Bathroom design for children

Creating an interior space for children can be a difficult design project. But it doesn’t have to be.

Professionals and DIY designers must balance making space welcoming, safe and enjoyable for young children, yet sympathetic to adult design sensibility. Something to remember when decorating or designing space for children; is children don’t stay children forever. Employ flexible, clever design strategies and your bathroom will appeal when your children are little, and stand the test of time as they grow up.
Bathrooms are key learning areas for young children. You don’t want to transform your bathroom into Disneyland, yet, at the same time cold minimalism is not an inspiration environment to learn toothbrush skills. This week I’m going to provide some advice on how to give you and your children, the best of both worlds in the bathroom. Create a fun exciting space, capable of standing the test of time.

1. Safety first

This one, hopefully could have gone without saying. Number one when building, or renovating to suit young children, is safety. Bathrooms are dangerous surface emporiums, filled with sharp edges, glass and slippery floors. Often you will be with your child, but as your little one grows, they will want to feel more independent. There will come a time when going to the toilet and brushing teeth, will become solo tasks. Here are some ideas to assist in minimising risk and maximising safety.

  •  Framed shower screen: Frameless glass shower screens look amazing, but when designing for children, I recommend investing in framed screens. Exposed glass edges are difficult to see. Frameless glass, with young children is a disaster waiting to happen. Richters offer a range of framed shower enclosures, perfect for minimising bathroom risks.
  • Rounded vanity: When selecting your vanity and basin, choose products with smooth edges to avoid nasty bumps.
  • Big bath mat: Ensure stray splashes and spills are taken care of. Invest in a larger than average bath mat to minimise wet and slippery surfaces.
  • Non-slip flooring: Not all residential floor finishes are non-slip. When selecting bathroom flooring, no matter what material, aim for at least an R11 slip rating.

2. Colour

Children love bright splashes of colour. Cheerful tones will automatically make your bathroom inviting and interesting. The key to using colour, is keep it bright, but simple. Keep your palette to a maximum of two colours and one shade. Following this formula, your interior will be less likely to date over time. Finding balance between colour and shade will allow your interior to present joyful in a mature manner. Opt for timeless colour combinations you find appealing and your bathroom will stand the test of time. Some of my suggested colour combinations are:

  • Aqua and crisp white
  • Lime, stone and cool white
  • Orange, maroon and warm white
  • Lemon, stone and cream


 3. Be fun, but don’t be foolish

Accessories are the best way to cost effectively transform any room into a child friendly space. The advantage of quirky children’s bathroom accessories is they’re not permanent. You can update regularly with minimal financial impact. There are incredibly cute bathroom accessories available, bath towels plugs, toothbrushes and bars of soap – your options are endless. Increase bathroom enthusiasm, give your children the opportunity to select their own bathroom accessories.

4. Storage for you and them

Children love feeling part of the ‘big kids club’. The last thing you want is to create an interior where all a child hears is “no”. “No you can’t touch that”, “No you can’t open that” – it’s all very negative. Enable children to feel permission and responsibility in the bathroom by incorporating easy to reach storage options. Open wall storage provides children easy to access lower level nooks for bath toys and towels. Higher shelves can be used by adults to store bathroom products best kept out of reach. Allowing children access to their own towels, bath toys and hairbrushes will give them a sense of ownership and pride in the bathroom. They will also truly feel like on of the “big kids”.

5. Make it easy to use

All residential bathrooms, even new builds designed with children in mind, will be proportioned to suit adults. Allow easy, safe basin and toilet access via bathroom stools. Invest in products specifically designed for bathroom use. These stools have multiple step options, non-slip feet and they make an adorable addition to bathroom décor.

Avoid using chairs and generic stools, these are more likely to slip out from under a child, because they’re not designed for this application

Image Source: Bliss, Lesley Graham, thewhitecompany, apartmenttherapy, EliethFox on Pinterest, BostonGlobe

Much ado about bathroom mirrors

“Raise the roof” with tall, slender framed mirrors

Choosing vertical details in your wardrobe prompts the eye to look up and down instead of side to side, helping create a taller, more slender appearance. The same is true for your bathroom. Vertical details in the bathroom accentuate ceiling height and help a small bathroom feel more expansive and luxurious.

Add decorative elements to the bathroom to encourage the eyes to move upward from the bath, sink and toilet.  Tall vases or plants, vertical tile designs and vertical paintings are possible choices. But, once again, the hero of the small bathroom is the elegantly framed mirror. Previous Richters blogs, have highlighted the ability of a framed mirror to create the illusion of space. When you choose tall, slender mirrors you also lift the ceiling and inspire a feeling of space above.

A top or dress with horizontal stripes can section your body into blocks and make you appear shorter and wider.  Similarly, horizontally wide and vertically short framed mirrors chop the room height. Using horizontal lines and patterns won’t make the room look wider. In fact, horizontal patterns in a small bathroom can accentuate the lack of space. Vertical mirrors, that reach to the ceiling, maximise space and result in that sensation of height.

If you’re fortunate two windows in your bathroom, a vertical line of mirrors in between windows will maximize natural sunlight and provide even greater space-defying visuals.

Mirrors, shower screen and bath panel hardware, and shelving hardware can be like bathroom wardrobe and accessory items; accessorize strategically. Mirrors offer a fantastic way to dress up a space; however you want to use them as you would elements in your personal wardrobe. Choosing vertical lines and a tall, thin mirror will help tap into unused space and make your small bathroom look larger and more chic.

Six tips for DIY bathroom renovators

Renovating: everyone thinks they know how to do it, almost everyone discovers it’s not as easy as it looks, and they have no idea what they’re doing.

For a small room, bathroom renovations cost a pretty penny, they also involve serious construction work. If you’re thinking about a DIY bathroom renovation, and you haven’t renovated before, my first piece of advice would be, make sure you have a good plumber on board, and possibly a cabinetmaker, or builder. If you’re new to the reno scene, don’t attempt to do everything yourself. Bathrooms can’t be updated every year. You need to take some key steps to ensure you create a successful space you will love for years to come. From seasoned ‘ren0spert’ (a renovation expert) to rookie renovators, here are six bathroom renovation tips I would advise any DIY-er consider.

1. Make a bathroom wish list

This might seem daggy, but I promise, when you have a clear idea of what you really want in your new bathroom, you won’t be regretting this step. My advice is write a couple of bathroom wish lists. Note down what you currently don’t like about your bathroom. List what fittings and fixtures you want in your new bathroom. Think about what you feel are top priority items, and try to forecast potential problems – oh, and of course make a list of design features and styles you like.

These lists will eventually form a design concept, timeline, shopping list and renovation budget.

2. Samples and mood boards

Don’t let professional designers have all the fun! Today, through sites such as Pinterest, Facebook, Google + and Instagram you can access an incredible amount of design inspiration. Create a board on Pinterest to gather images, or dedicate a folder on your computer to your bathroom renovation. For the technically savvy renovator, use a creative program to bring your images together on one page. For those less across image editing software, there’s nothing wrong with printing images and gluing them onto paper. Magazines are perfect for this. Interior designers seeking inspiration actually follow this process, so if you think it sounds a little like glorified scrap booking, think again. Mood boards are significant styling tools, allowing you to determine what goes with what and an overall theme.

After your bathroom mood board is complete, collect as many paint, tile, and fabric samples as possible. For fittings and fixtures, make sure you get to showrooms and view each product in person before making any decisions. Remember, everything has the potential to look totally different in the flesh.

3. Tile planning

There is a reason tiling is a profession it its own right. A high level of skill required to getting tile configurations spot on. When tiling, you want to ensure you minimise wastage and tile pattern compromise. The best way to go about tile planning is to take the measurements of your walls and floors, along with your selected tile. Use these to grid in scale, each interior wall elevation, and the floor plan. Identify where wall features such as cupboards, hooks, rails and mirrors will  be placed, and think about what percentage of the room you want tiled. I suggest always having a tile professional look over your plans to avoid disappointment. Pre-planning tile configurations is a cost effective way of trialling different designs, and great preparation if you do attempt to take this part of the renovation on yourself.

4. Plumbing position

Please, please, please, DIYers, keep your plumbing where it is. Save yourself a small fortune and many grey hairs, don’t move your existing pipes. Only if absolutely necessary (I’m talking, toilet literally in shower type scenario) would I suggest moving pipes.

If you have to move anything, call a plumber and don’t attempt it yourself. If you’re unhappy with your current bathroom, chances are the room falls short as a result of design and décor, not plumbing layout.
5. Test a tub

Just like a mattress for your bed, a bathtub needs to be lay in before purchasing.  It’s important to get a feel for how it suits your body. A tub might look spacious and curvaceous, but this doesn’t mean you will find it comfortable. Don’t hold back when you’re walking around bathroom showrooms, kick off your shoes and test a tub!

6. Plan a ‘wow’ shower

It’s safe to assume we all use our shower at least once a day. If you’re going to the effort of re-modelling your bathroom, explore every opportunity to increase shower footprint and maximise luxury. A double shower would be my first recommendation, however if your floor plan doesn’t allow, use a frameless or semi-frameless glass shower screen to create the illusion of a larger shower cavity. For an extensive range of shower screens, visit Richters.
Image Source: Realestate.comPlacesJournal, ALifeWellLived, Decorgirl, Castlehaunnblackhouse

Five bathroom investments you will never regret

The savvy home owner should always aim to design their interior to stand the test of time.

The kitchen is the most expensive room in a renovation or build, the bathroom is second. When investing time and money into a bathroom build or renovation, you want to ensure you get maximum value for money. You need to aim to create an interior you will enjoy for years to come. Everyone has their own style. For some, a bold and daring design will appeal, others will prefer more classical styled space. Regardless of personal preference, there are some essential bathroom features with mass appeal. This week’s design advice is for everyone. If you’re renovating or building, believe me, you will never regret investing in the following five bathroom ‘must haves’.

1. The double shower rose

For all the couples out there, this is one bathroom feature you won’t truly appreciate until you have experienced it, but trust me, it is one small feature all couple bathrooms need. Two shower heads will not only elevate your bathroom to designer chic, with the trend popping up in designer magazines and blogs everywhere, it will more importantly make the shared shower experience a thousand times more enjoyable. Never feel the icy chill of being the one half stuck out of the water, as you both struggle to fit under the one water source. Run your shower at the temperature you like,  and most of all enjoy your own space while still experiencing some time with your lover.

Let’s face it, sharing a shower sounds romantic, but fighting for water and disagreeing on temperature really takes away from the experience. Double the shower heads, double the enjoyment.

2. Glass shower screens

If you’re trying to decide between a shower curtain and a glass screen, you will never regret investing in a quality shower screen. Easy to clean and never out of fashion, you will thank yourselves for avoiding the sticky shower curtain battle and opting for glass.

A glass shower screen is timeless. Select a frameless, semi-frameless or framed screens from Richters for an on-trend sleek aesthetic. Richters range of glass shower screens will suit any bathroom décor. Glass shower screens provide clean lines and beautiful simplicity to any bathroom. Richters have an extensive range of shower configurations, meaning you will easily find a screen suitable for your bathroom.

3. A tub for two

I don’t know many people who don’t enjoy a long relaxing bath. However a bath can quickly be less than enjoyable if it’s not big enough. A standard bathtub will struggle to fit one adult, let alone two on a romantic night, or a couple of children at bath time. Don’t deprive yourself, invest in a large bathtub and never look back.

For added luxe, eliminate ‘the bad end of the tub’ and make sure you select a bath with central drain design, and fit tapware to the centre of the bath.

4. Storage you will actually use

I believe storage is key to a successful interior, regardless of the room. You can’t expect your room to look as you dreamt, if it’s a cluttered mess. Bathroom storage can be difficult. Often you’re working within small space, and humidity and dampness will effect storage options. My advice for storage, remember everyone is different and you have to find solutuins suitable for you. You won’t regret taking the time to sit down and really think about what you need to store in your bathroom. Ask yourself how you like/do interact with storage systems. There’s no point designing something you won’t use.

If you’re time poor and don’t like packing away all the time, opt for open, easy storage solutions, such as baskets and shelves. If you have lots of smaller items that need organising (ladies I’m talking nail polish and make-up here), multiple shallow draws might be the solution for you. Smart, effective storage will make or break your bathroom design.

5. A feature mirror

We all groom ourselves in the bathroom, it’s not a case of vanity, it’s practicality. Bathroom light is often the best in the house, and after a shower or bath, it makes sense to preen. In addition to practicality,  a large mirror, half, or full body, will make your bathroom look larger, lighter and more inviting. For a range of aluminium mirror frames or frameless, visit Richters Show Room for different options.

An extra treat for the bath…

Bath bombs! Bring a little ‘bath champaign’ into your next tub experience, and make your own fizzy bath bombs. If you have children, these are are a guaranteed winner – fun to make, and even more fun to watch in the bath as they fizz, bubble and whiz. Enjoy…

YOU WILL NEED

  • Baking soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Citric acid
  • Spray bottles
  • Food colouring
  • Glass bowl
  • Essential oil
  • Baking moulds
STEP ONE

Sift 1 3/4 cup baking soda, 1 cup citric acid, and 2 cups cornstarch through a sieve to remove chunks. To make different tints, fill small spray bottles with water and add about 6 drops of food colouring to each.

STEP TWO

Pour 1 cup of powdered mixture into a glass bowl. Lightly spray, stirring after each spray, until powder is desired colour. Add water slowly, so mixture does not fizz. If mixing two tints, alternate colours as you spray. Check the consistency of powder with your fingers; when it can be tightly packed or shaped, stop spraying (this may take a little while).

STEP THREE

Select an essential oil. Add five drops if it’s one of the stronger scents (peppermint, lavender), six if it’s a weaker one (lemon, grapefruit). Mix well. Firmly pack mixture into small baking moulds. Allow mixture to set for two hours, then pop out carefully. Repeat with different tints for remaining powder.

(source: Martha Stewart)
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