Kids Put Their Own Stamp on Bathrooms

Getting the little ones involved in designing their own bathrooms makes sense. But there are limits to how much control they should wield.

Children's bathrooms are the perfect place to go a little wild with colors and themes. These rooms are typically small, out-of-the-way and used exclusively by the little ones, making them the ideal showcase for a child's personal preferences and interests. And by getting the children involved in the design process, you can instill in them a sense of pride and ownership.

Of course, if we left every design decision up to the kids, we'd likely end up with a bathroom that nobody wanted to use. "The key to successful children's bathroom design is to create a space that is fun and functional but, more important, works for the kids as they grow older," says Debra Antolino, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), of Debra Antolino Interiors in Beachwood, Ohio. Renovating a bathroom is a big investment, she explains, and by looking ahead, a homeowner can avoid having to make that investment again in a few short years.

Get the Kids Involved — to a Point

"It's so important to get the children's opinions and to get them involved in the process," Antolino says. "They're more likely to take care of a space that they feel they have some ownership in." That doesn't mean the kids should run the show. To keep the process from becoming overwhelming for everybody involved, Antolino recommends listening to all ideas and then narrowing down the options to a few that everybody can live with.

"If you're redoing the tile, for instance, you wouldn't want to set your kids free in a tile store," she warns. Instead, bring three or four samples home that you've preselected and let the children pick the one they like best. The same goes for choosing cabinet hardware and accessories.

Color Me Purple?

Nobody knows better than Michelle Pollak that when it comes to color, kids hold some pretty strong opinions. As an ASID member and president of The Lollipop Tree in Charleston, S.C., Pollak specializes in interior design for children's spaces. The key, she says, is to identify a child's favorite colors and guide him or her toward a livable shade of that color.

"Kids might say their favorite color is purple. Well, a purple bathroom is going to look like Barney exploded all over the walls," Pollak jokes. Children aren't familiar with the entire color palette, she explains, so when your son or daughter says that he or she likes purple, Pollak suggests gently steering them toward a more sophisticated shade, like periwinkle. If a child is stubbornly adamant about a particularly bold shade, Pollak recommends finding a creative way to use it sparingly, as an accent.

Pollak also advises designers and parents to consider the overall design of the home when selecting a children's bathroom color. "You don't want it to be a glaring departure from the overall feel of the home," she says.

Non-trivial Pursuits

Pollak loves the idea of incorporating a child's hobbies and interests into the bathroom's design. "It's really important to not ignore what the child likes," she says. "As a designer, it's my job to take what they like and make it aesthetically pleasing for both children and adults."

As with selecting a color palette, the goal is to bring that hobby to life in a way that looks sophisticated rather than juvenile. Is your daughter an equestrian? Pollak suggests sidestepping that cartoon pony wall hanging in favor of an elegant black-and-white photograph of a horse. Does your child like to paint or take photographs? Have him or her pick out a few favorites to be framed and hung. "Everything looks like a work of art when professionally matted and framed," notes Pollak.

Keep the Whimsy to a Minimum

If one thing is certain, it's that a child's tastes will change — and fast. To deal with that fact of life, Lynn Monson, the owner of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in St. Louis Park, Minn., suggests limiting the trendier decorations to elements that are easily changed. "You can go a little wilder on things like cabinet hardware, shower curtains and towels," he says. "This allows you to give the child a sense of choice, but as his or her tastes change, it won't be expensive to replace them with something new."

Funky new kid-friendly accessories are hitting the market all the time. Companies like Pottery Barn's PBteen sell items created specifically for teenagers, like polka-dot bath mats, floral printed towels and shabby-chic shower rod finials.

Next Up

Designing a Great Kids' Bathroom

Finding bathroom decor that's cool for the kiddies may be fun, but don't let that take precedence over adding important safety features.

Creative Countertops for Kids

If you're redecorating a bathroom just for the children, start with the countertops just for fun, and get them to help.

A Bathroom That Lets Kids Do It Themselves

Designing a children's bath means more than just fun decor. Use technology to turn a child-challenged bathroom into one that encourages children to be independent.

What to Remove in a Bathroom Remodel

Are you redecorating or redesigning? Answering that question will help you determine what fixtures to keep for your bathroom makeover — and how big your budget might be.

Determine Your Bathroom Layout

The best bathroom remodels start with a thoughtful layout. Here are some important tips when considering your remodeled bathroom's new floorplan.

Combine Bathroom Colors with Confidence

Some basic color theory, a color wheel and the 60-30-10 rule will have you combining bathroom colors like an interior design pro.

Make an Old Bath Fresh and Fun

With the right color paint on the walls, the right accessories and, most important of all, the proper attitude, you can take your bathroom from outdated to outstanding.

Selecting the Right Bathroom Flooring

There are many factors to consider when choosing a flooring type for your bathroom. Our expert shares advice on flooring options that are powder-room friendly.

Faucet Finishes

New technology and an increasing appreciation for purposeful design have made the faucet an important feature in bathroom decor.

Choosing a Contractor for a Bathroom Remodel

A little legwork is required to find the best contractor for your bathroom remodeling project. Here are some ideas for making that effort pay off.


Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.