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.
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
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