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Aging & Accessibility, Complete Remodel, Ideas

Designing a Bathroom for Multigenerational Living

Remodeling a family bathroom that suits everyone can be tricky—even more if that family includes multiple generations. As the pandemic has brought a rise in multigenerational homes, many homeowners are having to make special adjustments when it comes to renovations. But with some planning, patience, and playfulness, you can easily create a great setup for family members of every age and ability.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

For Infants

To keep the youngest family members protected in the bathroom, install locks on everything from the toilet seat to the vanity cabinets. Never leave an infant unattended, even for a second. Use bright colors to engage their senses and a vanity with plenty of storage to keep bath toys and other objects out of the way, so older adults who are more prone to tripping won’t have an obstructed path.

For more safety tips, read 9 Tips for a Beautiful, Safe Bathroom.

For Toddlers

Parents can boost toddlers’ confidence by giving them a little autonomy. Incorporate a step stool into the vanity or keep one in the linen closet or next to the sink, so they can safely reach light switches and faucets all by themselves. (Particularly if anyone in your family uses a wheelchair, it may make more sense to have light switches, towel racks, and the like placed at lower heights.) Don’t forget these little fish love to splash and play, so you may want to choose waterproof wall surrounds to keep your bathroom from getting soaked. Remember to protect children and elderly family members with slower reflexes from scalding by using temperature control devices on faucets. And, of course, keep curious toddlers from getting into medications and toiletries by storing them in lockable medicine cabinets.

For Teens

For kids aged 13 to 18, the insecurity is high and the products are endless. Hair gel, make up, curling irons, straighteners, perfumes, body sprays—this cohort needs storage, and a lot of it. They also want to make their own decisions, so allowing them to pick out things like shower curtains, towels, washcloths, soap, and other necessities can give them a much-needed sense of control. And because teens love technology as much as any other demographic (maybe more!), think about adding some tech flair to the bathroom, like touchless toilets that allow you to raise or lower the lid with the wave of a hand or digital faucets that turn on and off when motion sensors are activated. Consider upgrading to a steam shower, as this has the added benefit of helping to clear up acne-prone skin. For an überfuturistic feel, you could even get a Charmin RollBot—and never remind them again to replace the toilet paper roll!

For Seniors

According to the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report, making room for aging parents to move in is now the top reason buyers are purchasing multigenerational homes. As assisted living facilities and nursing homes struggle to remain open, this new way of living may be for the long term. Seniors may have special needs related to mobility and vision. You’ll want to include accommodations like nightlights inside of and on the way to the bathroom, smart lights that respond to voice commands, grab bars near the bath and toilet, no-slip surfaces, and even a walk-in shower that replaces the tub. If anyone in your family uses a wheelchair, consider a pedestal sink or open vanity for easy access.

For Caretakers and Earners

For those family members who are holding everything together, be sure to include some special touches that offer a little serenity in the chaos. Give the bathroom a spa-like feel by adding a steam shower option to relax sore muscles, ease symptoms of arthritis, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety. To make the experience even more luxurious, incorporate warming drawers to keep towels and robes toasty for use right out of the shower. You can even save time with smart products like a self-cleaning toilet and a smart mirror that can provide the day’s forecast, news, and traffic updates.

Want to create a spa-like experience in your bathroom? Get 24 design tips from the world’s most luxurious spas.

For Everyone

No matter how much you love one another, sharing isn’t easy. Keep the peace in the bathroom by providing each member of your family their own space, whether that’s a shelf in the linen closet or a drawer in the vanity. Color coding accessories can help keep the arguments to a minimum. Remember to incorporate these bright ideas in bathroom lighting, too. If you have lingering safety concerns, our Design Consultants can recommend ADA-compliant products and materials and share design tips that can help you gain more space out of minimum square footage.

Ready to create a bathroom that works for every member of your family? Schedule a Design Consultation now, and find out how easy it can be to give everyone the bathroom of their dreams.