendly option.

DuroplasticWhite round duroplast toilet seat

Check out this duroplast toilet seat at Amazon [sponsored link]

This is a synthetic material that comes from a polymer blend. If you’re looking for a toilet seat that’s highly durable, this is it. 

Duroplastic can withstand abrasion and harsh cleaning materials, and even has a long lifespan. 

Medium Density Fiberboard

White deluxe MDF wood rounded toilet seat and plastic hingesCheck out this MDF toilet seat at Amazon [sponsored link]

MDF is basically made of compressed wood fibers, which is an organic and environmentally friendly option. Its durability mainly relies on its sealer and finish.

It can also be quite resistant to rot especially when properly maintained.

Standard Close vs Soft Close

Modern luxury wooden bathroom interior

There are two main types of toilet seats to consider: standard close and soft close. 

Standard Close Toilet

This is the type of toilet seat that most of us have grown up with. It comes with a simple mechanism that lets the toilet open and close manually.

Standard close toilets come in a wide variety of designs, materials, and finishes that you can choose from.White soft close toilet seat

Soft Close Toilet

This is a more evolved type of toilet seat that’s equipped with a partially automated closing mechanism where the lid doesn’t end up banging against the bowl the moment that you let go of it. 

Soft close toilet adds a luxurious touch to one’s bathroom. It’s also recommended for families with small children to prevent minor accidents like a child’s fingers getting trapped in between the bowl and the seat.

Seat Design

There’s nothing wrong with overthinking your toilet design at all. Remember, the toilet is one of the first things you notice when you set foot into the bathroom. Why not go all out and make it your own? Check out our gallery of modern bathroom design ideas here. 


Colorful toilet seats

There’s a wide selection of colors available for a toilet seat that you can consider. This is also made possible by the flexibility of plastic which is a common material used for toilet seats. 

Some even come with patterns and prints. This makes it easier for you to make a statement with your toilet seat. You can also customize your toilet seat to match the exact color of your tiles, if you’d prefer.

Other Toilet Seat Features

Toilet seats have definitely come a long way from how they initially looked and function. Now, they come with a bunch of amazing features aside from the basic use they were initially cut out for. 

Understandably, they can get quite expensive but they are also valuable, making them definitely worth your investment.


Raised toilet seat in coral bathroom interior

Raised toilet seats are common among the elderly, tall people, people with disabilities, or those who have issues with posture. Some of them come attached with handles for easier maneuvering whereas some are just raised as is.


White clean innovation flush toilet

Heated toiled seats were pioneered by the Japanese but have since been adopted by other countries. If you happen to live in areas that are particularly cold, a heated toilet seat can definitely make all the difference in the world.


There probably isn’t a customization for toilet seats that’s completely unheard of. If you fancy any weird or particular preference for your toilet seat, all you really need to do is to go online and you’re bound to find something that’s exactly up to your liking. 

For sure, there are companies who can build a toilet seat that’s exactly to your specifications.

Seat Sizes

The first thing you need to figure out is the shape of your toilet seat; whether it is rounded or elongated. Toilet seats are always designed to fit one of these two bowl types. A round seat won’t fit into an elongated one and vice versa.

A standard round toilet bowl will usually measure 16.5 inches, whereas an elongated one will measure roughly 18.5 inches. 

You need to carefully think things through and be methodical when it comes to choosing a size for your toilet seat to ensure that your bathroom feels warm and comfortable. Read more about our guide to bathroom sizes here.

Measuring Your Toilet’s Seat

Round shaped toilet seat in modern luxury bathroomTake out a measuring tape and measure the toilet twice just to be sure.

When measuring, make sure you start at the midpoint near the mounting hole and then stretch it out all the way to the front of the bowl.

Toilet Height. This measurement starts from the floor all the way to the top of your main toilet tank. This gives you a rough estimate of how high your new toilet will be and whether your storage racks or any space on the sides will still work similarly to how your old toilet used to.

Toilet Depth. This measurement starts at the front of the toilet seat rim going all the way to the back of the toilet.

It’s recommended to always have about 24 inches of space in front of the toilet to avoid the risk of making your toilet feel cramped. This also ensures that you get to move around in the toilet seat easily and that the bathroom and shower doors don’t end up banging against the bowl.

Toilet Width. This is the measurement spanning the side-to-side area of your toilet bowl or seat; you measure out whatever is the widest. Getting this measurement ensures that the bowl will fit into the space with no issues. There should be at least 30 inches of space for your toilet regardless of where it’s placed in the bathroom.

Rough-In. This is the distance between the wall behind the toilet and the center of the closet bolt where the toilet is actually bolted to the floor. Typically, this measures 12 inches or so but in some cases, they may be shorter at 10 inches or longer at 14 inches.

What Are Most Seats Made Of?

Floating toilet with plastic seat

We spend over an average of 92 days of our lives sitting on our toilet seats so it’s only natural to be curious and mindful of the most materials they’re made of.

Overall, plastic, resin and wood are the most popular types of toilet seats.

What Are Toilets Made Of

Toilets in general are primarily made of porcelain clay. From centuries ago until now, a toilet, urinal and sink are still heavily made of porcelain particularly because of the unique qualities that the material possesses.

Here’s some of the primary benefits or porcelain:

  • They’re easy to make and can be easily molded into any shape.
  • They’re waterproof, which is a basic requirement for fixtures in the bathroom.
  • They’re pretty easy to clean and for the most part, they stay clean.
  • This makes them sanitary.
  • They’re sturdy and not too sensitive to temperature changes.
  • And of course, they look nice when made into fixtures.

How To Choose A Seat For a Toilet

Classic white bathroom interior with plant

The whole point of choosing a toilet seat is that it needs to fit perfectly into a specific bathroom or toilet. Here are the things you can do to make sure that you’re making the right choice for your purchase.

Figure out the shape of the toilet seat. Getting the wrong shape will have you end up with a seat that you could barely even use, totally defeating the purpose of buying one in the first place.

Make sure you know if you have a toilet that is round or elongated to buy the correct type.

Decide on the toilet seat features that you prefer. Buying a new toilet seat usually means that you’re going for an upgrade. Make a list of the things you want and list them down according to your priorities.

Some considerations when choosing a toilet seat are:

  • It’s appearance and if the seat matches your bathroom design
  • Do you want a soft seat? If so consider a seat with a cushioned top.
  • Do you want a warmer seat? If so avoid plastic and go with something warmer such as wood.
  • Do you want a seat that is the easiest to clean? If so avoid wood and go with plastic.
  • Is the seat designed with an ergonomic design for better comfort?
  • Is it in your budget?
  • If you have young children you may want a soft close toilet seat design to avoid hearing the noise of the seat slam down.
  • An important consideration is that the type of seat you select fits your body type.

Some of the features you can consider include a soft-close option, a quick release, a double flap, a hinged seat, one that has junior training seats, and so on.Blue bathroom with elongated toilet basin sink

Design options. If you’ve put in a lot of effort in designing your bathroom lavatory, you might as well go the whole nine yards and extend that same effort to choosing your toilet seat design.

Think outside the box and consider the material as well. Different commode materials have their own merits. Some products may be durable or affordable but not really what you may consider aesthetically pleasing, and vice versa. 

What Type Of Seat Is Best

The best toilet seat is one that’s equally durable and visually attractive, and a wooden toilet seat certainly fits the bill.

Wood seats are heavier and thicker than a plastic toilet seat but this is to their advantage as this means that they’re less likely to break. They also look quite remarkable and can add a touch of class to your toilet.

For more related content about the types of toilet seats, check out this types of shower pans page.

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  1. It’s worth mentioning no toilet seat at all is preferred by some. The absence of a toilet seat reduces height for a more a natural squatting position, means fewer components to clean, and encourages more frequent cleaning of the bowl.
    A toilet seat with or without a cover has a purpose in public restrooms but is less useful in small households and rather redundant since the inner rim of the toilet is already a place to sit that is superior to what the Romans had.

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