bathroom overload

August 6, 2019

Just curious as to why every family member requires there own bathroom? Plans with each bedroom with their own en-suite seem more prevalent. Why would one want to clean all of that? Not to go to “in my day” but there were 7 of us with two baths and only one shower, and that was only in the 90’s.

Comments (39)

  • cpartist

    I'm with you. I don't understand it. In most families, the husband and wife share a bath so why can't the kids?

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    I clean bathrooms or check toilet paper and supplies at odd times of day, I don’t want to have to go through the kids’ bedrooms to do that.

    Bathrooms are expensive, why would you want more than necessary? DH grew up in a family of 9 with 2 baths. I grew up in a family of 5 with 7 baths. Somewhere in the middle would be perfect.

  • chispa

    Cindy, be honest though, if there were 7 of you now, would you buy a house with 1-1/2 baths? Probably not, but you wouldn't want to go to the other extreme and have 6-1/2 bathrooms either. With 7 people, 3-1/2 bathrooms would probably work just fine for most.

    In the late 90s and 2000s every new house had to have the two story foyer and two story great room. You don't see those as much now, but they now market the idea of "family peace" with a bathroom for every bedroom. What the builders are promoting changes every few years, so the bathroom overload might change in the future.

    I don't care how many bathrooms a person chooses to add to their house ... just don't make them jack-and-jill ... I hate those! :-)

  • PRO

    I have no problem with children sharing a “family bath”, depending on the number of children. I never liked sharing a bath with my husband, especially as we got older. He used another bath.

    If if I were building a big house, I’d have the children share and I’d have his/her baths and also separate closets.

    BTW, children can be made responsible for cleaning their own room an their own or a shared bath.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Bathroom overload...the mind boggles at the possible imagery...

  • doc5md

    I have patients with bathroom overload... but that is a different topic entirely!!!! LOL

    In our case, our kids share a bathroom currently, but in the new house they will each have their own. Mostly for privacy reasons as we have one girl and one boy... and puberty. :/

    They will have to clean their own for the privilege of having their own! :)

  • Karen Rose

    My kids (now 16 and 18 with the 18 year old off to college this weekend) shared their J&J (I know, but the house was built in 2003) until around 2 years ago when my son couldn’t handle my daughter’s messiness and gross hair in the shower (I don’t blame him, she’s a mess). Unfortunately he moved to the guest bath. So now I just have 4 messy bathrooms anyway and no clean ones for the guests. I like everyone having their own bathroom and a guest bathroom that never gets used except when guests come over. Younger kids a shared bath works, but not for older kids.

  • CindyR

    Honestly, I don’t care what people do with their money.

    My kids are now 31, 26 and 13 (males).

    Only my own personal observation:
    A difference I have seen with raising my now adult children vs. my 13-year-old: the younger generation tends to be more selfish and self-centered. When they grow up and have to share a home with a partner or spouse, it will be a big awakening because it won’t be “all about them” any longer.

    Also - people may have maids so they don’t care about cleaning.

    This can be a very slippery slope to go down so I think I will stop here...

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Even our cats have their own bathroom. They get the half-bath off the laundry.

    I had my own bathroom growing up, my brothers shared a jack-n-jack-. I didn’t like that I couldn’t blame any mess on them :(

  • Mrs Pete

    I agree that many houses on this board are over-bathed:

    - More money spent in building: more square footage for every extra bath, more plumbing, more expensive materials.

    - More money spent every year on taxes, and that cost is out of your control.

    - More things to break and cost big (we've recently renovated a leaky shower, and it was both trouble and money). Plumbing spread all over the house provides more opportunity for leaks.

    - More to clean. Even if the kids are doing it (when they're old enough /still at home), you still have to monitor their work because, well, they're kids. Even if you're paying someone else to do it, that's money out of your pocket /scheduling to keep up.

    - More rooms to keep stocked with soap, TP and more.

    - When you're washing towels, more stops to make as you gather up "dirties". More stops to make returning them to their places.

    And all this for what purpose? So no one has to share /no one ever has to wait a few minutes? Nope, not my idea of a good idea /good use of resources.

    and also separate closets.

    I have separate walk-in closets, and I don't love it. When I'm putting away clothes, I constantly find one item of his mixed in with mine, and I have to go back to "his closet" to put it away. Nope, one big one is more functional.

    I don't care how many bathrooms a person chooses to add to their house ... just don't make them jack-and-jill ... I hate those! :-)

    I don't mind a Jack & Jill, as long as it's designed well; the trouble is, so few are designed well.

    A difference I have seen with raising my now adult children vs. my 13-year-old: the younger generation tends to be more selfish and self-centered. When they grow up and have to share a home with a partner or spouse, it will be a big awakening because it won’t be “all about them” any longer.

    Consider this too, those kids who've never shared are going to go live in a college dorm /share a large communal bathroom.

  • artemis_ma

    I can't remember anything before the age of two, but when we lived in a 3-bedroon NYC apartment from age 2-11, there was ONE bath. All four of us shared it, including parents.

    After we moved to the 'burbs, parents had their own master bath, and my brother and I shared the other bath, along with any houseguests. I think it is good training to learn to share when young. And to keep up after that shared room at the same time.

    In my current home, I have three baths. Yes, a bit overboard for just me but this is why: One is a master bath - a slight indulgence. The second is for day guests and overnight guests (the nearest motel is a ramshackle lodging 20 minutes away I'd never send ANYONE to - anything I'd send ANYONE to is at least 40 minutes away, and that in my mind is just RUDE). So that bath is necessary as a full bath, not just a half bath. And I'd like overnight guests to have their own space, they'd appreciate.

    The third is downstairs in the walkout basement - a mudroom clean-off point. I farm (just beginning, I don't yet have livestock other than chickens) and seriously don't want to track crud and farm muck through the house to get to the upstairs bathrooms. It's a basic bath with a prefab shower and a large plastic utility washup sink. I consider it a "mudroom bath".

    Oh, the cat's bathroom is right outside that last bathroom door. Two pans, but open-air to the rest of the (unfinished) basement. All their food and such is stored in the "mudroom bath". Their dining room is there, too. As well as one watering station - another is upstairs in my kitchen.

  • aprilneverends

    Oh but I have to go to "in my day" lol-we shared our bathroom with another family, 6 of us, 2-3 of them

    I was just fine with it but I was little thus fine with many things

    we moved at certain point-I mean weren't sharing with another family anymore-had one small bath, felt like kings.

    (as for my parents-I think my Dad's family had more, like, twenty families to share with--and was an outhouse. No, was not a distant farm-their building was in the center of a big city.

    So we can see a huge progress..)

    Now we have three bathrooms-the master, the hall/kids/guests' one, and a tiny powder room..we remodeled specifically to enlarge master, get more storage, and add this tiny powder room, because it's a relatively small house and we were preparing it for us, two teens, and my MIL-and with our bunch, the more bathrooms the better

    Of course took two years to remodel so in despair, after living for a year everybody together we rented then bought a condo for MIL(very close to us and she loves her independence), and kids started leaving for colleges laid plans..

    it's still too small of a house when all of us or some of us plus guests are there..but nice knowing that my MIL would be covered when she needs to be here, and here she'd be, at some point.

    My kids were in private schools so yes most of their classmates had their own bath in their rooms and a maid too, very often. And we spent some years in rental apartments. So my kids when they got to that age when one compares, told me once "you know we're the only ones who blablah share and blablah" and I laughed and suggested for them to invite their classsmates to our place so they'd immerse themselves in a different experience. Which I suspect is much closer to reality. We had 2 bathrooms back then in these rentals , I thought myself very rich. Of course kids were little and were just four of us, so it's different. The more generations under one roof-the bigger the challenge.

  • tiggsy

    y does it seem like such a sin of children have their own bathrooms if the person can afford ? There is a constant refrain when plans are presented with 'get rid of those separate bathrooms and make the kids share one' Is that the only way kids learn to share? ven before they can even use a bathroom properly, kids get lessons in sharing, from toys parents energy, attention etc. Frankly if we are talking about life lessons, learning to clean and maintain a bathroom as well as getting the dirty towels, washing and returning them are all great life lessons too. Some of the most selfish people I know shared bathrooms with siblings hated it and were determined to never share anything again.

  • CindyR

    Tiggy: I didn’t read that anyone said it was a “sin” for people to have multiple bathrooms. As of now, our country is still free and people can spend, design, built whatever they want within the law. I only spoke for my own personal experience.

    The trend right now may be for multiple bathrooms, pushed by the building industry because in order to keep them in business people must build, design, spend money or their industry goes stagnant. Butlers’ pantries are the same: they look cool, it gives home decorating bloggers clicks (they always need to be doing something on their homes or people won’t follow them).

    Most people already have master bathrooms, so naturally the rest of the house needs new bathrooms. Keeps people spending money. Keeps people clicking. Keeps our economy going.

    But - I don’t care how many bathrooms people have.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    I grew up in a home in a family of six with three bathrooms. One was in the house and two seats were behind the barn.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Sears catalog...?

  • worthy

    I purposely never plumbed our three-bedroom Kawartha Lakes cottage to deter visitors. (Only put in a septic system and plumbing two months before listing and selling it.)

    Our homes since the '80s have only had five-six bathrooms, which made them harder to sell. Next one has six ensuites plus two powder rooms. (I'll have more bathrooms than changes of underwear.)

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    That last bit of information will be in the next edition of Trivial Pursuit - Houzz Version.

  • lexma90

    I agree, I don't think every kid needs a bathroom. We're building an empty-nester house right now, but with 3 bedrooms upstairs for resale. Our younger daughter, in college so still coming home during her breaks, REALLY wanted a jack and jill bathroom between "her" room and the other upstairs bedroom (which will be spouse's office/junk room). She prefers it because she doesn't want to have to go into the hallway to get into the bathroom. That's a perspective I haven't heard on the jack-and-jill debate, but it makes some sense.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Wow! A jack and jill bathroom because someone doen't want to walk into a corridor.

    That's truly a first-world problem.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    I can remember my indignation when my mother announced that my younger sister and I would no longer be allowed to share a bath. I had no clue, so her timing must have been perfect.

  • Cheryl Hannebauer

    childhood home 5of us, one bathroom, hubby 6 of them, one bathroom, our 1st house, 2 bathrooms, 1upstairs & power room on the mainfloor. 2nd house with 2 sons, 3 bathrooms, master main & one in the basement area. 3rd house- 3 full bathrooms & powder room, currently- new build master ensuite & main bathroom. Drove me nuts having to clean 4 bathrooms in the previous house.

  • worthy

    I had no clue

    Same memory! It was a simple observation that I verbalized.

    (Still like sharing baths....)

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    I think at this point we are still in the PG rating range . . . so far.

  • worthy


  • shead

    "That's truly a first-world problem."

    As are 99.9% of the problems/dilemmas posted on this site ;-)

    @lexma90, I think your daughter's sentiment are valid. I wouldn't want to have to walk into the corridor, either, if I didn't have to. There is a greater sense of privacy and comfort knowing that if someone forgot an article of underclothing, they didn't have to streak back to their bedroom to retrieve it. That's why I prefer my closets to open into the bathroom area as well. To each his own.

  • shead

    My four kids (2 boys, 2 girls) share the one main level hall bathroom for the time being. It has worked but not without some issues that had to be worked through and not without a whole lot of MESS. In our upcoming addition, the girls will get their own ensuite bathroom and closet that they will share and one son will continue to use the hall/guest bath and the other will move to the basement, where there is a full bathroom that DH and I are currently using. I think with the layout of our house, that will be perfect. I think the bigger issue is whether the bathrooms are strategically located versus the total number of them. I have a friend with 8 kids and she designed a boys' bath and a girls' bath side by side in her upstairs that has 4 bedrooms. Some might think that's odd to have two full baths side by side but it saved on plumbing and allows her kids to take their baths more efficiently by having separate bathrooms.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    I don't know...every time I scroll by the title of this thread, "Bathroom Overload" I am reminded of some of my overloaded experiences in a bathroom...

    So far I've resisted the temptation to elucidate, but there was that time, not long ago, on the road to Dallas at a 7-11...

    Has anyone seen the movie "A Bridge Too Far"...?

  • Keepthefaith MIGirl

    We consciously detached all bathrooms from guest rooms so our grown kids wouldn't get any clever ideas about getting comfortable in OUR new 'retirement lake house' - - funny thread you started -thanks for the giggles!

  • Junk*Salvation

    My kids share a bathroom now but on our next build, they will not. We are in the teen years and I can not tell you how many arguments arise just from that single bathroom. In the meantime, I've been teaching them how to clean a bathroom properly because I can guarantee I do not plan to be their maid for life. When we move, I will be putting a set of cleaning tools under the sink in each bathroom & will expect to see them used. Clean their bathroom, or lose other privileges (since having your own bathroom is clearly a privilege and not a need). It'll be their choice to make and I'm sure we'll have some bumps along the way. But, it was a stipulation I made when agreeing to them not sharing a bathroom in this next house.

  • CJ Haus

    While the OP said she doesn't care how others spend their money, some other posters apparently get pretty bent out of shape over the thought of private bathrooms. I love the outhouse references, since they sound like the old folks who sit on the Board of Equalization for our county property tax office. They had a fit over the number of bathrooms in our house when I appealed an excessive assessment. I was subjected to 20 minutes of stories about how they grew up without running water before we could move on to address the assessment. (I won my appeal, despite the tsk-tsking by a few board members.)

    Our kids shared a hall bathroom when they were little. By the time they were teens we'd moved to a house with en suite bathrooms for each bedroom. They survived college and are now happily married. One couple, without children, chose to assign the master bathroom to the wife and a nearby hall bathroom to the husband. That seems to be common among couples we know.

    When we chose to remodel our master bathroom after a shower pan failure, we designed the new bathroom with two water closets. Each has a window as well as a vent fan, is generously sized and has an outswing door. Between the water closets is a large shower, so no sound transmission between the two water closets. My husband is happy he doesn't have to trek down the long hall to the powder room. Our guests are also happy when they stay overnight and have their own en suite bathrooms.

    One more thing, consider that people with Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's or IBS are likely to especially appreciate not having to wait in line for the facilities. You may never know the reason why someone chooses to design their home in a way that doesn't appeal to you.

  • Lyndee Lee

    When we were looking for a house in the early 90s, the runner up house was a large ranch house built for a local bank president in the late 40s. That house had 4 full baths: master, second bedroom, Jack and jill between bedrooms 3 & 4, and full bath in maid's room. There was a main floor powder room, a half bath in the basement man cave and finally, a half bath in the garage for the chauffeur. While extra bathrooms weren't common at that time, they weren't unknown either.

    It was a high end custom house with not much thought given to cost and definitely too much house for a young couple. I am so glad it was priced unrealistically high and the owners were willing to wait for a buyer because otherwise we might have bought it. Instead we ended up with a top quality smaller home built in 1931 with only 3 bedrooms and 1 full and 1 half bath. A second full bath would have been nice but we did just fine with two adults and two kids sharing one bathroom.

  • functionthenlook

    I had no problem before sharing the bathroom with my 2 kids and hubby. Never heard anyone of them complain either. We did have 2 other bathrooms, but they were on different floors from the bedrooms. I feel I am the only one who doesn't like master bathrooms. I have one in my present house and after 5 years I still don't like having a bathroom in my bedroom. If it wouldn't hurt resale I would change it into another closet.

  • aprilneverends

    CJ Haus, just in case you're referring to my post as well-I very unfortunately have UC and all other sorts of things running in my immediate family, I know it very well fist hand, and I, personally, didn't get bent out of shape. Like, at all. I'm sorry if my writing came across as such-but truly was the last thng on my mind to judge others' choices. We ourselves poured tons of money in our remodel precisely to have a) a larger bath with all we need and b) powder room. Required addition and whatnot.

    But 30 years ago wouldn't be possible for my family whatever problems they might have had. Different times, different country, you name it.

    Was just sharing my experiences-and how it changed with time.

    Now I consider 3 bathrooms neccessary for my family-but why not to remember how I'm lucky, well lucky at least in that, from time to time? These are just my musings, others might have theirs.

    I don't know how old I sound, but I assure you I'm not even vintage yet:)

    And obviously millions of people grew up like me, or better, or worse, or much worse-and they all grew up to be very different people. Experiences, memories, family dynamics shape us of course-but amount of bathrooms people had when they were kids wouldn't be at the top of the list, that's very obvious I'd think, and my impression wasn't that somebody was arguing that. Much more goes into bringing up a gracious person, whether it happens in a mansion or in a hut.


    The kids can is I who desire my own! Lucky for me, the husband can’t stand our small, circa 1957 master with pink toilet and small shower so he uses the guest bath and shares with the kid, and I get the Mamie Eisenhower goodness all to myself. When I win the power ball, I’m making two master baths.

  • jkm6712

    Growing up, my family of 8 managed with only one bathroom - and I designed our retirement home so that it is overloaded with bathrooms! We have 4 bedrooms all with attached baths (there's also a powder room), and my 6 houseguests last week were very comfortable. When it's just DH and I, he has exclusive use of one of the first floor bathrooms with an adjacent walk in closet, I have the other. Yes, it's a luxury, and I love it.

  • everdebz

    1 outhouse had 2 seats - and 2 would sit there together!

  • Mrs Pete

    y does it seem like such a sin of children have their own bathrooms if the person can afford ? There is a constant refrain when plans are presented with 'get rid of those separate bathrooms and make the kids share one' Is that the only way kids learn to share?

    That's some heavy-handed wording, but I'd say it's a mistake to over-bath because none of us -- no matter how much money is in our bank accounts -- is entitled to use up an excessive amount of the world's resources just because we feel like it.

    You could take this argument to extremes and say that most families could survive in something around 1000 square feet, but that's an extreme argument. If you live in an average American 3 bedroom/2 bath with indoor plumbing, insulation, and a non-leaking roof, you're probably living better than about 98% of the humans who've ever inhabited this planet -- do we need to go above and beyond that very-comfortable-average-for-today? Can the Earth afford for us to push beyond that very-comfortable-average-for-today?

    Wow! A jack and jill bathroom because someone doen't want to walk into a corridor.

    That's truly a first-world problem.

    You're not wrong to say it's a first-world problem, but a bathroom connected to your bedroom IS a nicety -- you can enter the bathroom in any state of dress (or undress). I personally never had a master bath IN my bedroom until I was married at 24 ... that and having washer/dryer of my very own seemed like such incredible luxuries ... and they still do. We recently replaced our leaky master shower, and I did not enjoy leaving my bedroom /walking down the hall to use the kids' shower ... it's a perfectly good shower, and I have no complaints about it, but I very much missed the convenience of walking out of my shower /into my closet with just a towel around my wet hair.

    However, layout out bathrooms so that they're private doesn't have to increase the overall number of bathrooms.

    Drove me nuts having to clean 4 bathrooms in the previous house.

    This is the #1 reason I advocate moderation in bathrooms. No one likes cleaning them (even people who are paid to clean them), and it's a constant chore ... and if we're talking about excessive baths, it's a pointless chore.

    One of the things that excites me most about my new house plans: Instead of a powder room for our guests, we're attaching a powder room to our master bath. One toilet downstairs /one toilet upstairs ... moderation in cleaning.

    While the OP said she doesn't care how others spend their money, some other posters apparently get pretty bent out of shape over the thought of private bathrooms.

    "Bent out of shape" is simply not true. It's a discussion of ideas.

    1 outhouse had 2 seats - and 2 would sit there together!

    Sounds like summer camp.

  • gthigpen

    My two teen girls share a bathroom. The idea was proposed by our architect of giving them each their own bathroom, but I 1) didn't want the extra expense of building that extra bathroom, 2) they can share, 3) I didn't want to clean the extra bathroom or really add it to their list to clean. They are responsible for cleaning their bathroom and they take turns every other week, so it's really no big deal. Even with that, it's rarely clean to my satisfaction, I can't imagine if they each had their own to deal with and how much more arguing that would incur.

    My oldest recently asked if she could take over our seldom used guest bathroom and I said no way. It's the one bathroom in the house that always looks nice and neat and I want to keep it that way! :)

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