Family Bathroom Buying Guide

Where to start

When you’re considering a bathroom redesign with a family in mind, there are a few extra considerations to take into account. With some smart choices you can ensure your bathroom doubles as both a sanctuary for you, (should you ever get a moment to yourself!) and as a safe practical place for kids to wash and get ready for their day.

Some bathroom considerations remain universal so please also read the appropriate related buying guides for bathroom products alongside this family bathrooms buying guide.

Ensuring that the bathroom works for you and your children is undoubtedly a challenge so we’ve outlined a few things for you to consider. The needs vary based on the age of your children so in some cases you may be able to dismiss certain considerations if you have older children.

Outlined in this guide are the areas to think through in order to ensure your bathroom fits your family’s needs.   There are a few basics to think about before you get started.

• Are you happy with the current layout of your bathroom?

Redesigning a bathroom layout can be a bit like a game of Tetris as you plan items in a space to maximise the room’s potential while minimising any potential wasted space.   You’ll need to know where your toilet will be positioned as this will be dictated by the location of the soil pipe.   Once located, you can plan the rest of your bathroom to fit around this.

Try drawing your bathroom layout on paper to aid the planning process and make sure you allow for windows, doors, ceiling height, skirting boards, etc.

If you have young children, then you’ll probably want to have space at the side of the bath so you can lift them in and out easily and have room to kneel.   Perhaps your current layout only allows for a compact basin and you’d benefit for having a larger one so that more than one child can brush their teeth at once.   Shower baths are the most space friendly option and will meet the needs of you and your children as they grow older.

• Have you thought about how you can make your bathroom a safer place?

There are some safety considerations that may not immediately spring to mind but are important.  

For example, you’ll want to give your little ones the best chance of not slipping over so your floor tiles need to be carefully selected.   Similarly, you may also want to consider anti-slip bases to your shower or shower bath.

When selecting your toilet, it’s worth remembering that the heavier toilet seats can trap little fingers (not to mention the infuriating loud bang of the seat crashing down!).   You’ll want to think about both the material your toilet seat and toilet cover are made of, as well as looking into soft-close toilet seat options.   The soft-close options mean that your seat and cover fall as if in slow motion, ensuring plenty of time to remove fingers from the firing line or a far softer impact should they get in the way.

You may also want to consider a toilet seat lock to ensure that your toddlers don’t try to peer inside, or worse still, even get inside!   Door locks are also important to position correctly when you have children who will appear to be keen to lock themselves inside your bathroom.

Controlling water heat is also something you need to think about as you can buy thermostatic and anti-scald options so that your children can’t accidentally burn themselves.   In the same vein, heated towel rails can get very hot to the touch so you may want to consider the height of these.

If you’re considering ceramic products, ensure they are round edged to avoid any painful edges for kids to fall against.   And when it comes to any glass products, such as bath screens, always make sure that you select safety glass.

Finally, if you want to store medicines or cleaning products like bleach in the bathroom you’ll need to think about locks or putting everything well out of the reach of smaller children.

• Have you got enough storage?

There are an abundance of storage needs when it comes to catering for the whole family.   There’s the obvious such as ensuring that there are enough clean towels and, if your spare towels need to be stored in the bathroom, storing other towels for future use.

You’ll also probably want to store your baby bath and/or bath slip mat somewhere in your bathroom.

Once you get on to toilet training, you’ll want to store your potty in the bathroom at times and then possibly move on to storing a removable stepped toilet seat when your child is not using it.   Additionally, when your child starts to use the toilet and basin, they’re likely to need a step stool that is best positioned out of the way when not in use.

Equally, there are a multitude of additional items that you’ll need to put somewhere in the bathroom.   You’ll have extra toothbrushes, shampoo, flannels etc.   And if you have younger children you could well end up with enough bath toys to fill the bath itself.

Your Options

Bathing for families

When you first start bathing your child you’ll probably use a baby bath that can often fit into either the basin or bath.   Once you’ve moved to bathing your child in the bath, you may want to consider non-slip mats if one isn’t already included.   When it comes to bathing your child or children, you’ll want as much room as possible so if you are going for a bath screen, consider either one that hinges both ways or one that folds.

When selecting your bath, you’ll also want to consider thermostatic mixer taps which allow you to set the temperature prior to running the bath and avoid any risk of your child or children being scalded by very hot water.   Overflows will reduce the risk of flooding if your child gets distracted and leaves the bath running.   Alternatively, you could get a product installed such as Novaflow which shuts off the water supply to taps once the water level reaches the overflow.

Straight baths are a great choice for smaller children.   You can choose single ended with the taps at one end or double ended with taps in the middle.   If you go for a shower bath you’ll probably benefit from a shower with a flexible hose so that you can hose your child down once they’ve got themselves covered in mud!

If you’re going to be bathing more than one child at once you might want to opt for a double ended bath like the Webster as they’re often larger than single ended baths so you’ll have more room.   You’ll have the option to alter this product into a shower bath further down the line by either adding a bath screen or a shower curtain.  

Shower curtains might be a safer solution with younger children rather than a glass screen.   As well as the obvious risk of the glass smashing, there is also the risk of trapping small fingers as the screen swings one way or the other.

Older children and teenagers often prefer showers and if you’ve got a busy household they’re a must have.   A shower bath, either P shaped (with a curved area at the taps end) or L shaped (with a cubed area at the Shower end) will be a great, versatile addition to your bathroom.   They’re great if you don’t have a lot of space to accommodate a separate bath and shower.  

Showers for families

The same non-slip mat considerations apply for your shower as with a bath.   And you’ll find that a thermostatic mixer that allows you to set the temperature of your shower taps will make life a little easier for you and your kids.

The 8 series range are robust shower enclosure options & magnetic close shower doors can help minimise puddles and splashes. If space is tight, you’ll need to carefully consider the best door type and shape to fit.

If you’re just looking for a shower, you really want to choose a shower set with a rail kit. Therefore, you can adjust the height of the shower so it’s suitable for multiple ages and heights.

All of our shower mixers are thermostatic & anti scald so you can set the temperature safe in the knowledge that it won’t change if a tap is turned on elsewhere in your home.

Family Toilets

As mentioned earlier in the guide, if you have young children then a soft close toilet seat is a practical choice. Consider a material such as plastic too so it’s easier to lift. They’re also cheaper to replace and easier to clean.   Additionally, think about rounded styles rather than squarer more painful edges.

If you have a toddler who may get into the bathroom, a toilet seat lock can give you piece of mind, knowing that your child can’t get themselves into trouble.   When you are going through toilet training, for young boys a toilet sticker may come in handy to help your son to aim for the right spot and make toilet training fun!

Back to Wall or Close Coupled toilets are great durable options for a family bathroom and we recommend one of these in porcelain so they’re easier to clean. Consider a dual flush option also to conserve the environment and save costs.

If you have a small family bathroom, then you should look at getting a corner toilet like the Metro Compact Toilet. This modern, stylish toilet includes a soft close seat and has been specially designed to fit in a corner.

Family Sinks

In busy households, a large sink like the Metro Curve Pedestal Basin allows more than one person to brush their teeth at once.   You could even consider getting a double basin (two basins fitted to a counter top) to help speed things up if your mornings are on the more hectic side.   Remember that, where possible, a round edged product will avoid any painful edges for children to fall against.

You’ll also want to consider thermostatic taps so that water temperature never gets too hot.

Wall hung sinks, like wall hung toilets, can be hung at a height of your choosing.   However, it’s not that easy to change the height at a later date and most families with young children have a plastic step stool that the children can use to give them a boost so there’s no need to have the sink too low (after all they’ll grow!).   If you’re having a mirror cabinet above your sink, make sure you don’t fix it too high so your kids can use it too, or that you consider other mirrors that the kids can use too.

With a vanity unit, you can combine a storage cupboard with a sink – a great way of utilising space and it gives you room to store away clutter. We have a wide range for you to choose from, including the stunning Nash Black 580 Freestanding Vanity with Sink. If you have teenagers, then you’ll definitely appreciate the two deep drawers and shelf for towels.

Storage solutions for families

When it comes to storage, you need to consider easy accessible options for all family members and if you have young children, storage that keeps other harmful things like cleaning products out of reach.    If you can keep as many of the child-related products tucked away it makes for a more relaxing adult space, assuming of course that you ever get to enjoy even a moment alone in the toilet or bathroom.

Mirrored cabinets are a great way of storing toothbrushes, toothpaste and other items you need close to hand when using your basin. It’s a good idea to put items you want your children to be able to reach on the bottom shelf so they don’t have to overstretch. The rectangular Anderson cabinet has three handy open shelves and two closed shelves so everyone in your family will have the room they need. If you’re a fun bathroom storage addition, then you should check out the oval Burges cabinet which looks like it’s just a mirror with a waved border design but opens to reveal a hidden cabinet.

A freestanding unit like the Salisbury Ivory 390 Freestanding Tall Storage Unit is a great option for maximum towel storage. Our Essential laundry storage unit is also a neat and effective way of storing your bathroom textile essentials.

The Thorpe range offers great, cost effective storage solutions and is available in a white gloss finish which makes it easier to clean.

If you want help choosing the right storage solution for your family, please ring 01525 300830 to speak to a member of our friendly sales team who can make personal recommendations if you have your measurements to hand.

Radiators/heated towel rails for families

When it comes to choosing a radiator and/or a heated towel rail for your bathroom then you have a number of different options open to you. All of our towel rails can be solely electric if you fit elements and valves or they can be connected via your central heating system.

The Hawksmoor curved towel rail is perfect if you want to have toasty towels close to hand when you step out of your bath but if you’re looking to heat your whole room then you’d be better opting for a stainless steel radiator like the Pearce. Some towel rails will heat a small bathroom, but you’ll need to check what BTU (British Thermal Unit) you require first by using a BTU calculator.

The smallest BTU is 560 for the Griffin Heated Towel and the biggest BTU is 8,697 for the Dino radiator.   The BTU gives you an idea of the heat output as the higher the BTU, the higher the heat output.   You can use the drop down on the radiator search page to select a radiator with the right BTU.  

You’ll also be in a good position to assess the heat output of towel rails based on their listed BTU.   If you have young children, then remember to consider the height at which you fix your towel rail to your wall as the rails can get very hot to the touch for inquisitive small children.

Good to know: Try to not overload your towel rail with towels if you can help it (not always easy, especially if you have teenagers!). If you have a big family and want everyone’s towels to be warmed at the same time, opt for a large towel rail like the Janssen Designer or the Mylne Stainless Steel Heated Towel Rail.

What else?

As well as all the considerations above, there’s still more for you to think about before you’re finished.  

When you’re thinking about a mirror, you may want to consider what height its best placed at or, if you have the space for one, consider a full length mirror so that your little ones aren’t left on tip toes on top of a step stool trying to see themselves over the basin.

And your door lock, assuming that you’ll have one, is also something that you want to get positioned correctly.   Many parents find that having a lock fitted a little higher than the door handle means that children are unable to reach it until they understand the consequences of locking themselves in the bathroom!

You now have all the knowledge you need to update your family bathroom and create something really special.   Make sure you check out our range of bathroom suites if you’re planning to change your entire bathroom as it works out as the most cost effective solution rather than buying products individually.

Happy planning!

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