Bathroom Planning: 11 Tips for Creating a Stylish Children’s Bathroom
Whether you’re modifying the family bathroom or giving kids their own room, here’s how to create a safe, stylish space all ages will love
Professional advice from:
Diana Greenhalgh of My Bespoke Room
Katie Levell of Stowed
Lee Thornley of Bert & May
Expert opinion is divided when it comes to choosing taps for your little ones. ‘One handle is much easier to operate than two,’ says Katie Levell of Stowed, ‘so I tend to recommend a single-lever mixer tap for the hand basin. It prevents scalding and it’s easier to find the right temperature.’
Always be sure to monitor little ones while they use taps.
‘Check out the shape of the actual bath base, as they all differ,’ advises Katie. ‘Try to maximise the sitting space for multiple bodies and lessen slip potential by looking for straight-sided baths, not sloping ones.’
‘Choose a bath with a non-slip base, as this eliminates the need for a mat that could get mouldy and make bath cleaning more of a chore,’ says Lee Thornley of Bert & May, which recently launched an interior design arm.
Look for other safety options, too. ‘A bath with handles means children can easily get themselves out as they have something sturdy to hold on to,’ Lee advises.
‘If you have the right plumbing,’ says Katie, ‘install a double-ended tub [as seen in this cheery bathroom] where the taps are in the middle of the long side rather than at one end. This also helps with optimum seating and prevents squabbles about the best position.’
If there’s space, a bath with a ledge will also give you a place to sit while you’re supervising young children in the water.
Encourage hand-washing by making sure everyone can reach the basin. ‘A little stool to stand on can make all the difference, and it’s useful elsewhere in the bathroom, too,’ suggests Katie.
Again, think through the safety implications when choosing your basin. ‘A wall-hung basin can look stunning, but be careful it’s not used for swinging or leaning on: these things are heavy, and even with the best installation can be dangerous if misused.’
‘Any parenting blog will tell you that getting small boys to perfect their aim can be a mammoth quest,’ says Katie. ‘Minimise your pain by choosing a toilet that has as few nooks and crannies as possible and lots of sleek, easy to wipe down surfaces.’ A removable seat is a good idea, as is one with a soft-close mechanism, so little fingers don’t get trapped.
‘Think about a dual flush system to save water, especially if you’re likely to be potty training, as you could spend a lot of time having to flush the loo,’ says Lee. ‘Have a little stool they can learn to use to get themselves on and off without your help.’
While baths are best for babies, children grow up fast, so if you have plenty of space, install a separate shower.
‘I’d recommend a walk-in design. Hard-to-access cubicles and small children are a nerve-racking mix,’ advises Katie. ‘Additionally, if you can install the shower taps away from the flow of water – outside the cubicle or bath space – that will make the process infinitely less fiddly and prevent the daily soaking of parental sleeves and watches.’
A walk-in shower with a shower tray set flush to the floor is best, because it reduces the risk of tripping. ‘Add a fixed, toughened-glass screen, which makes for easier cleaning than a shower cubicle,’ says Lee.
If you don’t have space for a separate shower and bath, a shower over the bath is a great compromise, particularly when creating a bathroom that will grow with your child, or one that works for adults and children alike.
Install a large, fully hinged glass door: this will give easy access to the whole bath when you need to assist small children bathing. It will also minimise spray when the shower is being used, meaning a dryer, safer, less slippery bathroom floor, especially if it’s tiled.
A more affordable option is a shower curtain to keep the rest of the room dry. Choose a colourful design that can easily be replaced as your child gets older.
Shower curtain or shower screen: discover which is best for your bathroom
When you plan a bathroom layout from scratch, you have the option to build in storage from the outset.
‘If you have any odd spaces to fill next to doors or under windowsills, measure out for shelving that can house storage boxes – either colourful plastic tubs or more natural-looking woven wicker baskets,’ says Katie.
‘Segregate bath toys, swim gear, shampoo and soap bottles into different boxes. Squeeze out toys after each bathtime, and look out for mould growing inside them, as this can be unhealthy for young lungs,’ she adds.
Many of us store cleaning products, medicines and other potentially dangerous items in the bathroom. Make sure you build in the right storage to be able to keep them out of reach or locked away or, if these aren’t options, store them in another room altogether.
Bathrooms contain other risks, too. ‘Towel rails can be hot! If you have them, make sure they are positioned out of your child’s reach until they’re old enough to understand not to touch,’ advises Diana. ‘Be aware of the type of lock on the bathroom door, too. Use something up high or that can be unlocked from the outside, so young children can’t lock themselves in.’
Go bright, but not branded. While cheerful, coloured tiles or flooring will be appropriate for a child even into their teenage years, their current Frozen obsession, for example, probably won’t last that long.
‘Keep the structural elements simple and add interest with the disposables,’ suggests Katie. ‘Avengers shower gel will eventually make way for expensive designer cleansing creams – a much easier and cheaper process than replacing the My Little Pony blind,’ she adds.
‘Finally, consider function: the day won’t end with bath time forever; your kids will eventually move towards taking showers instead,’ says Katie. ‘Will your current set-up cope with a succession of teenage beauty or grooming regimes?’
Make bath time more visually stimulating and interesting for children. ‘There are so many ways to create fun in a bathroom to do with frames, pictures and wall hangings,’ says Diana. ‘Think about typographic anecdotes, photos, bright pictures, items collected on a beach and framed… Have fun – why not?’
Explore more ideas on displaying art, prints and photographs
How have you made your bathroom more child-friendly? Share your tips in the Comments below.