Kids plus bathrooms can equal a whole lot of mess – think water fights, dirty laundry flung in the corner, and of course the inevitable mess of toilet training. But you can take control of bathroom chaos and create a space that’s functional and pleasant to use by choosing kid-friendly fittings and finishes, generous storage, and a practical bathroom layout.
Your children’s bathroom is one of the hardest working rooms in the home, so if you’re designing from scratch dedicate as much space to it is you can.
When it comes to layout, think about who will be using the bathroom and how they’ll be using it. If you have more than one child, twin – or even triple – sinks are a great idea as it means everyone can brush their teeth at once. More kids means more things to store, so you if you have a large family choose bathroom furniture that double duties as storage, such as a vanity unit with drawers, or a vanity mirror with concealed shelving.
Decide whether you need a separate bath and shower, or whether a bath with a wall-mounted shower unit is a better use of space. Scaled-down, kid-sized sanitary ware is easier for young children to use, but will need to be replaced with adult-sized versions when the kids are older. A more budget-savvy choice is full-size sanitary ware with a couple of safety stools on hand so the kids can reach the basin and toilet.
Don’t let a small or oddly shaped bathroom defeat you – there’s a lot you can do to transform it into a practical, child-friendly space.
The first step is to take as much as possible off the floor; this not only makes a space-starved bathroom appear larger, but it’s easier to move around in and clean. Do you have a separate shower cubicle that’s rarely used? Replace it with a bath and wall-mounted shower unit, and you’ll instantly gain extra floor space. Poorly designed bathroom cupboards swallowing up precious floor space? Swap them for wall-mounted shelves or cabinets. Another option is to replace floor standing toilets and vanities with wall-hung ones that will visually enhance a small bathroom.
A good lighting scheme can make the world of difference in a tricky bathroom space. Maximise natural light by removing heavy window coverings, and introduce a layered artificial lighting scheme that includes bright overhead lighting, task lighting around the vanity mirror, and strip lighting inside drawers so you can see inside with ease.
Kids have a love-hate relationship with bathing, so try appealing to their sense of fun with a bright and uplifting colour scheme.
Paintbox brights such as red, orange and blue look have a fun, contemporary feel, and work equally well in large or small doses. Consider a feature wall or splashback lined in funky mosaic tiles, a vanity unit in a show stopping laminate, or a brightly painted bath surround. If you prefer a neutral backdrop, try adding pops of colour with patterned towels, small storage or even a brightly coloured toilet seat.
Let the kids’ inject their own personality into the space by allowing them to paint a few tiles for the splashback, or create a rotating display of their artwork on a floating shelf or pegged to a length of washing line.
When it comes to finishes in a kids’ bathroom, think waterproof and low maintenance.
For walls, look for speciality bathroom paint that’s moisture and mould resistant. Tiles are another great choice for bathroom walls, and come in all manner of colours, sizes and finishes. Keep in mind that large format tiles are easier to clean than small ones, and will make a small bathroom appear larger.
When it comes to flooring, non-slip tiles, textured rubber and vinyl are all good options. Polished floors are a definite no-no as they can get slippery when wet.
Banish kids’ bathroom clutter by creating dedicated storage space for all their essentials. Keep countertops clear by storing all the kids’ toiletries in cupboards above or drawers beneath the countertop. Keep drawers tidy by adding organiser inserts and storing small toiletries inside lidded boxes such as Huggies’ Pop Up Tubs.
A wall of cupboards is perfect for storing spare towels and toilet rolls. If space is tight, look for slimline cupboards or corner units that are specially designed for tricky spaces.
Open shelving looks modern and allows you to keep shampoos and lotions close to hand. But bear in mind that everything will be on display, so might not be the best option if you prefer to keep the kids’ mess hidden away.
Hang towels on a space-savvy tiered or ladder-style towel rack. A heated rack is a good investment as it keeps towels warm and fresh for longer, and cuts your laundry time.
If you need extra storage but don’t have much space, look around for any hidden opportunities – could you add recessed nook beside the bath for shampoos? Hooks on the back of the bathroom door or floating wall shelves? Also consider freestanding additions, such as a trolley or shelves on castors, or a storage rack that fits around the toilet.
Large, brightly coloured tubs are great for storing bath toys. Or, if you prefer to keep toys out of sight consider converting the space beneath a built-in bath into a storage nook with sliding doors.
And don’t forget to add a lidded laundry hamper so no there’s no more excuse for wet towels on the floor!
Keep your little ones safe in the bathroom by following a few simple rules:
Word by Georgia Madden
Images from Reece