Designing the Perfect Kids’ Bathroom

As a child, I was fortunate enough to have my own bathroom (actually, it was a Jack and Jill bathroom that I shared with the guest bedroom, but we only had guests for a handful of days out of the year). My bathroom was pink, which my parents thought was an appropriate color for a girl’s bathroom, although pink has never been one of my favorite colors. It was a very pretty but very adult-looking bathroom.

Looking back, I wonder if my parents made the right decision. How should a kids’ bathroom look? Should it reflect their style and personality? And, if it actually looks like a kids’ bathroom, how will this affect resale value? I asked some of the people known for designing bathrooms and selling homes to provide insight on this topic.

Here’s what you need to know.

Make it fun, yet practical

A colorful kids’ bathroom in Brookline, MA. Image courtesy of Eleven Interiors.

The bathroom in the photo above is shared by twin sisters, according to Michael Ferzoco, Principal at Eleven Interiors in Boston, MA. “When designing this space, we incorporated each of their favorite colors and chose to have fun by painting the clawfoot tub a bold pink color,” he says. “The result is a playful and cheerful merge of the two sisters that highlights the personalities of both.”

Everything should also be kept easily accessible. “The bottom drawers of the vanity in this bathroom fold out into stools so the sink faucets are never out of reach.” He also says that incorporating a bathtub in a kids’ bathroom is always a good idea.

Ferzoco believes that a kids’ bathroom should be fun — but says it should also be a timeless bathroom that will grow with them. “Use accents that can easily be updated, like paint, mirrors, rugs and accessories, and don’t be afraid to go bold with those elements,” Ferzoco says.

Think through your — and your kids’ — needs

A height-appropriate kids’ bathroom in the Phoenix area. Image courtesy of AFT Construction.

The bathroom above was designed by AFT Construction in Scottsdale, AZ. The company’s president, Brad Leavitt, says you should always consider the age and height of the child.  “Depending on the size of the child, you can custom build the vanity so that they will not need a step stool,” he says. “You can also customize the toe kick under the sink with a pull-out step if you prefer the taller vanity.”  Undermount, wall mount, and drop-in sinks are popular choices for a kid’s bathroom.

Another view of the kids’ bathroom in Phoenix. Image courtesy of AFT Construction.

Leavitt says it’s also important to design the bathroom based on needs. “If the kids share a bathroom while they get ready for school, we design the vanity, mirror and sink separate from the shower and water closet,” he says. “This allows multiple children to be in the bathroom at the same time.”

A rustic kids’ bathroom on a Montana ranch. Image courtesy of Sanctuary Home Decor.

Karen Snyder at Sanctuary Home Decor designed an attic bunk room and bathroom for her kids. “My goal [for the bathroom] was to create a cohesive look with the rustic design of the bunk room and to make this space kid-friendly,” she explains. “The custom designed vanity was made from locally-sourced barn wood and features a vintage style sink with double faucets.”

Snyder also added other unique elements.”I chose rusted hardware on the doors and drawers and red accents to add a bit of a western flair,” she explains. “The built-in mirror with reclaimed wood frame finishes off the vanity wall and brings the whole look together.”

Consider the value of a kids’ bathroom

If you can’t have two sinks, consider two faucets. Image: Jupiter Images/Getty Images

So, how does a kids’ bathroom affect resale value? According to Jennifer Baldinger, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Scarsdale, NY, this is a place where you can have some fun and be creative, especially with color and tile choices. “The one feature I see buyers react to the most is having two sinks in a kids’ bathroom,” she says.

“There is no doubt it helps keep the fighting to a minimum when two or more kids share a bath, but it also keeps the space tidier.” Baldinger says Jack and Jill bathrooms are more common, and she agrees with Leavitt that double sinks and a separate toilet and shower area are trending in new builds.

Be sure to add touches of color. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

Katie Kurtz, Real Estate Agent at Engel & Völkers in Minneapolis, MN, believes that parents can get creative with kids’ bathrooms, but warns to keep them gender neutral. “For example, doing a bathroom all pink could turn off potential buyers that only have boys, and vice versa,” Kurtz warns. However, she says that neutral materials and decor geared toward kids are fine. “For example, white fish scale tiles are a lot of fun and can easily be paired with gender-specific decor based on kids in the family. Think mermaid decor for girls or sharks for boys.”

Remember that it will need to be cleaned

This Springfield, MO, kids’ bathroom has three sinks. Image courtesy of Nathan Taylor for Obelisk Home.

Newsflash: your kids are not going to keep their bathroom spotless, so you should design it with this in mind. “Kids are going to be messy, and whatever space you give them, they will cover it,” Nathan Taylor of Obelisk Home says. His advice? “Limit the surface area, make space for everything and make sure that everything is totally cleanable.” In the images above and below, you can see how Taylor designed a bathroom that fits these criteria.

Storage lockers help to keep the bathroom clean. Image courtesy of Nathan Taylor for Obelisk Home.

Taylor recommends tiling the walls to make fingerprints and dirt easier to clean. “The fewer painted surfaces, the better,” he says. “Make your life easier by putting in materials that are super durable.” Taylor warns against natural materials since they stain easily. “Use brushed materials as they don’t show all the specks from daily use.”

Make it durable and safe

Durable materials are essential. Image: Achim Sass/Getty Images

He also recommends using smooth hardware, since it provides fewer places for germs to settle. “Also, don’t use hardware with open ends since your kids’ clothes get caught easily on everything,” Thomas says. “And always use vessels with overflow drains.”

According to Ferzoco, another advantage of using durable surfaces is that it will keep the bathroom looking newer longer. “Also, make sure to use slip-resistant tile for the floors to prevent slips and falls — a textured porcelain tile works well,” Ferzoco says.

Don’t neglect high-end finishes. Image: phototropic/Shutterstock

Leavitt adds, “You should definitely install plumbing fixtures catered to high use.” The 2019 faucet trends can provide plenty of inspiration. “Quartz is one of our favorite finishes for children, and I also recommend darker grout on the tile floors.” Leavitt says he also likes to have a little fun with kids’ bathroom. “Try to add a whimsical or unique detail for the child.”

Look Good and Do Good with the New West Elm Atitlán Project Home Collection

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West Elm’s beautiful new home collection supports Guatemalan artisans — and the town in which they live. The retailer teamed up with designer Diego Olivero and the Pintando el Cambio Association (Paint the Change) to help paint the homes of the residents of the Santa Catarina Palopó community in Guatemala.

The community is located on the northeastern shore of Lake Atitlán. An influx of new residents has made sustaining growth through agriculture alone difficult.

A mother and child proudly stand in front of their freshly painted home. All images courtesy of West Elm.

Painting the homes in the traditional patterns and colors of the region gives the locals a sense of pride and ownership. Plus, it creates a tourist destination that could help with economic development.

According to West Elm, approximately 350 houses have been painted. They have a goal of also transforming another 200 houses.

A local artisan weaves one of the patterns for which the community is best known.

The new collection

Mirroring this project, West Elm is releasing a new line of graphic and colorful textiles inspired by the local Guatemalan artisans’ works. Diego Olivero designed the textiles and West Elm selected Philadelphia studio Roar + Rabbit to manufacture the collection.

The studio turned the designs into a limited collection of upholstered goods and items like rugs, tote bags, wall art and more. 50 percent of sales will go to the Pintando el Cambio Association to continue to support the community.

Here are some of our favorite pieces from the new West Elm Atitlán Project:

Vivid colors and embroidered textiles in unique patterns make the collection feel one-of-a-kind.