What You Need to Know about Jack and Jill Bathrooms

Jack and Jill Bathrooms allow occupants from two separate bedrooms to conveniently access the same bathroom. But how do you know if this is the right type of bathroom to include in your home? Freshome asked several experts to weigh in on the pros and cons, resale value and other factors you need to consider.

Nathan Outlaw, president at Onvico, a general contracting and design-build company in Thomasville, GA, says several homebuilders have requested Jack and Jill bathrooms in their new build. “They are a really good compromise to having a private bathroom for kids in the home,” Outlaw explains. “It keeps everything of theirs confined to their own space so it doesn’t spill into the hallway or guest bathrooms.”

John Lindon, an interior and furniture designer at MirrorCoop in Los Angeles, recommends that bathrooms have two separate sinks if possible. Jack and Jill bathrooms have two sinks and sometimes two mirrors. “This makes your bathroom much more functional since it can be used by two people instead of just one, which makes prep for bedtimes — brushing teeth, hair, etc. — way easier if you have kids that you need to set up for bed quickly and efficiently.”

“The Jack and Jill bathroom is great in leveraging a conventional bathroom’s wet area – the toilet and tub and/or shower – to multiple users – while providing them privacy,” according  to Jay Kallos, SVP of Architecture for Ashton Woods. “The configuration can include private sink areas for each bedroom that then connect to the communal toilet and bathtub area or two bedrooms can enter a shared sink area that then accesses the wet area.”

“Another great use I have seen for a Jack and Jill is for an elderly parent or disabled person living in the home and the bathroom is set up for ADA compliance,” Outlaw says. “It can lead to the hallway and to their room acting as a private bathroom to the room when needed or a guest bathroom if necessary.”

Elle H-Millard, CKD, CLIPP, Industry Relations Manager, National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and NKBA Insider, believes that Jack and Jill bathrooms are great for large families. “It is convenient if you have to accommodate two bedrooms and create a shared space.”

According to Jay Kallos, SVP of Architecture for Ashton Woods, “Depending on the user’s modesty, the sink areas can be shared at the same time, or is communal, while the wet area remains private.  This makes getting ready for school a little less arduous, as both “Jack” and “Jill” can use a feature of the bathroom at the same time instead of banging on the door waiting for one or another to finish.”

“I think the big issue with a Jack and Jill bathroom is when you have  unrelated guests in each of the connecting bedrooms,” Outlaw explains. “There can be some awkwardness as people try to share bathrooms or if someone forgets to lock one of the doors.”

H-Millard notes one privacy concern in particular. “With the Airbnb movement and people sectioning off part of their home, the Jack and Jill makes it challenging as it pertains to privacy concerns,” she says.

According to Lindon, the classic problem in these bathrooms is the lockout. “Since both doors need to lock from both sides, eventually someone will forget to unlock the door opposite their exit door after using the bathroom, leaving the bathroom inaccessible from that side.” However, Lindon says the solution to this problem is to use locks that can unlocked from either side of the doors.

“Definitely make sure everyone using the bathroom understands this, but all the lock should do is alert whoever wants to use the bathroom that it’s occupied,” Lindon says. “Past that, put a sign at eye level that reminds whoever is trying to get in to knock loudly before doing so.”

Another issue with two people sharing a bathroom is additional toiletry items. Lindon says it sometimes results in massive sprawl. “One way to eliminate the amount of ‘stuff’ associated with two people using one bathroom, is to have a single location for all toothpaste, etc., instead of having each sink lined with that person’s contact case, tooth paste, etc.,” Lindon explains.

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