The main bathroom of a home is often the family bathroom. It’s the bathroom which gets the most traffic from most of the family members – generally the children.
To keep a family bathroom functional, it needs to be a space well thought out in design and features. The space needs to grow through the stages of family life.
Kids grow and their desire to stay in the bathroom longer will increase as they get older (hello tween/teenager years). Installing low cabinetry and scald-proof tapware may be great in the early years, but once the kids get older, it may become frustrating.
These tips are to help you make the best choices for your main bathroom to ensure it’s a practical space for all to use. You may not be able to invest in all of these tips and you may differ in opinion with some of my suggestions. But if you want a functional family bathroom, here are some tips from the planning and renovation phase, to making do with what you have and ensuring it’s practical for little people to use.
1. Invest in an ensuite
One of the most practical tips in ensuring the functionality of a family bathroom is having less people use it at once. An ensuite offers a couples only retreat for parents and it also minimizes the traffic in the main bathroom.
2. Have a separate toilet from the main bathroom
A separate toilet means someone can be in the toilet, while another can be in the main bathroom using the vanity/bath/shower. Washing hands can be somewhat difficult for this design. Consider turning the toilet into a powder room with its own wash basin or have a hand sanitizer pump.
3. Include a shower and bath
A bath is necessary in the early years when bathing kids. You can wash a few kids at once in the one bath – providing there hasn’t been a code brown. As the kids get older, they will want to shower on their own. Having a shower and bath in a bathroom is ideal for re-sale value. Combine the shower and bath if you’re limited on space.
4. Get a vanity with the best storage and maximum bench space as possible
Wall hung vanities are sleek and modern, but they don’t offer much storage, which is necessary in a family bathroom. Wall hung vanities do allow for a stool to be stored underneath them though. When looking for a vanity for the family bathroom, avoid timber. Kids leave water on benches and splashes will make your vanity look older and worn out in a short amount of time.
5. Have a double basin
If you have the space, invest in a double basin. Two kids can brush their teeth at once.
6. Ensure taps have easy turn handles with anti-scald
Mixer taps are easy for kids to turn on and off, but they can cause hot water burns if left turned towards the hot side. The chances of this happening are minimal as hot water units should be tempered to 50 degress. You can also get anti-scald taps for extra safety.
Hob mounted hot and cold water taps can prevent scalding, but they can be hard for kids to turn on and off, resulting in a dripping tap = water down the drain and a higher water bill.
There are pros and cons for both.
7. Get a toddler and adult combined toilet seat for toilet training
This is ideal for swapping the toilet seat when toilet training. Saves having to install the ladder toilet training seat option.
8. Install a soft-close toilet seat to prevent toilet seat slamming down when in use
Toilet seats can crack if they are slammed shut. The soft-close option can prevent this.
9. Put water saving aerators on basin spouts
Kids don’t understand the cost of water. Place water saving aerators on the basin spout only. The bath spout needs to flow faster for when filling up the bath.
10. Install a restricted shower head
When the kids have a long shower, you can still limit their water use through a water saving shower head.
11. Have a built in bath to allow for a ledge for toys and bath products
Freestanding baths are an ideal feature and can work in family bathrooms. Often they are very deep. Built in baths work better for family life and can allow for a ledge which is great for storage.
12. Buy a vanity basin with an overflow
If the kids ever leave a tap on and the plug in the basin, the water will overflow through the hole and not over the edge of the basin.
13. Opt for a bathroom with a floor waste
Some bathrooms are now being installed without a floor waste in Australia. For the main bathroom, having a floor waste or wet bathroom can ensure water flows towards a drain if a tap is accidentally left on.
14. Have inset basins
Semi-recessed basins jut out and can cause little kids to bump their heads. Overmount basins or inset basins are ideal for cleanliness and ease of use.
15. Have a stool
A stool allows for little people to reach the vanity basin to wash their hands and clean their teeth.
16. Have eye-level high storage for medicines and makeup
This one is self-explanatory. Unless you’ve never had a kid raid your makeup and Picasso it on the carpet and walls. Medicines should be kept out of reach too.
17. Invest in extra towel rails
18. Have anti-slip floor tiles
Kids splash water everywhere when having a bath, and you don’t want this to create a slip and slide effect in the bathroom.
19. Opt for minimal glass in the shower
A shower enclosure works well for cleanliness, but also prevents breakages caused from the slamming of a glass shower door. A glass screen door can prevent water spray in the bathroom though, as kids do like to make a splash in the bathroom. If you do opt for minimal glass, ensure there is adequate fall and drainage for the water.
20. Don’t install the mirror too high
Opt to have the mirror above the splashback. This ensures everyone can see themselves in the mirror – even with a stool.
21. Install a hand towel holder
Hand towels should be hung at waist height where kids can reach to dry hands.
22. Have an exhaust fan
Multiple bodies and a hot bath can cause the bathroom to become a humid environment. Install an exhaust fan to remove moisture from the bathroom.
23. Allow for natural light and air flow
Position the bathroom to have maximum light from a skylight or window. A window can also allow air into the bathroom. Less need for turning on a light.
24. Install energy saving LED lights
Kids love to keep the lights on in the bathroom after they’ve used it! Save energy by installing LEDs.