Family Bathrooms: Tots to Teens Design Tips

While parents might be tempted to remodel a bathroom completely in pink for a baby girl, there are multiple factors to consider for growing families.

  • How many children do they have?
  • Do multiple kids from different genders share a bathroom?
  • How soon will the children outgrow the bathroom?

Some homeowners end up remodeling their bathrooms sooner than planned because they designed in the short-term without planning for a growing family. If your customers are parents, you can help them design bathrooms that will last them years — from toddler through teen.

Kids Need to Grow Into Their Bathrooms

Kids are going to grow no matter what, and parents can’t expect them to continue using the same bathroom accessories and appliances they needed in their earlier years. Instead of updating a bathroom as they age, parents should consider designing a bathroom set for a teenager, and then changing it to meet the needs of younger children.

“While it’s normal that color schemes and animal themes may go away once the child grows up, the main features of the bathroom should be versatile enough to suit older teens and adults,” the team at Quality Remodeling writes.

They encourage parents to install sinks at normal height instead of putting them in lower, making step stools available for the kids to use until they grow into the bathroom. Alternatively, towel racks can be lowered for smaller children, as they’re easy and affordable to raise as the children get taller.

By planning a bathroom design to last until the last child leaves the house, parents won’t have to remodel when their children their teen years and can’t use the bathroom they outgrew.

Different Needs for Different Ages

The team behind McAdams Remodeling & Design says that the bathroom needs of kids change as they grow older. The focus for younger children must be on safety and teaching proper hygiene habits.

Teens and tweens, however, appreciate bathrooms with proper lighting. This canl help them evaluate their skin (especially if they’re acne prone) and give them the tools to style makeup or hair. Anxiety and peer pressure can be particularly hard to handle in middle and high school, so being able to control blackheads and tweeze eyebrows can help with confidence and social interactions.

Good lighting never goes out of style for bathroom design, but parents might want to leave wall space to install makeup mirrors and other necessities as their kids grow up.

Accessorizing With Age-Appropriate Decor

One of the biggest mistakes parents make when designing a child’s bathroom using bright colors to paint the space. They might choose a child’s favorite color at the time, only to have to repaint the entire bathroom a few years later when their preferences change. Instead, parents should focus on the smaller accessories and features of a room to appeal to kids.

“Just because your bathroom needs to be child friendly doesn't mean it needs to be entirely child-focused,” Adam Chard, manager at Victoria Plum, writes. “Keep your walls and floor to one main subtle colour and then add splashes of colour. [For example], picking your accessories in a bright colour to contrast is a really simple way to add some personality and a bit of fun to your room.”

This way parents aren’t limited to primary colors just because they’re sharing a bathroom with the kids. Choosing a more muted color can also help homeowners if they need to sell their homes.

Take Color Psychology Into Consideration

Color psychology is used in marketing, retail, hospitality, and various other industries. Professionals use colors to elicit certain emotions and reactions from customers. The same can be applied to home designs.

“For kids’ bathrooms, parents tend to go with bold, primary colors and for good reason!” Jaclyn Crawford at CraftJack writes. “Red is exciting and stimulating for children, while on the opposite end, blue is a calming color. Yellow evokes feelings of happiness and can even help improve concentration in children.”

By tapping into this psychology, homeowners can build a family bathroom around certain feelings to set the tone for the design.

Safety Needs to be a Priority for Growing Families

While the home is the safest place for a young child, it can also present unique dangers that lead to injuries. Even a room that kids visit daily like the bathroom can harm them if they’re not careful.

The team at Family Education share an interesting graphic explaining the dangers of the bathroom for small children. According to research:

  • 71 percent of children’s bathroom injuries occur in the bathtub.
  • 81 percent of these bathroom injuries are because of a slip or fall.

Customers can dramatically increase bathroom safety by investing in simple bathroom add-ons including slip-proof mats, handlebars, and seats or pads for younger children.

Materials Should Be Selected With Kids in Mind

Materials selection is one of the most important factors that parents need to consider when remodeling a child’s bathroom. The wrong tile choice could lead to serious injuries and turn a welcoming bathroom experience into a stressful situation.

“Keep in mind that natural stone can be more abrasive for tender feet so use stylish area rugs in high-volume areas,” Ron Nanberg, owner at Kitchens & Baths Unlimited writes. “An added bonus to many of these kid-friendly features is that they make the bathroom accessible for anyone, which is a positive selling point down the road.”

Nanberg emphasizes that even family-friendly materials could actually lead to more trips or problems in the home. Salespeople should be careful when showing these options to future parents and families.

“When designing a bathroom for your kids, the main factors to consider are safety and durability,” the team behind The Affordable Companies, based in Indiana, writes. “Kids will spill water in the bathroom, either when they’re brushing their teeth or getting out of the bathtub, so using water-resistant products in your bathroom will ensure that your bathroom stays in top-quality for a long time.”

Safe and stylish materials aren’t mutually exclusive. If they keep these bathroom dangers in mind, parents should be able to find design materials they love that also protect their kids.

Remind Parents to Turn Down the Water Temperature

While not a design feature, Andrea Davis at ImproveNet encourages expecting parents (or parents with small children) to remember to turn down the home’s water temperature. The water heater shouldn’t be more than 110 degrees for small children to reduce the risk of accidental burns. This is just one more easy step parents can take to create a safer bathroom environment.

Parents Should Look for Ways to Expand Family Bathrooms

A family’s bathroom might seem big enough now, but that’s going to change what another person (no matter how small) starts sharing the space. The same can be said for kids who share a bathroom. The more siblings, the less room. To combat this, customers with larger families can work to expand bathroom space.

Evaluate Expansion Opportunities

While parents might not want the expense or stress of a complete home remodel, the investment of expanding a home bathroom by even a few feet can pay off in the form of years of comfort.

“The truth is that family bathrooms tend to get a raw deal when it comes to size — they are often one of the smallest rooms in the home,” interior designer Nadia Sakey writes.

She encourages families to look for ways to add space when possible — even if it means pushing back an existing wall or tearing one down to turn a closet into more bathroom space. Having too small of a bathroom can make a family miserable and houseguests uncomfortable.

Combining bathrooms or building them into existing rooms are other possibilities of expansion.

“Brian was worried about sharing one bathroom with our two adorable but filthy kids for the rest of our lives,” designer Emily Henderson writes. “The idea of them being teenagers and us all fighting over the privacy at 7:30 am didn’t excite me, but I was less worried because I grew up sharing one bathroom with 3-4 siblings.”

Henderson ended up renovating the two bedrooms that her children slept in to create room for a jack-and-jill bathroom. This allows the kids to have their own bathroom with their own fun designs. Parents don’t have to change their bathrooms to be more child-friendly and kids can have a space that’s all their own.

Consider How the Room Will be Used

Even when homeowners expand their space, they’re going to have to make tough choices over what they want to install.

Corey at Hey There, Home recently remodeled her kids’ bathroom and walked readers through the design process. Their family actually had the choice between adding more storage and a second sink, and in the end decided on the storage space.

“We debated on adding a second sink, but we opted for more counter space instead,” she writes. “We figured that as our daughter grows up she will need a spot to do her hair and makeup. This also allowed us to put two banks of drawers in the vanity.”

This decision could be different for every family. Some parents might choose to give kids their own sinks while others will opt for additional storage.

Look for Functional Problems

An additional benefit of remodeling is removing additional inconveniences or functional problems within a home.

“The door to a bathroom often becomes a huge problem in smaller spaces,” John Harvey writes at Kukun. “Is it easy to get to the toilet/sink if the door opens inward? Does it obstruct the entrance to another room, such as an attached closet/separate storage space?”

Kids Will Need Storage at Almost Any Age

Storage space tends to be the unsung hero of bathroom design. From a young age, kids have items that need to be put away in order to make a home look presentable.

Becky at Crafting Chicks emphasizes the importance of storage in the bathroom. Young girls in particular tend to have a million bows, headbands, hair ties and accessories. This is only going to increase as they get older and they need space for makeup, hair styling tools and hygiene products.

Not only will parent be happier if everything has a place in the bathroom, it will give teens the space they need to grow up and own their identities.  

Storage Teaches Organization to Younger Kids

An additional benefit that parents can consider when investing in storage is the organization skills of young kids or multiple kids sharing a bathroom.

“Multiple kids using one bathroom requires some serious organization tips like color coding,” mom Victoria writes at Simply Today Life. “Assign each child a color and buy towels, hand towels, washcloths, toothbrushes and cups in that color. That way nobody uses an item that doesn’t belong to them.”  

Some parents use this as an opportunity to teach good cleaning habits and responsibility. Even younger kids can participate by watching what their older siblings do.

“If the kids have to participate in keeping the bathroom clean, they are less likely to make it a mess,” mom Lea writes at RoomMates Decor. “The schedule can be as simple as assigning someone to wipe the countertop and sink each day or assigning turns to clean the fixtures and take out the trash each week.”

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