•Learn how to design a kid-friendly bath that grows with your child.
•Keep your bathroom safe for children of all ages.
Designing a kid-friendly bathroom can be a challenge. Color and pattern are great in small doses, but too much whimsy, and the room runs the risk of being quickly outgrown. We asked designer Christopher Coleman to share some of his trade secrets on designing a kid-friendly bathroom that's both fun and enduring.
Splash of color
Kids love color, and it might be tempting to wash every wall in bright tones and primary hues. However, it's important to remember that too much color can be distracting.
"Color is a thing for everybody, you just need to find the right dosage" says Coleman. "Introduce color in the fixtures, like the sink or shower curtain, or even a wall mural."
Keep the walls and floor basic by using beige or white, and add splashes of color with tiles, towels, and other fixtures and accessories. A green or blue sink will stand out if the surrounding walls are white or neutral. Greens, yellows, blues, and tans work great in a kid's bath, and they are not overbearing, like pink or orange can be.
Patterns are just as important as color. A painted sink adds playful surprise to the standard fixture. Horizontal and vertical stripes are also great ways to add whimsy to a room without going overboard. They're mature enough for any room, and they introduce another hint of color to the space.
With the abundance of toys and trinkets that naturally accompany kids, storage is important in a kid's bath. If your bathroom doesn't already have ample storage space, get creative. Keep a wicker basket on the toilet tank, or purchase a plastic shoe holder to hang on the shower rod for toy storage. The key to making any space look nice is to contain the clutter.
"If you have the luxury of space in the wall, it's always great to create niches" says Coleman. "Rolling cars are always nice, like a floating vanity. They can hide extra toiletries, and are easy to move around the space."
Sticks and stones
Kids love to touch and feel everything; give them some variety in the bathroom. Stone tiles make a great backsplash, and glass tiles work well around the mirror or in the shower. Vary materials and textures.
"Bathrooms don't always have to be marble and tile" says Coleman. "I use more natural materials, like concrete and wood. Natural materials have nice textures, and are actually safer because they provide more friction."
Unfortunately, all kids must grow up sometime. While they're still young, it's important to create a space in which they can maneuver.
For the sink, consider a step stool that can be easily tucked away when not in use. Touchless faucets are easy to reach without needing to turn a handle, and can be set to a comfortable temperature, ensuring the water never gets too hot.
For the toilet, consider a toilet training seat. It fits over any regular size seat, but creates a comfortable and safe place to sit for younger, smaller children. The Transitions seat also frees up space by removing the need for a tot toilet.
In the shower or bath, install adjustable showerheads and handshowers. This will allow you to direct water to any height. Handshowers are great when for washing kids who won't sit still.
Throughout the room, consider light switches placed at a lower height, or even motion-sensors for those too short to reach the switch.
Making a bathroom kid-friendly invoves taking a few extra steps in safety. There are a number of things you can do to reduce risks in the restroom.
1. Install quiet-close toilet seats to keep tiny fingers from getting pinched.
2. Use toilet and cabinet clamps to keep kids from reaching in the toilet, and to lock up bathroom cleaners.
3. Plug all outlets with safety guards.
4. Use shower mats to avoid slippery floors.
5. Install grab bars near the tub or toilet to make it easy for kids to get in and out.
6. Use drain covers to keep kids from reaching in, and to keep the toys out.
7. Install touchless faucets for both preset, safe temperatures and easy-to-reach fixtures.
Can I help?
Let the kids give input on some of the design decisions. "Not everything has to match" says Coleman. "Remember, it's for a child, it should have some sort of fun and adventure."
Put up kids artwork in the bathroom to make the space both personal and fun. Let the kids paint a tile for the backsplash, or let them decorate a mirror frame. The best way to design a kids bathroom, is to get their input. Just remember, they grow up fast!
See designer Christopher Coleman discuss the room he created for the Kohler Design Center. Watch video.