Past, Present, And Future Of The Jack and Jill Bathroom

If you’ve watched much HGTV, you’ve heard of Jack and Jill bathrooms. But the term is often used in a way that confuses viewers. Does a Jack and Jill bathroom just mean two sinks? The short answer is “no.” 

A Jack and Jill bathroom is so much more than just a bathroom that has two sinks for a couple to share. Let’s learn together what a Jack and Jill bathroom refers to and what you need to know before getting one yourself. 

History Of Jack And Jill Bathrooms

Jack and Jill Bathroom
Via Big-D Signature

Jack and Jill bathrooms have been around for centuries. However, they weren’t known as Jack and Jill bathrooms until the 1900s. The first reported use was in the 1960s by Abilene Reported News in Texas. 

But these bathrooms weren’t originally intended for couples. No, couples had no trouble sharing one sink and they didn’t need two entries. Jack and Jill bathrooms were originally designed for siblings. 

You see, 1965 showed us a spike in the number of kids in each family. No year since then has been as high as it was in 1965. Most families have one or two kids today. But in the ’60s, it wasn’t uncommon for families to have five kids or more.

For this reason, Jack and Jill bathrooms were invented. Kids would share one bathroom, coming in from different rooms. Back then, it was important that one be able to enter the bathroom from their room. 

People were just starting to have indoor bathrooms, and no longer used outhouses. They wanted to make this as pleasant as possible, so easy access was a must. That is, if the home’s layout permitted such a feat. 

Jack And Jill Bathrooms In Movies And TV

Via All About Home Design

From The Brady Bunch to Four Christmases, you can see Jack and Jill bathrooms in all types on TV and on movies. This has been true for decades and is still true today. These appearances have no doubt made Jack and Jill bathrooms even more popular.

Jack and Jill bathrooms have even been romanticized. You brush your teeth together, you do your makeup together, whatever it is, you do together. Another reason these bathrooms are so popular is that people idealize them.

People want large bedrooms, plenty of counter space, and of course, a Jack and Jill bathroom. It’s often on their checklist. Sometimes, they know exactly why. Other times, they simply want to have the best of the best. 

Shared Between Two Rooms

Via Kerstin Dieterich Designs

A Jack and Jill bathroom is technically a bathroom with two doors coming into it. The two rooms are usually rooms that belong to siblings. But, in families with one or no children, the bathroom connects other rooms.

Oftentimes, one of these rooms is a guest room. This means, whoever is in the room on the other side has a private bathroom unless they have guests. This is a great way to save money as putting in a bathroom that isn’t used is a waste. 

In one-bedroom houses, the bathroom is accessible from that bedroom, as well as the hallway. This way, guests have access to the bathroom without walking through the bedroom. And homeowners have access from their own bedroom. 

Modern Usage

View in gallery
Via Think Architecture Inc.

As with most older terms, Jack and Jill bathrooms have been modernized. This time, so severely that they can now mean a completely different thing. It no longer simply means a bathroom with two doors like it used to.

Most of the time, a Jack and Jill bathroom refers to a bathroom with two sinks. Unless a professional is using the term, this is the modern usage of Jack and Jill bathroom. People assume that just because it has two sinks, it’s a Jack and Jill bathroom.

This is almost true. You can say that the bathroom has Jack and Jill sinks, which is common in bathrooms that have one entrance. But unless there are two entrances, it isn’t technically a Jack and Jill bathroom.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use the term in that way. It just means that if you do use it, specify that you mean the bathroom has two sinks, but one entrance. It also means that when a realtor says it, they mean two entrances. 

Bathroom For The Master Bedroom

Via McAdams Remodeling And Design

This is the most common way to use a Jack and Jill bathroom. In this case, though, the second door is often omitted. Or, it can lead to a closet. A bathroom that leads to a bedroom and a closet can be considered a Jack and Jill bathroom.

In large houses, Jack and Jill bathrooms that lead to a master bedroom often have two bathrooms. A closet, shower, or sitting room can be between them with the master bedroom on the other side.

This is quite costly, but if you have the money and space, then there’s no reason not to do it. Who doesn’t want their very own bathroom? Otherwise, you have to share with your spouse, which isn’t always ideal. 

Hiding The Toilet Away

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For added privacy, a toilet stall is often installed in a Jack and Jill bathroom. This is in case someone is using the other sink or one of the doors isn’t locked. Even if you have a small bathroom, you can hide the toilet away.

Thin walls are all you need to create a stall. Close in the toilet so that whoever is using it feels safe. Just know that in a small bathroom, it can be quite cramped if you add the extra walls. Those with claustrophobia beware. 

Another reason to add a stall if you have the room is for children. Children deserve the privacy of a bathroom stall. But young children shouldn’t be left behind locked doors for too long. It’s important that they are monitored. 

Locking The Doors

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It’s important to make those using a Jack and Jill bathroom feel safe. Because of this, you’ll need to install locks on both doors. Inside and out. Inside locks should remain unlocked unless someone is in the bathroom.

Outside locks should remain locked unless someone is in the bathroom. It sounds a little confusing, but once you start utilizing the locks, it will become natural. You lock the door when you use the bathroom, this is just one extra lock to check. 

Note: if you have kids, make sure they know never to lock the outside of the bathroom without making sure no one is in there. Accidents can happen and people can get locked in if you’re not careful. 

Double Everything

Via THINK Architecture Inc.

You don’t just need two doors in a Jack and Jill bathroom. Two sinks are almost always installed, but the doubles don’t stop there. Two towel rods, two light switches, and two shelves are often added as well.

In fact, anything you can put two of is great. Although, it’s not recommended to put two toilets, for obvious reasons. For couples, you can even put a shower and a bathtub separate. And for all others, two of everything else is perfect. 

Related: 40 Bathroom Color Schemes You Never Knew You Wanted

It’s not sanitary to use the same hand towel as someone else, so make sure there are two on hand. As for cabinets, it’s ideal to put one over each sink and one under. This way, each person has their own space.

Cost Of A Jack And Jill Bathroom

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Adding a Jack and Jill bathroom can be expensive. Even the cheapest Jack and Jill bathroom can cost $10,000. This is because plumbing is needs, extra walls are needs, two doors need to be installed, and so on. 

You probably won’t pay over $100,000. But if you can afford a $100,000 bathroom, then the price doesn’t really come into the equation as the budget is out the window. Luckily, there is a cheaper way to do this. 

A cheaper way to get a Jack and Jill bathroom is to convert a regular bathroom into one. If the plumbing is already there, all you have to do is add an extra door. This is extremely cheap and can be done by an entry-level worker.

From there, it’s all preference. Add another sink to create an ideal Jack and Jill bathroom. You can even do very cost-efficient additions like two laundry baskets, wastebaskets, and shelves. And definitely two mirrors

Value Of A Jack And Jill Bathroom

The reason why adding Jack and Jill bathrooms is so expensive yet everyone does it, is because they add so much value. Anything you can do to add resale value to your house is worth it. Unless of course, this is your forever home. 

If that’s the case, then do what makes you happy. Your happiness will tell you if it’s worth it or not. Will it add convenience, peace of mind, and quality of life? Then do it! Don’t hesitate. That’s what interior design is all about anyway!