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Build A Stylish, Kid-Friendly Bathroom (Whether You Have Toddlers Or Teens)

Decorating a bathroom for your kids isn’t just a matter of putting up some fun decals, painting with bold colors, and equipping your space with fun bath toys. A well designed, kid-friendly bathroom should do two things: keep the peace between siblings sharing the space, and encourage your kids to be independent by providing a space they can keep clean and organized without much parental oversight or intervention, no matter what age your kids. So what does that look like?

Kid-Friendly Bathroom Vanities Have Lots Of Drawers

Two sets of drawers, ample counterspace, and built in towel bars and outlets make this 48" Copper Cove Encore vanity from James Martin perfect for sharing in a small space
Two sets of drawers, ample counter space, and built in towel bars and outlets make this 48″ Copper Cove Encore vanity from James Martin perfect for sharing in a small space

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As you’ve probably already experienced while sharing a bathroom with your spouse (or siblings or roommates!), having your own private space for your own things – and keeping them there – is a big must in a shared bathroom, and this is doubly true for kids. If you don’t want to navigate “where is my-!” or “he took my-!”, hands down the best way to avoid it is to shop for bathroom furnishings that will give each of the kids sharing the bathroom a space where their personal items won’t be disturbed. It might take a little practice to ensure the extra storage gets used, but will level up civility on busy school mornings in the long run. For a bathroom shared by two kids, I’d look for a single vanity with a set of drawers on each side, which gives you two sets of personal storage (and counter areas) and one communal cabinet, without taking up a huge amount of space.

Open Shelf Vanities Keep Communal Items Visible And Accessible

Open shelf bathroom vanities like this Hudson vanity are a cottage classic, and encourage your kids to keep things tidy while making it easy for them to find and organize their own stuff
Open shelf bathroom vanities like this Hudson vanity are a cottage classic, and encourage your kids to keep things tidy while making it easy for them to find and organize their own stuff

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Open shelf vanities are also a great option for kids. Whether they’re wide or narrow, one sink or two, vanities with an abundance of highly visible storage is another great way to nip the “I can’t find my-!” problem in the bud. Rolled towels, bath toys, or even hair driers and curling irons can be easily stowed in bins beneath the cabinet, making it both easy to clean up and easy for your kids to find what they’re looking for. This trick also works no matter what age your kids are. For young children, you can pop a child lock on the cabinet and leave their items accessible underneath, and for older kids and teens, embrace-the-clutter tote-style storage is a good way to encourage tidying habits without having to play drill sergeant.

Kid-Friendly Means Your Kids Should Be Able To Clean It On Their Own

Vanities with integrated sinks and counters (especially ones with trough sinks, like this Columbia vanity) are incredibly easy to clean, and make it possible to squeeze more than two kids in front of a single vanity
Vanities with integrated sinks and counters (especially ones with trough sinks, like this Columbia vanity) are incredibly easy to clean, and make it possible to squeeze more than two kids in front of a single vanity

In a similar vein, one of my biggest benchmarks for kid-friendly bathroom furniture is that it’s easy for kids to keep clean themselves. Obviously, kids will be more independent (and theoretically responsible!) as they get older, but furniture that could be ruined by a single “oops” has no place in a kid’s bathroom. That means countertops that can stand up to spills or even standing water – no stone that will stain or laminate that will peel. I like integrated porcelain countertop/sinks because they’re easy to wipe down, and don’t have any grooves for gunk to accumulate. Wood vanities should also be treated to be water resistant, with finishes that can be wiped down or scrubbed clean without taking off the paint or sealant.

Finding A Kid- Proof Bathroom Vanity May Mean Sacrificing Storage Space

Console vanities like this Cisco Console are easy to clean, hard to damage, and come in a wide variety of sizes, but often lack counterspace, and almost never have cabinet storage
Console vanities like this Cisco Console are easy to clean, hard to damage, and come in a wide variety of sizes, but often lack counterspace, and almost never have cabinet storage

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Depending on how worried you are about your bathroom vanity surviving until your kids leave the nest, you can also lean more into the precautions, but often they come with a few drawbacks. For example, console vanities with metal legs and integrated ceramic tops are well nigh on indestructible, but they often leave something to be desired in terms of both storage and surface space. Similarly, trough-style sinks (either ones integrated into a vanity or vintage wall-hung ones) will make your sink area virtually spill proof, easy to clean, and very shareable for two or more kids, but will often leave you with little or no counterspace. Depending on how you supplement these kid-friendly bathroom vanities, they might save you a headache when it comes to cleaning, but leave your kids feeling a little short on storage.

Kid’s Bathrooms Need Sinks Your Kids Can Reach

Built-in step stools are something of a rare feature, but vanities that have them - like this Booster vanity by Eviva - are an elegant solution for a household with kids of different ages
Built-in step stools are something of a rare feature, but vanities that have them – like this Booster vanity by Eviva – are an elegant solution for a household with kids of different ages

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Of course, even the most kid-friendly bathroom furniture is ultimately built for adult-sized people, which means younger kids will always need some kind of workaround to get themselves up to sink height. Now, there are plenty of simple solutions to this (like the obvious: a step stool), but most of them are clunky and inelegant in varying degrees, and don’t necessarily age up with your kids well. Stray stools can crowd the bathroom (especially if you need multiple of them), restrict the kind of vanity you can choose (if you need space to store them), and lose their usefulness as soon as your kids grow a few inches. That’s why I love bathroom vanities with built-in boosters. In place of a bottom drawer, these have pull-out steps that will provide your kids with a little more independence, but also tuck away when they aren’t needed.

Sometimes, A Kid’s Bathroom Is Just The Bathroom You Have For Your Kids To Use

When all else fails, sometimes you just need a small vanity - and you can squeeze into a corner like this Angolo vanity definitely fits the bill
When all else fails, sometimes you just need a small vanity – and one you can squeeze into a corner like this Angolo vanity definitely fits the bill

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All that said, sometimes the biggest challenge in building a kid’s bathroom is that you simply don’t have enough bathroom space to go around. Short of adding a half bath somewhere in your home (which is actually more doable than you might think!), that means two things: making a small space functional, and making that space fun. It’s a tall order to be certain – certainly a topic worth more than one blog post. But I’ll leave you with the gist: look for a small vanity with as much storage as you can pack in it for the space you have, and if it comes in a fun color, so much the better!

A lot of advice out there about building kid-friendly bathrooms puts more emphasis on the fun part – with bright colors and playful designs that might be a blast for your kids now, but won’t necessarily age well. On the other hand, kid’s bathrooms that are built with keeping the peace in mind will (hopefully!) help your kids develop good habits that will keep them and your bathroom looking neat and tidy for years to come.

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