How To Re-Design Your Family Bathroom: 6 Tips!

The family bathroom is the room in the house that the whole family uses. How much the whole family uses this room depends on how many other bathrooms there are in a house.

For smaller houses, the family bathroom may be the ONLY bathroom in the house. For mid-size houses, there may be a powder room, half bath or 2 piece bathroom consisting of a sink and a toilet typically located near the front entrance for guests. For larger homes, there is typically a powder room, a family bathroom and an en-suite in the primary bedroom allowing parents to have their own bathroom and not having to share the family bathroom with the kids.

Upgrading a bathroom definitely is high on the list of renovations that increase the value to your home.  But not only will a bathroom reno increase your property value, it will morning rush hours easier as the kids are getting ready to rush off to school.  How you design a family bathroom may look very different if you have an en-suite bathroom for yourselves.  You can make different choices.  It doesn’t have to be all inclusive if there is one bathroom for the adults, and one for the kids.

Before you start ripping up the flooring and taking out the vanity, plan your design!

1. Who uses the bathroom?

Who uses the bathroom will determine what features the bathroom will have. Is it the whole family or just the kids?   Look at the floor plan of your existing bathroom.  Does it work ?  Really? Are there areas that are too tight and family members keep bumping in to each another.  Think it through thoroughly first.  Once you start a reno and change your mind, it can get costly.

Designer Tip:  Your bathroom style needs to be consistent throughout and should be consistent with your home’s interior design style.  If you have a contemporary sink and vanity for example, you need your tub to be in the same style. Check out Pinterest and Instagram to get ideas of what you like and what you don’t like.  You can even google bathroom floor plans to get some ideas of ways to make things work better.    If you not sure of what you are doing with style or DIY, hire a designer to get started!


2. Shower or Tub or Both?

Most family bathrooms have space for a combination bathtub & shower. There is a huge range in tub styles and price ranges.  Free standing soaker tubs and tubs with claw feet are the trend these days but if kids are the main people using the tub, you want to consider a tub that’s easy to get in and out.  Some people are ripping out their combo bathtubs and showers to put in one of these tubs.  Others are ripping out their combo bathtub and shower and installing just showers.

Photo: Home Bunch

In a perfect world, if you have room for both a tub, shower and a double vanity, that would be your ideal bathroom. It would suit all members of your family and throughout the various stages that families go through. And it would certainly increase the value of your home. Some homeowners want to rip out the bathtub to put in a larger shower. This should be done in an en-suite bathroom that is off of the primary bedroom, not the family bathroom. There should be at least one tub in the house for resale value at the end of the day.

Homeowners want at least one tub in a house for kids and that should be in a family bathroom.  DON’T rip out the ONLY bathtub in the house for a large shower no matter how tempting that is.

If you’re in a family neighorhood, this could hurt the resale value of your home and potentially attract less buyers.

You can have fun with your tile in your bathtub area. It can make a statement and be the focal point of the room.

Some homeowners tile their entire bathroom but that can get expensive and its not a trendy look these days.

Photo: Kallista

Add pop of color to your bathroom but introducing color to your walls. A great paint color can also do wonders to make a space pop without the expense of labor and materials for the tile.  Greens, and blues are currently popular paint colors for bathrooms these days if you’re looking for something more colorful than the go to neutrals.

Don’t forget a fan near the bath area.  If you had a contractor do the work, they will have thought of that for you.  If you did it yourself, you need to install one according to building code regulations.

3.  Upgrade the vanity

If your vanity is tired or dated looking, it’s probably time for a change.   Most people want double sinks these days in bathrooms, so if you have the space, put in a double sink. That way kids won’t fight over the sink AND its good for increasing the value of your home.

Wall mounted sinks are also a popular choice these days. Quartz countertops are very popular for and easy to maintain. Add lights and faucets that will co-ordinate with your new look.

Photo: Pinterest

In this coastal family bathroom above, they did everything right. The double vanity is perfect for sharing when needed. The board & batten fits into the coastal interior design style along with the adorable fish pictures and the color they selected for their walls. LOVE LOVE LOVE the herringbone porcelain tile they chose for their floors. Easy for up keep and the perfect design details for this space. The mirror is simple but perfect for this space.

Lighting is not only functional, it can make a real design statement as well.  The best lighting for a vanity is on either side of the mirror. That is where you are going to get the best light.

You can have fun with a ceiling light in the bathroom.  Long gone are the days where it was just ceiling fixture.  Pick one that makes a statement and completes the look.

In my previous townhouse above, the only bathroom with a tub & shower was the family bathroom. This is very common in smaller homes like bungalows and starter homes. The bathroom would be considered a small bathroom for a family bathroom and there was no wiggle room to change the footprint at all. Since I was starting from scratch I needed a focal point. I saw this stunning vanity online at Home Depot and spent way to much money for it, lol, but I feel in love with it, if you can fall in love with a vanity, so I bought it.

The vanity set the tone for the rest of the bathroom re-design. Next I picked out the tiles for the tub area, and the flooring. Notice the hardwood flooring in the bathroom? The ceramic tiles that created the look I wanted AND were very practical for living with boys. The vanity hardware, lights, gold mirror & picture all co-ordinate with the contemporary look and feel of the bathroom.

4. Put in a fresh new toilet.

If you’re going to all the effort of updating your bathroom, put in a fresh new toilet. Swap out the toilet. Ditch the old toilet and put in a nice new throne, perhaps an elongated model.  Dual flush is a must these days in our eco-friendly world. Keeping the toilet where it is saves a costly relocation where you need to rip up the floor and relocate the flange.

Need extra storage?  Install a large hanging cabinet in the void space above the toilet.

kids bathroom
This kids bathroom has ceramic floors that looks like hardwood. A great choice for its purpose

4. The floors.

Porcelain or ceramic tiles are great options for a family bathroom, especially with a family with kids. They come in a wide range of prices and styles. New tile doesn’t have to be expensive; there are loads of porcelain tile options that offer the look of marble but cost far less. A new, larger porcelain tile floor will make a bathroom look bigger. 

Hardwood flooring is becoming a popular choice in bathrooms but in a bathroom used by a lot of kids, that spells high maintenance.  Consider ceramic tiles that looks like hardwood like the kids bathroom to our right.

If you’ve going to rip up the floor, consider installing radiant heating. Its great for those cold winter days and add value to your home.

6. Bathroom Accessories

bouclair, accessories
Accessories really make a difference at how your bathroom looks. Photo:  Courtesy of Bouclair. 

Your bathroom should be looking pretty luxurious by now.  But now is the fun part – the bathroom accessories – the wall décor, mirror, towels, artwork, and shower curtain.  Your bathroom accessories are the icing on the cake.  The jewelry for your outfit.

Pick your accessories in keeping with the look of your new space. You have just made your family bathroom more functional, more desirable, and you have added value to your home.  Well done!

There’s NO doubt that renovating a bathroom can add value to your home. But there is also such a thing as OVER renovating for your neighborhood. I staged two houses where both homeowners spent MORE money on their bathroom renovation than what people were willing to pay for in their neighborhood. What happened? Yes they sold their. One homeowner was really disappointed that she didn’t get her money back from the renovation and vowed never to do a renovation again. The other? She didn’t care that she overspent because they were living in the house for a long time and she wanted what she wanted!

Need some color or design guidance?

Perhaps your exterior needs updating, like your front door. Or perhaps you need some help picking out paint colors or you need to “Pick My Brain” on a room that you’re working on. You have some ideas but you’re just not sure which way to go. I can help you with that!

I help busy homeowners, just like you, to style their house to make it a stunning retreat, where they can live and enjoy their home. I help homeowners, make money beyond their wildest expectations from the sale of their house by guiding them when they’re getting their house ready to sell.


Hi! I’m Debi Collinson. Designer. Color Consultant & Real Estate Investor. 

I conducted my first color consult at the age of 7, for my father for one of his design | build projects. I’m an Interior Designer, a Double-Certified Paint Color Expert, with advanced training in kitchens + bathrooms!

Since 2006, I have helped hundreds of clients, just like you, to style their house to make it a stunning retreat, that is functional for the family AND that they love and enjoy their home. I was one of the first stagers in the industry when staging just started out, and I have helped hundreds of clients make money beyond their expectations when they sold their house.

In 2020, I moved my design business online. In my spare time lol, I renovate, manage and am the general contractor for my rental properties.

Read my full story here + my design credentials.

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