Problems & Solutions: 5 Ways to Make a Bathroom More Kid-Friendly

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Bathrooms are essential to the function of a family home, and whether they’re efficient and sufficient can make or break the time it takes for kids to get ready in the morning get clean at night. Unfortunately, they aren’t always the easiest rooms to tailor to children’s needs. Here are five common problems that parents face in kids’ bathroom design, along with some potential solutions.

Problem: The counters are too high.
Solution: Give them a boost.

The bathroom pictured above, designed by Tawna Allred and featured on House of Turquoise, incorporates an ingenious solution to this problem. This drawer is built to support up to 90 pounds so the kids can use it as a step stool. The wooden platform is removable, so once they’re older, the drawer can be used normally. This is obviously a custom solution, but if you’re considering changing up cabinetry anyway, it’s a really clever idea that doesn’t turn the space into a permanent “kid zone.”

A more economical version of this solution is, obviously, a step stool, like the ones in little Alexandra, Mateo, and Sabrina’s bathroom. A bright color such as this kelly green keeps the whole space feeling fun and fresh.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Problem: Kids need easy access to some items, but need to be kept away from others.
Use storage methods with different heights.
This bathroom featured on DesignPAB is extremely kid-specific, and though many people aren’t looking to fully renovate a bathroom just for a young child who will quickly grow up, it does offer a good tip. Drawers by the sink are low enough that a child could access them, but the storage that is high on the wall behind the toilet is well beyond the reach of prying fingers. It would make an ideal location for things like medicine, cleaning supplies, and gloopy substances that might prove too tempting for budding stylists and artists.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

For a less custom option, keep adult products on higher shelves, and, on the flip side, consider giving your child a small toybox, cabinet, or low-height storage option so that (s)he can access towels, toys, and other acceptable items. This bathroom from Martha Stewart wasn’t designed for kids per se, but the low towel bar and the basket (peeking in on the lefthand side of the image) are examples of how you can incorporate kid-friendly storage options.

(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

Problem: Sharing.
Solution: Give everyone their own space, and organize it well.
Whether you have multiple kids or your kids share a bathroom with you, it can be complicated and confusing to maintain shared-space diplomacy. This Pottery Barn bathroom is perfect for a home with multiple children. Each child has separate storage, separate towels, and a separate sink area. Boundaries are clear and there’s no question over who gets what. There’s even a mirror for each child, placed at just the right height.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

If you don’t have the space or resources for that kind of catalogue-worthy coordination, there are some basic organizational measures that you can take to make bathroom time run smoothly. For instance, A Girl And A Glue Gun’s toothbrush Mason jars keep each child’s gear separate. They are also easily accessible, meaning there are (hopefully) fewer squabbles over resources.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Problem: Kids can be rough, and bathrooms can get messy.
Solution: Choose durable, easy-to-clean materials.
Scratch-resistant countertops, washable walls with semi-gloss paint or beadboard, and hard-wearing tiles (perhaps with fewer grout-lines or filled with grout that’s not white) are all great choices for a child’s bathroom. If you have the option to select your finishes, choose materials that can handle any spills, dings, and stains that may arise. If your kid is covered in paint or mud, fine! If she spills glitter or knocks over baby oil, fine! Be ready for your bathroom to weather the worst. If you don’t have the luxury of choosing your finishes, try to select accessories and storage options that are as durable as possible. This bathroom by Dick Clark Architecture features hard-wearing materials, has easy-access storage, and is an excellent example of a solution to our final kids’ bathroom conundrum…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Problem: Kids grow up.
Solution: Add personality with replaceable elements.
Your child may be three, six, or ten now, but someday she will become a teenager and then an adult. You definitely don’t want to be left with a frog-themed bathroom featuring a Lilliputian counter and a squatty toilet forever! Instead of designing a bathroom’s fixtures around your child, add personality with paint and accessories. That way, the room can be updated to suit teenagers and eventually adults. The bright pink paint in this bathroom by Greenbelt Homes can become light blue once your daughter turns seventeen, and bright orange towels can be swapped out for more subdued ones. Plus, as your child develops interests, tastes, and preferences all her own, they can easily be incorporated into the design.

How have you made your bathroom more kid-friendly? What do you remember working- or not working- for you as a child?