baby's feet in a bath tub with a floating fish toy

Guide to planning a family bathroom

A family using a bathroom will have very different requirements to one that is used by a single occupant. The main family bathroom has a lot to cope with and often has to cater a safe and relaxing environment for a range of ages, needs and abilities, while at the same time being guest-worthy. Dual sink vanities, separate toilet facilities and separate bath and shower setups are all ways to get around the daily chokepoint created by four or five people all jostling to do their hair at once. Young children and the elderly or physically impaired will also have different needs to think of. That is why if you are more than just one person who will be using the bathroom, consider these following factors so it can most efficiently serve its purpose to each of the family member.

  1. Sufficient storage is a priority: Avoid clutter in the bathroom by choosing a vanity unit for the basin with lots of storage space and soft-close doors, or open shelving. An illuminated mirror is useful and a sensor on/off switch offers easy control for all ages.
  2. Make it kid-friendly: The major concern with making a bathroom kid-friendly is safety. Keep potentially toxic items, dangerous appliances and wall outlets out of reach on purpose. At the same time they need to have easy access to the necessary items.Also consider adding some fun elements to the bathroom that will turn their bathroom time enjoyable.
  3. Plan it to be spacious: Family bathrooms often tend to be the smallest rooms in the home. This is a raw deal as this bathroom has many users including children and guests. Try making the family bathroom bigger removing an internal wall or popping out an additional external wall. The increased size will do wonders for the functionality and appeal of the bathroom.
  4. Prepare it for the morning rush: How about installing twin basins? Twin basins are not just useful in couples’ bathrooms- they also really help out on those busy morning rushes in family bathrooms, allowing for two lots of teeth to be brushed or two dirty faces to be washed. Twin showers and double-ended baths come in useful, too.
  5. Luxury and practicality: Family bathrooms are practical first — used primarily by children, they should be safe, spacious and ideally incorporate lots of storage to help keep clutter to a minimum. However, utilising modern, luxurious elements, such as flush (or almost flush) shower trays and feature lighting helps to make it presentable to guests and potential buyers, too.
  6. Analyse the Ergonomics: Ergonomics refers to the interaction between human movement and the surrounding environment. Evaluating the Ergonomics of the family bathroom will ensure that people use the least amount of effort to perform each task.

A few tips:

  1. Toddler friendly door handle: A shower that’s as easy for a pregnant mom to use as it is for a retiree. It’s all possible with universal design. The idea of universal design is to install features that are useful at any age, and especially as you get older, like a combination towel/assist bar or a chair-height toilet.
  2. Rethink the bathtub: Consider a large shower instead of bathtub. A large shower with seating, a footrest and state-of-the-art fixtures is both luxurious and safe. Consider skipping the big bathtub for a curbless shower with either a built-in bench or separate shower seat.
  3. Shower design: Avoid a tight shower enclosure in a family bathroom — far better to have either a wetroom-style set-up, or a single screen to divide the showering area. And remember, while fixed overhead showers look great, including an additional handheld shower makes for easier hosing down of children.
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