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How to design a bathroom for your whole family

Maximise the potential of the busiest and hardest working room in your home

To get the most out of your family bathroom it needs to be functional and welcoming. A well-thought-out design will make it appealing to everyone. Each household member will have a different set of needs when it comes to how they use the space and as the family grows those needs may change so taking time to really think about this and get the foundations right will pay dividends in the future.

While ensuites are typically reserved for the master bedroom and can be a luxurious adult space for sanctuary, the family bathroom needs to cater to all ages and demands from bath-loving babies to bathroom-hogging teens. Concentrate on easy clean surfaces, clever storage, and creating zones to make sharing the space as easy as possible.

Here are our top tips for a family-sized catch-all space

1. Create zones

Think about who will be using the space and how. If you want it to work for multiple users, consider having wet and dry areas at opposite ends of the room. Think about how you can make the shower/bath area a self-enclosed space not only for water containment but also privacy. Can the toilet be put in a separate room, or do you include a privacy screen? Do you have a beauty counter for make-up and hair drying which leaves the basin area free for teeth brushing?

2. Tub or no tub?

Ripping out the tub in favour of a larger tiled shower is a popular choice at the moment and is great for a grown-up family that hardly ever takes baths, but for other families with young children or even a dog, a bathtub is essential. If you're planning on putting the family-sized home on the market in the next 5-10 years you may not want to rush into ripping out the bath.

3. Storage

A lack of well-thought-out storage results in surfaces always being cluttered with products, so think about the best way to store these out of sight whilst still making them accessible. Wall cabinets and shelving for baskets are great options.

4. Double Vanities

If you have the space, then definitely include a double vanity. This not only works for that all-important storage but allows multiple users access to a basin at the same time. Avoid scrimping on the cost of tapware, you want something that will last the test of time and not just the current trend as these can be costly to swap out in the future.

5. Mirrors

Include a large mirror or multiple zone mirrors to reduce conflicts in the morning. Mirrors also help to create the illusion of space.

6. Wall-mounted fixtures

Wall-mounted vanities and toilets free up floor space making it easier to clean but also adds to the feeling of spaciousness.

7. Consistent finishes

Keep it simple. Try to avoid incorporating too many different design elements into the room as it will quickly look busy and cluttered. Consider using the same tile on the walls and the floor for a cohesive feel, this can also add to the illusion of space.

8. Easy clean

Above all else make sure it's as easy to clean as possible! Bright chrome fixtures are finger-print magnets, so maybe opt for brushed steel instead. Avoid small format tiles! The smaller the tiles the more grout lines there are that need cleaning to prevent mould building up. Ensure your contractor only uses Epoxy grout that repels all dirt and moisture. Avoid textured tiles that provide lots of little shelves and grooves for dirt to settle into. There is now a new range of antibacterial tiles available to add another level of protection against mould and mildew. Dark-coloured tiles will quickly show up soap scum as it settles and dries on the surface after each shower, likewise, high-gloss tiles can quickly look dull as watermarks form on them. Re-tiling a bathroom is not a small undertaking so choose a neutral base colour scheme and add personality and colour with accessories, plants and storage baskets/bottles.

Consideration of all these things will give you a space that your family can easily grow into making it inclusive for all ages and easier on yourself so that cleaning and maintaining are not full-time jobs!

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