10 Tips for Family Bathroom Design
Kids’ bathrooms are high-traffic, hard-working rooms. We share our top tips for designing a bathroom that will pass the family-friendly test… now, and in the future.
Storage. It may seem obvious, but maximising storage is critical in a family bathroom. We advise a mixture of storage that is easily accessible by little people (for toys, toothbrushes and toilet paper) and some that is well out of reach - in case cleaning products or medicines need to be stored in the room. Turn to bespoke cabinetry to optimise all available millimetres, and consider shaving cabinets for even more capacity. Consider integrating a receptacle for garbage into the joinery and always opt for soft-close to protect little fingers and prevent noisy slams.
Easy-clean. Opt for durable surfaces that are wipe-down and hard-wearing. Timber bench tops on vanities can suffer under pooled water, so if you’re after a timber touch, consider bringing it in to the vanity cabinet doors or on a floating shelf elsewhere. Talk to your tiler about epoxy grout, which resists discolouration over time, and look to basins that don’t have acute angles in which bacteria will love to breed.
3. Layout. While a separate WC isn’t always possible in a bathroom renovation, it is a great way to manage multiple users. One of our favourite designs incorporates a separate WC just outside the main bathroom, with it’s own basin. Likewise, if we’re talking ideal scenarios, a separate bath and shower are great for adapting to family needs as the kids grow.
4. Walk-in shower. Any parent will agree that a swinging easy-shatter glass door is not ideal in a zone used by children - of any age! A walk-in shower removes the need for moving parts and has the added bonus of being easy to clean. We like to keep the opening at least 700mm wide, and the screen a good 1100mm to minimise splash into the main section of the room.
5. Temperature-control. Under-tile heating, while sounding decadent, is surprisingly accessible and the benefits are huge. Towels that dry quicker, puddles of water that evaporate better and toasty under-foot comfort in winter are big wins, especially in a family bathroom. As for water temperature, ask your plumber for thermostatic control on your hot water so that kids can’t burn themselves when turning on the taps.
6. Double-duty. Opting for a double basin in a family bathroom means fewer fights over the tap, more efficient bedtime routines and a sense of a personal space. The smallest double basin system we’ve designed is a vanity width of just 1200mm, with bench space to spare.
7. Built-in. We love to incorporate niche shelving into our bathroom designs and this feature works a treat in kids’ bathrooms. Eliminating the need for shower caddies or shelves they’re a compact way of providing easy-reach of often-used products and can become a design feature in their own right.
8. Reach. While the little people in the house will grow, it’s useful to consider the heights of bench tops and mirrors, the distance leaning over the bench to reach the taps and the ease with which a towel can be returned to hanging position. The more they can manage independently from an early age the better!
9. Ventilation. As a high traffic zone, a great exhaust is a must. But the presence of an exhaust doesn’t mean they’ll always remember to turn it on! An opening window (we love frosted louvers in a bathroom) will hugely help to de-mist the room rapidly and keep mould at bay.
10. Laundry. Ensure you have space for a laundry hamper, either inside or just outside the bathroom door to minimise the trail of dirty clothes. Better yet, a laundry chute closely situated to an upstairs family bathroom will save multiple trips up and down stairs.
Finally, as a bonus 11th tip, always think about longevity. Kids grow - and fast! While planning a bathroom around the toddler stage will serve you initially, consider the needs for the next growth phase as well as this one. For example, if space is tight and there’s already a bath elsewhere in the home, consider whether a larger shower, more storage or a separate WC might be a better use of space.