As any parent would happily tell you, with children comes new priorities and perspectives on life; gone are the carefree and selfish days of doing exactly what you want with wild abandon, replaced by a world of responsibility and dedication to the whims of your little bundles of joy.
This is no truer than with the design of your home, where the stylish designs of youth make way for a more child-friendly palette, one that keeps the kids happy long enough to give you some time to relax.
Equally, style takes a back seat to practicality, with storage, space and safety taking precedent over what’s currently hot in the interior design industry.
The bathroom is one of the hardest rooms to adapt to family life, as striking a balance between something that serves the needs of everyone in the house and one that pleases the eye of a child can be extremely difficult.
In this post, we’re going to take you through some key considerations when designing a family bathroom as well as providing some top tips on fixtures and accessories. If you want a bathroom that keeps the kids happy without looking like a set from ‘The Tweenies’, read on…
Choose function over fashion
When it comes to designing a bathroom for both adults and children, function has to come before fashion. This goes for everything from the fixtures you choose – sinks should be simple enough for a child to use safely, cabinets should be high enough that a child can’t reach them and ideally have locks – to the layout of the bathroom – the toilet should be next to the sink to encourage handwashing, the sinks should be in a place where they can be easily reached by children.
That doesn’t mean you should slouch on the aesthetics of your bathroom, however…
Don’t base your design around the tastes of your children
It’s all too easy to pander your entire home to the tastes of your children; a ‘Ben 10’ poster here, a ‘One Direction’ banner there. For bedrooms, this is fine. For bathrooms, however, it’s a big no-no.
Your bathroom should be designed to suit the tastes of the entire family, which will probably mean a fairly neutral colour scheme and classic tiling. A failsafe option for bathroom design that pleases children is a seaside theme, with blues and yellows used and the odd picture of the seaside hung up.
A family of four is bound to be using all kinds of toiletries and products, especially if there’s a teenager in the family! This means that storage should be your primary consideration when designing your bathroom.
Storage can come in many forms; the obvious option would be a large bathroom cabinet, while under sink storage offers another useful option. For most families, however, that won’t suffice. For extra storage, invest in a large wicker basket or two and get creative with your storage; create a ‘false shelf’ around your toilet cistern, install a couple of hooks for towels and buy a heated towel rail.
If you’ve ever watched an American family sitcom, you’ll be well acquainted with the sight of a family queuing up outside the bathroom while one particularly high maintenance member of the family gets ready for school or work. Although exaggerated for common effect, waiting around for someone to get ready can be a big problem in family homes.
That’s why you should always think big when designing a family bathroom. It might seem a bit lavish, but having two sinks can be a godsend when you’re trying to get the kids to brush their teeth in the morning, as can having two mirrors. A large bath means that people can share (although only if you have really young children)…as well as making for some truly embarrassing pictures to show your kids’ friends when they’re older!
This also extends to towel racks and rails, as well as storage. You basically need to design the room so that it could be technically used by two people at once, even if this won’t always be the case.
Let there be light!
With multiple sinks, a ton of storage and a big bath, there’s a good chance your family bathroom will be relatively packed (although it’s important to remember that adequate floor space should be a key design consideration) and could give the illusion of being quite small.
The best way to countenance this is to flood your bathroom with natural light – design your bathroom around the largest window in the room, positioning everything so that the maximum amount of light can flow in. For nights, a couple of wall light fixtures and an illuminated mirror should do the trick!
Designing a family bathroom can be quite stressful but adhering to the above tips should give you a good basis from which to design the family bathroom of your dreams.
About the author: Chris Smith is a writer specialising in interior design and home improvement. He has been published on many home improvement websites and currently works with Illuminated Mirrors, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of illuminated bathroom mirrors.