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Create a family-friendly bathroom for you and your kids. Leading interior designer Linda Barker shares hints and tips on how to transform your bathroom into a characterful space that your children can call their own.Order samples
Characterful, cheerful and colourful bathrooms will make your kids happy, it might even make them wash a bit more or brush their teeth regularly but don’t quote me on this. All I can tell you is that a fabulous bathroom that appeals to kids is money well spent and can be as joyous for adults as for those kids who will call it their own.
When my daughter was growing up she loved her nightly bath time ritual and I think most kids are the same, splashing around in a tub is as good a learning experience as any I know. Throw some toys into the water and the experience becomes one of inexplicable joy. The familiar nightly routine sees them wrapped up in fluffy towels then into warm PJ’s, a spell at the sink to brush teeth and off to a cozy bed.
In many cases a 'kids bathroom' has evolved from the way we are now using our houses. Often the master bedroom has an ensuite attached or an adjacent room re-purposed for such a purpose which allows for the so-called family bathroom to be dominated by the children. As a consequence you’ll achieve a lot by painting, scrubbing and renewing the basics and often you won’t even need to re-plumb unless you’ve inherited a vast space that was badly planned in the first instance.
An old bath that needs replacing will undoubtedly look perfect in a smaller size. I adore the 1500mm long (short) bath tubs but you can get tubs as short as 1300mm too and unless you have a family of five little ones, this is a comfortable size for a solitary water baby or two. It means that if you rip out the conventional 1700/1800 bath then you have space for a smaller freestanding tub which will have just enough wriggle room for you to have additional access around both sides and adds much more character than that of an out-dated ‘fitted in’ bath.
Allow for a central bath tap and a hand held shower attachment which allows for simple hair washing routines, toy battles or cleaning out the bath.
Storage is key - a big wall cupboard along the wall at the back of the bath is essential for quick access and removal of bath time toys, a slatted base in this cupboard allows for good air flow and less than perfectly dried toys to be packed away quickly.
My Multipanel bathroom wall panels are easy to fit over conventional, outdated tiles or plaster walls and will create a fully waterproof surface that’s easy to keep clean and won’t harbour dirt, grime or mould. We all need to be spared the hours traditionally spent scrubbing mildew from grouted tile lines, regardless of whether we are parents to little ones or not, there is always something better to do!
My Concrete Elements wall panel is a great starting place for a pretty kids bathroom, position the bathroom panels both behind the bath tub and behind the wash basin for the best effect and ease of cleaning.
Paint additional walls with a favourite, soft mid blue and add a decorative scallop edge, approx 30cm from the cornice using a saucer as a template for a lovely effect, pick out the shaped edge with a line of bright orange is you feel creative.. The understated pattern could be continued with a row of real scallop shells along a shelf or windowsill.
I love a shower curtain around a child's bath as it encourages a theatrical kind of play whilst in the tub and it gives plenty of scope for another decorative element. Patterns of fish perhaps with a strip of a contrasting pink, bright orange or lime green would be lovely. The pattern could be repeated on a window blind. Junique have lovely shower curtains, and complementary bath towels.
A bright vinyl floor would be a favourite choice, Harvey Maria's Dovetail in burnt copper is a favourite.
Position painted steps to gain access to 'slightly higher than toddler’ basins and frame seaside prints to hang on the walls. Lush Designs have some of my favourites….
Just add water (and kids).