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 Linden, an interior and furniture designer at MirrorCoop in Los Angeles, recommends that bathrooms have two separate sinks if possible. And, sometimes, the bathrooms also have 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 Kallos, “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 Linden, 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, Linden 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,” Linden 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. Linden 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, toothpaste, etc.,” Linden explains.
According to Kallos, “The big hurdle for determining when to use a Jack and Jill bathroom is carving out the space and making certain that it is in the budget.” He recommends planning for this type of bathroom early. “As with many things, it’s much easier to incorporate a Jack and Jill bathroom in a new-build than in a remodel,” Kallos says. “A Jack and Jill requires additional square footage and plumbing compared to a conventional bathroom, so knowing this in the beginning stages of planning a new-build is essential.”
“The best use of a Jack and Jill configuration is to have direct access into the sink area from each bedroom,” Kallos says. “Often, due to a floor plan configuration or having three bedrooms share a bath, there needs to be a hall access, too, but there still should be private access from at least one bedroom.”
Effect on resale value
How do homebuyers feel about buying a house with a Jack and Jill bathroom?
Steve Gottlieb of Warburg Realty believes buyers will like the idea. “In general, if there is still a separate powder room or extra full bathroom for guests and creating a Jack and Jill bathroom eases day-to-day use, it can be a great choice.”
Steve Silva, also of Warburg Realty, thinks it’s a good idea when you have small kids, but warns that homeowners without small kids may want to use the bedrooms differently. “I’ve actually seen a situation where the master bedroom was off the living room, and so the master bathroom was also the bathroom guests would use,” he explains. Obviously, that’s not a good scenario.
Howard Margolis of Douglas Elliman is against them. “A Jack and Jill bathroom isn’t always appreciated and your privacy can be compromised,” he explains. “But if there is a need for an en-suite bathroom in the bedrooms and space is limited, then a Jack and Jill bathroom is always a viable option.”
What do you think of Jack and Jill bathrooms? Do you have one in your home? Let us know in the comments.