Building a new home or remodeling is the perfect time to make your ideal number of rooms a reality. Shopping for existing homes may be another opportunity for you to review large and small bathroom design options. Organize small bathrooms, and they’ll feel bigger than they actually are, but you may need to get a home with more than one. The number of bathrooms you choose to have can affect how much you spend on the purchase or remodel, as well as how comfortable you are in your home.
A Family of Two
If you and another adult — your spouse, your roommate, your friend — are sharing a home, you may be able to make do with one bathroom. Whether one is all right or you should seek a place with two bathrooms depends on your relationship with the other adult. If it’s a roommate situation and you’re not overly close with them, you may each prefer to have your own space. If you have to share though, respect each other by doing the following:
- Not spending a long time in the bathroom on a regular basis
- Allowing each other enough time to use the bathroom in the morning and during other busy periods
- Not leaving your toiletries all over (store them under the sink or in a bin you take with you)
- Taking turns to clean the bathroom
If you’re sharing the home with a young child, you should be fine with one bathroom, especially if you monitor your child’s use of the bathroom anyway. As your child becomes an adolescent, you should give them more free space. If possible, get a home with two bathrooms — one for the both of you.
Families of Three or More
The larger your family or the number of people living in a home, the more bathrooms you need. A family of three, for example, should have at least two bathrooms. A family of four can function on two — one for adults and one for children — although it may be time to consider 2.5 or three bathrooms.
A family of five or greater should aim for as many bathrooms as possible. Most homes have no more than three bathrooms or 3.5 bathrooms at the most. If you can, get a half bathroom even if it’s 1.5 or 2.5 bathrooms.
Making a Small Bathroom Work
Even a cramped bathroom can be functional if it’s all you have. Better Homes and Gardens suggests you create new storage space, such as behind the mirror or beside a pedestal sink. Other space-saving ideas for multiple people using small bathrooms include:
- Multiple towel racks
- Storing items outside the bathroom
- Asking everyone to move their toiletries to a storage basket or drawer when not in use
- Installing a tiered-corner storage shelf
- Hanging an organizer over the back of the door
When You Have Only One
Many families coexist peacefully with one bathroom. If you don’t have the budget for a larger home, you can make do with one, even for a large family. First, put into practice those tips to make small bathrooms more spacious and organized. Second, create a schedule. In the morning or before any event that requires the entire family to use the bathroom, schedule time for everyone.
While one family member bathes or uses the toilet, others can do other typical bathroom tasks in other areas of the home. Put a large mirror in at least one other room of the house for grooming and primping purposes, for example.
If you’re not ready to buy a new home or build an addition, you have to work with what you have. If you have fewer bathrooms than your family needs to function comfortably, look at minor remodeling, small additions or simple methods of organization to make the most of your small or single bathroom. If you’re in the position to choose how many bathrooms your home can have, consider the size of your family.
About the Author: Katherine Leopold is a contributing writer and professional organizer. She knows families can make do with one bathroom, but recommends larger families consider additional bathrooms.