Designing a bathroom that is both safe and fun for kids can be a challenge. As parents, we want to encourage independence in our children while also keeping them protected. With some thoughtful planning and child-centric design, it is possible to create a bathroom space kids will enjoy using on their own. In this article, we will explore ideas for kid-friendly bathrooms, from layout and fixtures to finishes and accessories.
Choosing the Right Location
One of the first decisions in designing a kid’s bathroom is choosing the location. Some key factors to consider include:
- Proximity – Ideally, the bathroom should be near the child’s bedroom for easy access. This is especially important for younger kids.
- Visibility – It’s safer if adults can easily monitor the bathroom. Avoid locating it at the end of a long hallway or behind closed doors.
- Access – Make sure the route to the bathroom is obstruction-free. Blocking the path with furniture or accessories can cause safety issues.
- Shared Use – If siblings will share the bathroom, make sure it is centrally located. Allow enough space for multiple users.
Ideally, younger children should have a bathroom connected directly to their bedroom if possible. For shared kid’s bathrooms, a central hallway location adjacent to all bedrooms works best.
Smart Layout and Design
The layout and design of a kid’s bathroom requires some special considerations. Safety and ease of use should drive all design decisions.
While it’s tempting to squeeze kid’s bathrooms into small spaces, additional square footage can make the space more functional. Here are some minimum sizes to follow:
- Ages 2-4: 20 sq ft
- Ages 5-7: 25 sq ft
- Ages 8-10: 30 sq ft
This allows room for multiple users and easier supervision. Built-in storage can help maximize smaller spaces.
Clear Lines of Sight
The bathroom layout should allow adults to easily monitor children from the doorway. Place toilets and sinks visible from the entrance without visual barriers. Avoid layouts with separate toilet stalls or areas around corners.
An open concept bathroom without doors and walls is ideal for young kids. This allows easy monitoring and quick access in case of emergencies. If privacy is needed, consider a curtain instead of a door.
For shared bathrooms, multiple sinks allow more than one child to use the space at the same time. This saves time and avoids conflicts.
Design the space from a child’s perspective. Mount sinks and mirrors at a lower height to allow easy access. Floor mounted toilets are easier for younger kids to use independently.
Kids are prone to slips and falls. Select non-slip flooring and use grip strips in the tub/shower. Rugs should be rubber-backed with non-slip pads.
Steamy bathrooms can encourage mold growth. Install a ventilation fan and humidity-sensing exhaust fan. Also crack windows during and after baths.
Provide storage kids can easily access themselves. Install cabinets and shelving at appropriate heights. Use open shelves rather than closed cabinets.
Choosing Safe, Durable Plumbing Fixtures
Plumbing fixtures designed specifically for children’s use can help prevent injuries and minimize damage. Consider these kid-friendly options:
- Floor-mounted toilets remove the risk of falling from a step stool. Select a height of 11-12 inches from the floor to the seat.
- Smaller elongated toilet seats provide a more comfortable fit for kids. Look for seats with grip handles to help stabilize kids.
- Slow-close lids and seats prevent pinched fingers. Opt for lids with gentle-closing hinges.
- Wall-hung sinks at a height of 22-26 inches allow kids to easily reach. Add a step stool for shorter kids.
- Select a small-profile pedestal sink if floor space is limited. Avoid elaborate cabinetry.
- Choose solid surface or porcelain sinks over fragile materials like glass that can break. Sturdy materials hold up better to rough kids.
- Look for rounded corners and edges for safety. Undermount sinks provide a smooth transition from counter to sink.
- Faucets should have single-level handles for easy use. Gooseneck spouts give smaller kids better access.
Bathtubs and Showers
- Slip-resistant surfaces are a must for tubs and shower floors. Textured bottoms provide grip.
- Hand-held shower heads with adjustable mounts accommodate kids as they grow. Sliding glass doors contain less water than curtains.
- Built-in tubs surrounded by three walls feel less confining to kids. Add a non-slip step or stairs into the tub.
- thermostat valves prevent accidental scalding. Limit max temperature to 120°F.
Selecting Durable, Low-Maintenance Finishes
The surfaces and finishes in a kid’s bathroom take a lot of abuse. Select durable, easy-to-clean options:
- Porcelain, ceramic, and natural stone tiles stand up to heavy use. Textured tiles add traction. Use grout-resistant sealants.
- Sheet vinyl resists stains and scratches better than tile. Seamless installation is easy to clean.
- Solid hardwoods like maple or engineered wood with polyurethane are water-resistant options.
- Glass mat gypsum boards are mold-resistant for humid baths.
- Ceramic tile or natural stone create a water-barrier on wet walls. Use dark grout – white shows dirt.
- Semigloss and high gloss paints allow walls to be scrubbed clean. Use mold-resistant paint.
- Cast polymers like Corian are super durable and won’t chip or stain. No grout to harbor mildew.
- Quartz or granite are great choices if you prefer stone. Avoid porous marble.
- Laminate is budget-friendly but can peel around sinks. Opt for water-resistant finishes.
Cabinets and Drawers
- Thermofoil and molded composites resist swelling and warping from moisture.
- Plastic laminate cabinets are highly water-resistant and affordable.
- Painted wood cabinets work if properly sealed and finished. Use satin or semi-gloss paints for washability.
Smart Storage for a Kid’s Bathroom
Creating accessible, organized storage is key to keeping the bathroom tidy. Here are some space-saving ideas:
Open shelves allow kids to easily access essentials. Use sturdy metal brackets with wood, metal, or glass shelves. Keep top shelves low enough for kids to reach.
Freestanding Storage Units
Multi-tier carts, standing cabinets, and towel ladder racks provide storage without taking up floor space or drilling into walls. Opt for units with wheels for easy portability.
Modular Storage Cubbies
Square fabric bins, crates, or cubbies can be stacked, hung on walls, or lined up on shelves. Labels and photos aid organization. Storage should be visible, not hidden behind doors.
Maximize unused space under sinks with pull-out trays and storage bins designed for plumbing. Keep cleaning supplies up high or use child locks.
Recessed or surface-mount cabinets provide concealed storage space. Use for private items or potentially dangerous products, and install child safety locks.
Drawers Built into Vanities
Including drawers in vanity bases utilizes the empty space below countertops. Use to store toilet paper, hair accessories, soap, and other necessities. Add child safety clips to prevent tipping.
With built-ins and freestanding storage options tailored to kids’ needs, it’s easy to keep the bathroom tidy. Proper organization promotes independence in using the space appropriately.
Choosing Lighting for Safety and Function
Proper bathroom lighting serves both a functional and aesthetic purpose. Lighting design should enhance safety and visibility:
Focus bright light where it’s needed most. Install sconces next to mirrors and under-cabinet strip lighting at sinks. Wall mounted lights flanking the mirror provide even illumination for grooming.
Soft, diffuse overhead lights illuminate the whole room. Flush mount LED discs or covered strips create a glow that prevents harsh shadows. Dimmer switches allow adjustable brightness.
Plug-in night lights with sensors guide overnight trips to the bathroom. Install nightlights along the pathway and near the toilet and sink.
Windows boost natural sunlight. Skylights or solar tubes also fill the space with brightness. Sheer shades maintain privacy while allowing light through.
By layering different lighting types, the bathroom can be brightly lit for tasks while avoiding an overly harsh, sterile feel.
Adding Pops of Color and Pattern
While safe and durable finishes are a priority, don’t overlook opportunities to liven up the space with pops of color and whimsical accents:
Paint or Wallpaper Accent Walls
Paint one wall in a bold, saturated hue or choose a colorful removable wallpaper. Geometric prints and nature motifs work well. Avoid overstimulating patterns.
Inexpensive shower curtains allow you to refresh the look easily. Opt for vivid colors or prints like animals and maps based on your child’s interests. Use stain-resistant, washable fabrics.
Bath Rugs and Mats
Jazz up essential bathroom rugs and mats with lively colors and prints. Choose rubber-backed and anti-slip options in organic shapes or character themes.
Towels and Accessories
Monogrammed or personalized kid’s towels and coordinated accessories like toothbrush holders, soap pumps, and wastebaskets let kids feel a sense of ownership.
Framed Art and Prints
Surround kids with uplifting images they can relate to. Frame favorite picture book or comic pages. Opt for smooth, easy-to-clean glass.
With personalized touches and a bit of color, the bathroom transforms from utilitarian into a fun, welcoming space for kids.
Choosing Durable, Playful Fixtures and Textiles
Every choice for a kid’s bathroom should balance safety with whimsy. Seek out bathroom fixtures and textiles designed to handle rugged kid activities.
A brightly colored toilet in a fun shape adds cheer.Slow-close seats in primary colors or frog and turtle designs reduce slammed lids.
An oval-shaped vessel sink provides a smoother, kid-friendly profile. Select colorful solid surface sink materials that won’t chip.
Faucets with easy-grip handles make it simpler for small hands to turn the water on and off. Give kids control with faucets they can operate themselves.
Showerheads that attach to the end of hoses allow adjustable positions for kids of different heights. Choose fun animal shapes and bright colors.
Rubber-backed bath mats come in lively tropical fish, duck, turtle, and other animal shapes kids love. They’re also slip-resistant.
Hooded towels in animal designs, with sports team logos, or colorful patterns make bath time more fun. Opt for soft, absorbent cotton.
A kid-sized trash can helps with cleanup. Select a fun shape with a swinging flap lid that’s easy to open. Include reusable liners.
With fixtures and accessories kids adore, you can encourage positive bathroom habits from a young age.
Choosing Bathroom Safety Products
A kid-friendly bathroom requires strategic use of safety products to prevent accidents and injuries. Smart choices include:
Non-Slip Safety Strips and Mats
Apply adhesive safety strips to the tub/shower floor for traction. Use rubber-backed bath mats on the floor. Install grab rails near baths and toilets.
Mirrors that resist fogging maintain visibility while showering or bathing, reducing slips and falls. New coatings can keep mirrors fog-free.
Toilet Seat Locks
Locks secure the toilet seat in place while allowing it to still lift up. This prevents kids from getting fingers pinched from seats slamming down.
Faucet Covers and Door Knob Covers
Plastic covers over faucets and doorknobs prevent injuries from banged heads. Opt for soft, cushioned covers over hard plastic.
Clear corner guards allow free-moving kids to bump into countertop corners safely. Select self-adhesive options for easy installation and removal.
Plastic outlet caps prevent electrocution from curious kids probing outlets with objects. Find child-resistant, tamper-proof covers.
With thoughtful precautions, you can create a safer space and still give kids independence. Monitor product ages and weight limits to ensure appropriateness.
Easy-Clean Materials for Simple Maintenance
Kid’s bathrooms require vigilance to keep clean and prevent build up of dirt and grime in grout lines and crevices. Choose surfaces that simplify upkeep:
Non-Porous Solid Surface Materials
Quartz, solid surface, and natural stone materials resist staining, won’t chip or scratch, and have minimal grout lines. This reduces areas where mold and mildew can grow.
Mold-Resistant Drywall and Paint
Greenboard drywall with moisture-barrier cores and mildew-resistant paint prevent mold growth in humid bathrooms. Use semi-gloss sheens for scrubbability.
Grout Sealants and Cleaners
Seal grout lines with long-lasting sealants that prevent absorption of spills and stains. Regularly use grout cleaners designed to penetrate and sanitize.
Advantaged Porcelain Tile
New porcelain tiles have advantages like Shield Technology that allows spills to roll off and inhibit stain absorption into the tile. This simplifies cleaning.
Corner-Less Shower Designs
Curbless showers with linear trench drains eliminate corners where soap scum and mildew can collect. Large-format tile minimizes grout strains.
Handheld steam cleaners sanitize surfaces and dislodge grime in crevices and grout lines. Steam cleaning allows chemical-free deep cleaning.
With easy-clean materials and rigorous maintenance, kids’ bathrooms can stay fresh and hygienic.
Creative Shared Kids’ Bathroom Solutions
For families with multiple children sharing a bathroom, additional planning helps the space accommodate different ages and stages smoothly.
Distinct Storage Areas
Give each child their own caddy, cabinet, or set of shelves. This prevents arguments over ownership and helps maintain organization.
Staggered Use Schedules
Post schedules outlining each child’s allotted time slots for using the bathroom. This avoids squabbles over waiting turns.
Space for Privatized Use
Install a curtained changing nook for privacy while dressing. Allow older kids to keep private toiletry items in their bedroom.
Choosing sinks, mirrors, toilets, and accessories with adjustable heights accommodates children as they grow.
Clear Space Definition
If possible, zone off areas for younger kids, like installing a separate tub with smaller toilet and sink at child height. Use low cabinets or shelves to divide.
Involve each child in selecting themed accessories, towels, shower curtains, and art for their designated storage area or zone.
With some deliberate planning, siblings can harmoniously share a kid-friendly bathroom. Design choices should provide clear definition of age-appropriate spaces.
Ideas for Storage Organization Systems
Creating intuitive organization systems is key to maintaining order in a children’s bathroom. Here are helpful strategies to try:
Assign Specific Places for Items
Ensure every item has a designated storage spot. Bins, baskets, and caddies for each type of product helps kids put items away correctly.
Use Clear Containers
Transparent bins, buckets, and boxes allow kids to easily see contents. Labeling further aids identification and returning objects to proper places.
Install Shelves for Daily Essentials
Mount shelves at kid height near sinks to store items used frequently, like toothbrushes, soaps, hairbrushes, and towels.
Limit Clutter-Causing Items
Rotating toys seasonally prevents overload. Store bulky bath toys elsewhere. Only keep one or two essential items out at a time.
Use Hanging Storage
Install hanging fabric bins on the backs of doors to corral items off countertops. Durable shower caddies hold shampoos and accessories.
Design At Easy-to-Reach Heights
Place frequently-used items on lower shelves and hooks. Upper cabinets can hold cleaning products or infrequently used items only parents access.
Consistency and accessibility are key for kids learning to keep bathrooms tidy. Adapting systems as kids grow encourages increasing responsibility.
Teaching Kids Bathroom Safety
A kid-friendly bathroom design provides a safe space for children, but active adult supervision is still essential. Here are some key tips to teach:
Show proper hand washing technique. Set rules for washing hands after using the bathroom and before meals. Provide step stools for sink access.
Proper Use of Fixtures
Demonstrate correct use of toilets, sinks, tubs and other features. Explain why rough handling can cause damage. Do not allow standing on counters or in sinks.
Respect for Privacy
Knocking and seeking permission before entering helps even young kids understand privacy. Provide lessons on respecting others’ personal space.
Point out potential dangers like outlets, slippery surfaces, and bathroom chemicals. Set clear rules about what areas or items are off-limits without supervision.
Younger children may need help undressing, wiping, brushing teeth,