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Sanctuary Bathrooms Blog
Posted on Monday 15th February 2021 by James Roberts
It seems like something you only see in pop culture like films and TV but it is reality across the world every single day for many people. No matter the size of the family, whether you have older children or younger children, bathroom quarrels are common.
Hogging the bathroom, using all the hot water, leaving empty toilet rolls, not putting the toilet seat down after use – these may all sound vaguely familiar – and the list doesn’t end there.
Yet it has led to the question of whether one bathroom is sufficient for a family household, particularly for a family of four or more. In this guide, with the help of some parents and bloggers, we’ll explore the issue of whether it’s possible to raise a family with one bathroom.
Firstly, let’s look at the number of homes with only one bathroom. According to figures in the 2018 English Housing Survey on the size of homes, 73% of homes in the survey had only one bathroom, while the remaining 27% had two or more. Based on the sample size surveyed, it is estimated that 17.6m households live with only one bathroom.
The same study also estimated that over half (56%) were couples with no dependent children, or were solely single male/female occupied, meaning 44% of homes included dependent or independent children, two or more families, or lone people sharing with other lone people. Although there’s no data to show the split of bathrooms to the types of occupancy, it is reasonable to assume that a number of people with children or living with other people will be sharing a single bathroom.
If your household has recently grown with a new child or you’re expecting - congratulations! Whether your family is growing or already growing up fast, it is entirely reasonable to wonder if one bathroom is going to be big enough for you all in the future. This includes whether you may need your own private spaces, whether you should renovate your home, or simply whether you should be looking to sell up and find a bigger property.
The answer to this question is yes, it is possible to share a single bathroom amongst four people and is a common occurrence across the UK and in other countries, every single day. However, with anything like this, whether it is practical, or realistic, really depends on your own household and personal circumstances.
Firstly, it’s important to consider the make-up of your household. Whether it features parents and two children, you’re a single parent, or maybe you have elderly relatives living with you, every circumstance is going to be different. Things you will have to bear in mind when it comes to your own situation include everything from age and working habits, to any health requirements or personal preferences.
To evaluate this, it may be worth looking at your existing bathroom layout and also existing usage to see how a growing household may impact on you. This will allow you to establish what, if any, changes you need to make to better suit a bigger household or for elderly relatives. Read our guides on planning a family a bathroom and family bathroom ideas to get some inspiration of changes you can make.
As with anything, if you don’t want to rush a decision, it’s always worth seeing how it works out and put in place a system if that helps add some structure and fairness when it comes to bathroom usage and routines.
Jessica Morgan, a parent of two based near Bristol, and former parenting blogger, balances family life with her own business, Carnsight.com. She says of her own experience growing up: “We grew up with one bathroom as a house of five and managed fine.” However, with her own family, this has changed her opinions on the matter slightly: “But having had a family bathroom and an en-suite you definitely get used to have two different spaces, so I’d always choose to have more if that was possible. We also missed a downstairs bathroom when we didn’t have one.” She now states that she has four bathrooms after adding an extension with an en-suite and a downstairs bathroom too.
Emma Dunn, a parent of two boys aged 15 and 2, and blogger at Lipglossandcurves.com, also feels it is difficult to manage nowadays with a single bathroom for her family: “I used to struggle when it was myself and my 15-year old with one bathroom and no downstairs loo,” she says, before adding, “especially if I was in the bath and he needed the loo. I feel it is very hard no matter what size the family is to have just one toilet in the house.”
If you have a newborn, toddlers or infants, it is likely a single bathroom is going to be sufficient for your requirements as a family of three or four. Bathroom usage from young children will only extend as far as bath-time and using the toilet. Things like bath-time can be accommodated, away from morning times when other members are getting ready for work and school.
However, with teenage children and those entering adulthood, you may find it becomes more of a challenge to negotiate as morning time and evenings become busier. You might also find that as the household gets older, the bathroom becomes more popular with every member wanting to have their own personal items such as toothbrushes, toiletries, brushes and other beauty and grooming products handy, making space more of a necessity or requirement. Despite this, older households are also more aware of each other, so it doesn’t always mean big problems, though these issues can - and do - lead to understandable friction at times. More space, more bathrooms or even moving home can be a solution to avoid these.
It’s worth thinking about these issues as early as possible, in advance of starting a family or while children are still young. There is no definitive answer; each household is different, and whereas some can manage and cope quite easily, others can naturally find it more of a struggle.
Many of the issues stemming from sharing bathrooms can be easily resolved through setting ground-rules or agreeing a plan in advance, as well as being considerate of each other’s requirements. Examples include:
Living with a single bathroom as a family of four is certainly possible. But it’s worth consulting everyone to make sure you make the right choice for both yourself and the rest of your family.
Do you have any tips or advice for families on how to cope with a single bathroom? Share yours with us by getting in touch by social media or by contacting us directly and we’ll add them to the blog.
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