By Mark Noonan Plumbing Mart President
Families are never static, and the same should be said for your family bathroom. It is going to need to grow as your children grow, and through clever design this can easily be achieved.
It is easy to get ahead of yourself when designing a bathroom for the kids. You may feel compelled to install all kid-sized bathroom products and cover the room with playful colours. But unless you are planning on having young children around for many more years, this is likely not the best route. Instead, start simple and focus on functionality. Add in the special touches that make this bathroom perfect for your kids. By doing this you can maintain the resale value as well as make the room comfortable for your little ones.
Start off by choosing a neutral colour palette as your base. From here, you can add in accessories for punches of colour without overhauling the whole room. Accessories like bathmats, towels and shower curtains are easily replaceable as your child’s taste grows, as well as inexpensive.
Next, when considering bathroom appliances, it may seem like a great idea to install toilets and vanities that are the perfect height for your pint-sized little one. But if you choose to install these features, you will be selling yourself short in the long run (excuse the pun). You need to remember that your little ones won’t be little for long. Also, installing child-sized pieces can negatively affect the resale value of your home. A more practical choice would be to install a standard-height toilet (as opposed to comfort height, which may be too tall for the child). Second, a floating vanity is an excellent option. The height is comfortable for adults and older children, and a sturdy stool can easily be stored underneath and slid out for smaller kid’s use.
The littlest ones in the family often have the biggest needs – with help from teeth brushing to bathing. By making sure pieces are of standard height, with add-ins like stools for the kids, parents will be comfortable helping out. The same goes for bathing. Forego the shower in place of a bathtub with a stubbed-out shower. Choose fixtures that offer bathing choices for all ages. Many designers select a bath enclosure with a shower bar to hold an adjustable showerhead and handshower. The showerhead can be repositioned to suit the needs of children, teens or guests. The handheld sprayer comes in handy when bathing tiny tots — or cleaning the tub and shower stall. Parents are often kneeling and sitting around the tub to help children bathe, so make sure there is enough room to comfortably move around.
Fixtures for the sink can be kid-friendly as well. Choose high quality — something that can withstand the heavy and sometime rough usage from the kids and maintain its beauty for the life of the bathroom. Newer designs also offer touchless features so kids do not need to struggle with knobs, timed features so the tap is not accidently left on, and pre-set temperature limits to avoid burns.
When it is bath time, kids tend to splash around. This can’t be avoided, so why not design for it in your renovation? Make sure the wall and floor surfaces can easily be wiped down and cleaned. Choose tile, laminate, stone surfaces or specialty paint that are both good-looking and robust to what your kids can throw at them (literally). Along with this, it is important to consider your kid’s safety, so choose flooring that is slip-resistant or textured. Material such as rubber, linoleum, cork and vinyl are all great options, and unlike tile, offer a softer landing should anyone happen to slip and fall.
The surfaces in your kid’s bathroom also need to be durable. This is especially important for countertops. Choose something that is scratch and stain resistant, yet still looks beautiful. Granite countertops are a fantastic option, and can withstand the toughest treatment from the kids. Quartz is another viable option that comes at a smaller price-tag.
Storage is also important when there are kids in the bathroom. With toys, special bath soaps and shampoos, and towels for everyone, the family bathroom can become cluttered very quickly. Instead of letting this happen, be smart with storage solutions. Make sure there is enough shelving for everyone to store their belongings. Consider having baskets for each kid to store their bath toys so everyone feels like they have their own special space. Install towel hooks and racks at both adult and kid heights. Keeping this shared space organized keeps it functional for the entire family.
So start simple. Keep the space functional. Add in those special touches to turn your bathroom into a kid-friendly space. And, most importantly, be creative.