How to design a family friendly bathroom

A bathroom for the modern family, hectic and happy as they are, needs special attention when undergoing a redesign so that it looks and works properly. Getting the balance right is tricky: if you focus too much on the children’s needs, grumpy adults will have to shower hunched over among an army of rubber ducks. Focus too little on the young ones and they won’t be able to reach anything, or worse, hurt themselves trying.

Generally, less is more. As one of the smallest rooms in the house, the bathroom needs to be well organised so that it doesn’t turn into a mess after a morning’s use. Here’s what you can do.

Picture of two sets of slippers adult and child on a mat beside a chair

Nothing’s forever

The number one rule for designing a family friendly bathroom is remembering that everything changes, especially kids. It’s best to avoid installing features designed specifically for children, such as smaller toilet seats, because in a few years they’ll have simply outgrown them. Although small sinks may look cute and are appreciated at the time, you’ll only be forced to remodel and may even lose value on your property if trying to sell later.

It’s a better idea to design a clean, plain bathroom that is perfectly workable for adults and then accessorise it so that children have easy access to whatever they need. Stools are perfect for sinks and the toilet and they come in a vast array of materials and colours. A good option is to have a pull out step for children as part of a cabinet under a sink. While an adjustable showerhead, which goes down past adult hips, can be used to clean muddy children or give the dog a wash, a shower bath is the better choice all round due to its practicality for younger children and babies.

Picture of a child's feet on a bathroom stool

When in doubt, accessorise

Accessories aren’t just practical for bathrooms , they’re the key to decorating. Going too heavy on the kid-friendly design – coloured tiles, a boat bath, aquatic wallpaper – may seem fun at the time, but again, it’ll only cause an issue once your toddler is a teenager.

Instead, go simple: bathrooms should be brightly coloured and uncluttered to give the effect of cleanliness. Then, jazz things up for the young ones using everything from towels to toys, shower curtains to soap dispensers, which can turn your sleek bathroom into a fun place where bath time will be something to look forward to. Accessories can then be replaced (or hidden) when needed.

Picture of three coloured duckies on a bathtub in bathroom

Warning: slippery floors

While accessories trump fixtures, they should also be bought with your children’s safety in mind. Wet floors is a particular issue, so children should be encouraged into drying their feet with inviting, colourful bathmats. Anti-slip tiles are also an option; you can choose textured tiles or have an anti-slip glaze applied to porcelain, which is very durable. Marble isn’t the smartest option as it becomes extremely slippery when wet. Underfloor heating is a great option for keeping frequently wet floors dry without much effort. It’s best to avoid sinks with sharp corners and edges, just in case anyone does slip over.

Picture of an orange bathroom with yellow and orange mosaic on bathtub

Another area of concern is hot water. You should place limits on the amount of hot water that comes out of a tap or showerhead with anti-scald devices. Although regulations from 2006 state that anti-scald devices should be installed in new builds, make sure that any builder and plumber you hire doesn’t ignore this.

Parental plumbing

Picture of a modern bathroom with brown and white colour palette

Keeping the family happy isn’t just about keeping the children happy. Parents need to be happy too. Have enough storage space to hide toys so that you can bathe in peace. Utilise space below, above and around the sink with wall cabinets and towers and keep your floor free by keeping everything above ground with hanging baskets and shelves.

An increasingly popular choice is to have separate or extended sink areas. It may seem a little opulent at first, but the benefits are great, giving both parents their own small oases in the family bathroom. Better yet, duel sinks actually open up space as opposed to taking it up. By avoiding a huge build-up of pastes, creams, brushes and shavers and offering more storage capabilities, you won’t be forced to root through your family’s bathroom paraphernalia to find what you’re looking for.

If you are thinking of renovating your family bathroom, Rated People can provide you with quotes from local bathroom specialists.

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  1. Well that first bathroom wouldn’t pass Part P. I can just imagine some old dear plugging her hair dryer in and then dropping it in the bath. Shocking photo – literally!

  2. Very useful advice since I am considering that in the very near future of having a downstairs cloakroom converted into a wet room. There is a toilet and shower cubicle already, so the advice in this article was extremely useful.

  3. The designs in this feature are so terrible I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind slavishly doing them, Get a life. Power sockets in a bathroom next to a bath. Sad really.

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