16 bathroom design ideas that work for a busy family

Maximise the potential of the busiest zone in the house.

As one of the busiest zones in the home, family bathrooms should be functional and fun-loving. The key to getting it to work for you is investing time and research into clever bathroom design ideas that tick all the boxes to make it a space that is pleasurable to experience.

While ensuites are often the ultimate pamper zone, these family bathroom ideas will ensure the space caters to all ages – from bath-loving tiny tots to teens who preen. Think durable, easy-care surfaces, savvy storage and accessible zones for multiple users. With a swathe of practical, chic finishes and fixtures to choose from, it’s also the perfect space to splash out and have a little fun.

White tiled bathroom and freestanding bath.
This clean and simple bathroom was designed for an energy-efficient family home and future rental property. It features hard-wearing surfaces, a restrained colour palette and a clearly defined layout. (Credit: Photography: Marnie Hawson / Styling: Siobhan Glass)

Bathroom design ideas for making the most of your space

1. Use mirrors

To reduce conflict during morning rush hour, look to incorporate large mirrors. “They create the illusion of more space and accommodate multiple people getting ready at once,” explains brand specialist Wesley Sinclair of Highgrove Bathrooms.

2. Double vanities

Opt for double basins and, for children, choose easy-to-use tapware with levers. Double vanities allow more than one person to get ready in the bathroom at a time, a complete lifesaver when everyone’s rushing to get out of the house in the morning.

european farmhouse style build brisbane bathroom
Storage abounds in this modern family bathroom with a double vanity. The floating vanities provide plenty of storage, as does the bank of mirrored shaving cabinets overhead. (Credit: Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

3. Wall mounting fixtures

“Wall-mounted vanities that free up floor space and offer generous internal storage work well in family bathrooms,” says Reece Marketing Lead Daniela Santilli.

4. Consistent finishes

Use the same tile on the floor and walls to create a spacious and cohesive feel. Just ensure you choose non-slip for safety reasons.

5. The layout

When mapping out the layout of a family bathroom, consider size and the number of people who’ll be using it. “If it’s for multiple users, zone the bathroom with the wet area at one end and the vanity at the other,” says interior designer Sarah Nolen of Birdblack Design.

16 bathroom design ideas that work for a busy family
(Credit: Martina Gemmola)

Functional family bathroom ideas

6. Add a seat

Whether it’s for cleaning teeth, brushing hair or supervising kids at bath time, keeping a stool handy in the bathroom will be your saving grace (for you and your back) in a family bathroom.

7. Use plenty of mirrors

If you already have teenagers in your house, then you’ll know there aren’t enough mirrors in the world to keep them satisfied.

A white and timber ensuite with white finger tiles.
(Credit: Photography: Marnie Hawson / Styling: Belle Hemming)

8. Easy clean surfaces

Family life is busy enough without adding excessive cleaning into the mix, so choose surfaces that require little upkeep. To avoid water splashing on plaster walls, tiling should extend reasonably high.

9. Incorporate a freestanding bath

“A freestanding model with stylish curves may have more longevity when kids get older,” suggests brand specialist Wesley. A recessed shelf can also help with storage.

A modern country bathroom in white with terracotta tiles and a freestanding tub.
A bathtub is essential in a family bathroom, particularly if you have young kids. (Credit: Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes )

Luxurious family bathroom ideas

10. Add feature tiles

To create a stylish space that excites the whole family, founder Jenefer Gordon of Eat Bathe Live suggests going for a bold feature tile, such as some beautiful mosaics. They’re also great for disguising any dust and mess.

11. Glam tapware

Gone are the days of the boring family bathroom. Make it stand out with tapware and accessories in on-trend finishes such as brushed nickel, chrome or gunmetal, which also conveniently minimise the appearance of fingerprints.

An ensuite with a fluted timber vanity and stone subway tiles.
Tapware from ABI Interiors fit right in with this serene, personality-filled ensuite bathroom. (Credit: Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

12. Install a shower seat

“If you only have room for a shower, make it comfortable and functional with a seat,” says Sarah. Add a touch of luxe with under-tile heating.

13. Pamper zone

Space permitting, consider breaking up the vanity for an extra pampering zone. “Teens may appreciate a sit-down dressing area and divider drawers for their own beauty products,” says interior designer Sarah.

Coastal bathroom with timber vanity brass fittings and freestanding bathtub
If you can, create pamper zone by turning part of the vanity into a sit-down vanity. (Credit: Louise Roche)

Bathroom design ideas for great storage

14. Use baskets

Keep a laundry basket in the bathroom and accessible to all family members so dirty clothes aren’t left in the corner. A woven hamper can give the room texture, adding some pretty to your practical.

15. Use hidden storage

In family zones, there is no such thing as having too much storage. “Mirror cabinets are a great multi-functional unit,” says Sarah. “They can be recessed and used to cleverly conceal power-points.”

Minimalist ensuite with grey wall tiles and arched mirrors
(Credit: Photo: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

16. Integrate a niche

Niches are another sleek storage option. Sarah suggests asking your builder to incorporate one within your shower or above the bath, with extra depth and height to allow for family-sized product bottles.

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