When planning a family bathroom it can be tricky to come up with a design that meets the needs of every member of the household but with the right fixtures and fittings and a little know how, you can make it work.
Creating a space that works for everyone but is practical, easy to maintain and looks good can seem like an overwhelming task. How do you create a bathroom that is easy for your children to use and access whilst still providing the adults with a calming space to relax and unwind? A family bathroom truly needs to be all things to all people.
If you want to future proof your family bathroom you have to think not only about the family you have now but how your family is going to change and grow over time. Smaller toilet seats and low basins may look cute and work well when your children are very young but they will be awkward for adults to use and you will be forced to remodel your bathroom as your children outgrow them. When considering the height differences within a family, it is best to position vanity units, basins etc at a height to suit the tallest person in the home rather than the smallest as it is better to have some reach up for a while then the other way around.
A BATH IS A MUST HAVE
In an ideal world we would all have bathrooms large enough to fit both a bath and separate shower, but for many UK homes this just isn't possible so we have to make a choice. For families, it is difficult to imagine a bathroom that didn't have a bath tub and we wouldn't advise you to go without one especially if you have smaller children. It is also worth noting that not having a bath in a family sized home can put off potential buyers if you are ever looking to sell.
Going for a double ended or freestanding bath makes bath time more enjoyable when bathing more than one child at once - no more arguing over who gets the end with the taps. If you don't have the space then a inset bath works well tucked into a corner. Just remember that whatever size or style you go for that you have enough space to move around the bath when washing little ones.
A shower bath can be a good compromise if you really can't live without a shower - picking a folding shower door instead of hanging a shower curtain will make cleaning easier and helps stop smaller family members getting tangled up in the curtain!
Don't overlook the shower head - a fixed shower head might look stylish but it's not that great when trying to rinse a child's hair. A handheld shower head is more versatile.
CLEVER FAMILY BATHROOM STORAGE
Unlike an en suite or downstairs cloakroom, the family bathroom has to house all of the toiletries for an entire household as well as towels, medicines, bath toys and more. No matter the size of bathroom you are working with, you can never have too much storage. In a room used by a lot of people, it can quickly become cluttered so you should keep it simple and only fit in what you need.
When looking for storage options, it can be a good idea to opt for bathroom furniture that comes with flush fit door handles or smooth edges so children can avoid any accidents.
Vanity units are a better option than a pedestal basin as they come with built in storage. Try to work in wall hung units if you can as it will free up floor space but is also good for safety - too often children will reach for razors or hairsprays left on countertops so you can hide your more hazardous items away. You can even use the extra space underneath the wall unit to put a laundry basket or perhaps a bin.
An LED mirrored bathroom cabinet will keep your medicines out of the reach of small children and offer extra illumination - if you opt for one with a shaving socket you have even more convenience for your daily grooming needs.
While single vanity units are the most common, larger families can really benefit from the added storage and practicality of having a double basin unit. A double vanity unit is ideal for making those early, weekday morning rushes that much easier - no more fighting for the sink to get your teeth brushed! Opting for lever taps are another good option for children as they can operate them independently. If you don't have the space for two basins then try to get as big a basin as you can fit, as you are guaranteed to have times when several family members are gathering around the basin all at once jostling for space.
MAKING YOUR BATHROOM CHILD FRIENDLY
Soft close toilet seats have become more common in recent years and are great for children as you don't have to worry about the seat smashing down on little fingers.
Non-slip tiles are a must if you want to minimise accidental falls but remember that are not a replacement for adult supervision.
A thermostatic shower will reduce the risk of scalding and you can even find temperature regulators that can be fitted to taps.
Shower screens with curved edges means no nasty scraps or scratches.
Having a liquid soap dispenser is more practical than a slippery bar of soap for smaller children.
Think about the height of your bath as those with higher sides can be trickier to lift babies/small children out of, especially when they're dripping wet.
Storage baskets for their own personal toiletries or bath toys are a neat idea - you could even try colour coding them for each family member and keep them on open shelves within easy reach.
A step stool is a cheap and simple way to assist the smallest members of your household. They help them reach things and prevent them from resorting to climbing onto unsafe surfaces.
Floor to ceiling tiling is the smart move to prevent mould/damp growing as we all know how messy children can get with their splashing, effortlessly managing to soak the entire bathroom! It will also help with cleaning and ensuring the room is lower maintenance as your walls will be protected from scratches, dents and bubbles that can appear on painted plaster walls.