Transforming your bathroom from adult-only spa to kid-friendly family wash room? Here’s how to get it right
1 Plan ahead
Don’t just redesign your bathroom with a baby in mind – think five to 10 years ahead and try to incorporate as many features as possible to make it practical, safe and good-looking both now and in the future.
2 Make it accessible
The more independent kids can be, the less lifting and tidying you will have to do. Can they get in and out of the bath or shower on their own? Low profile shower trays are better for kids, for example, than deeper ones, while bathrooms with tall-sided baths will need a kiddie-stool step to allow them to climb in and out (the stool step will be handy for helping them reach the basin, too). Is the flush on the loo easy for them to reach – and when they’re on it, have you supplied a toddler seat so they don’t fall down it? Are there hooks or towel rails at heights they can reach? They’re more likely to be tidy if you make it easy for them.
3 Is it safe?
While considering all these points, put safety at the top of your list. Could you include thermostatic controls to make the shower safer for them, for example? Or a thermostatic mixing valve to your bath’s hot tap to stop your child being scalded? A rubber mat on the bottom of the bath for active toddlers? A door lock that’s out of their reach is sensible, as is a soft-close toilet seat with a lock for over-zealous toddlers, while sharp corners and unforgiving materials should be avoided. And, obviously, never leave young children unattended in a bathroom, just in case – according to Mumsnet, 15% of children who drown in the UK do so in the bath…
4 Get plenty of suitable storage
Unless you want all the inevitable bath toys and kiddie paraphernalia on show, set aside some storage for it, such as a cupboard beneath an inset basin or even a bucket beside the bath. At the same time, invest in a wall-hung cabinet where you can store everything from medicines to cleaning products safely out of their reach. All the better if it’s lockable. When it comes to picking tumblers and toothbrush holders, avoid glass – choose resin or plastic instead.
5 Think: it will get wet
If you’ve got toddlers, they will splash ALOT, so your floor needs to be water-resistant and sealed to save the ceilings downstairs. Floor tiles are the most practical surface, but high gloss ones can become slippery, so choose non-slip versions to be on the safe side, and put underfloor heating beneath them to keep the bathroom floor snug for little ones who will lie on it to have a nappy change or toddlers who are mid-tantrum post-bath. A soft, fluffy bath mat is a must, too, to help keep your bathroom dry. Walls around the bath will suffer a similar fate, so don’t consider anything in that area but waterproof surfaces, such as wall tiles.