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What Is a Jack and Jill Bathroom?

Since Jack and Jill went up the hill together they must have done everything else together too, right? A Jack and Jill bathroom is a bathroom that is both private and shared by two connecting bedrooms. The tradition has been around for a long time and made relatively famous in the 1950s and 1960s in shows like The Brady Bunch.

The Jack and Jill bath has been around for much longer though. Since in the early days of indoor plumbing it was an inexpensive way to give private bathroom access to two different bedrooms, kind of like a shared en-suite.

It can certainly make it much easier for larger families to live peacefully and affordably, but there are lots of unique things to consider with a Jack and Jill bathroom that you may not have thought about both positive and negative.

Pros of Jack and Jill Bathroom

A Jack and Jill bathroom is one of the most efficient uses of space you can get. You can get multiple occupants a semi-private bathroom with access directly from their bedroom rather than the hallway (a major plus) and you only have to outfit one bathroom rather than two or three.

Jack and Jill bathrooms are meant to be fully functional for two or more people, though they can certainly be designed or utilized by more than two. That means that unlike standard full baths there are traditionally three to five pieces. In other words, there are generally two sinks, one toilet, and one bathing area: usually a shower-tub combination or even a great old clawfoot tub.

Cons of a Jack and Jill Bathroom

Nobody wants to be disturbed in the bathroom and when a bathroom is shared that is an inevitable occurrence. You may get a lot of other efficiencies with a Jack and Jill bathroom, but you will certainly be sacrificing some privacy.

One of the best things you can do to create a little more privacy in a Jack and Jill bathroom is to create a private toilet by placing the toilet in a small water closet. By having the toilet in an individual closet, the rest of the shared portion of the bathroom gives each user extra privacy so the bathroom can be used at the same time and avoid awkward meetings.

You’ll also need to have looks on both sets of door as well and the private toilet room if you go that route.

Jack and Jill Design Options

While the location of a Jack and Jill bathroom won’t change, the exact design of the bathroom is easily customizable to fit almost any space. Many renovators hesitate to add the Jack and Jill format because of the mistaken belief that this floor plan requires a lot of space.

The truth is that a Jack and Jill layout is forgiving for tighter spaces and while it’s typically located between two bedrooms you can do a Jack and Jill layout that includes multiple entrances Here are a few common customizations:

  1. Access from two bedrooms
  2. Access from one bedroom and hallway
  3. Access from two bedrooms and hallway

One Sink or Two

The most basic format for this style of bathroom that is sure to create some traffic issues is a single sink and vanity. I wouldn’t recommend this having grown up with one when I visited my grandparents house. It was always a fight for the sink.

The simple way to avoid conflicts in the bathroom is to give each resident a sink all to themselves. This is by far the most common upgrade for a Jack and Jill bathroom and one of the easiest. Use a double vanity or go with separate vanities to create even more privacy and storage.

Jack and Jill bathroom

Bedroom & Guest Access

This is a great option for homes where a connected bathroom is desired in a home where there isn’t space for a public bathroom for guests to use.

Instead of having a bathroom that is completely landlocked between two bedrooms you end up with a bathroom that has private access from one bedroom and access from the hall for guests. You can have your cake and eat it too.

No Guest Access

A Jack and Jill bathroom is not a good option if you need a bathroom for guests to access unless you exercise the option above. Since the only way you can get to most Jack and Jill’s is through a private bedroom which may or may not be something the owner of that bedroom is comfortable with.

Using a Jack and Jill bathroom as the only bathroom on a ground floor is usually not a good idea. If you have the room for even a half bath that guests can use then you may be able to pull off a Jack and Jill.

Pocket Doors

In tight spaces like this it’s best to utilize pocket doors so every inch of the bathroom is accessible. IT’s a simple opportunity to get space that I see missed quite often.

Functional Considerations

The unique layout of a Jack and Jill bathroom requires some unique functional considerations. This may mean three-way lights on either side of the bathroom, locks for all the doors, multiple vents for the separate toilet option, and other features that might make the space easier to navigate, such as specialized pull-out storage for small spaces. These functional upgrades can elevate the bathroom space into a much more appealing space that, again, helps avoid conflicts.

Jack and Jill bathrooms are valuable additions to any home, especially homes built before the 1950s that are being remodeled for contemporary living.

While ideal for larger homes and larger families, a Jack and Jill format for the bathroom can save space, save money, and add value to your home, and you can customize them to fit your space.

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3 thoughts on “What Is a Jack and Jill Bathroom?

  1. My childhood best friend’s house had a weird variation on this. The master bedroom’s ensuite had a door leading to a second full bath that was accessible from the hall. Is it still a Jack and Jill if the second access point is another bathroom? The home was an otherwise perfectly normal 70s ranch style 3 bedroom.

  2. I’ve lived with a JnJ bathroom for 25 years and hate it. Privacy may be relative, but that’s a moot point with JnJs because there is no privacy. Unless you install soundproof walls, you will achieve a level of intimacy with your bathroom mates you probably never aspired to. And try solving the locked door problem. If you install locks so you can approach a modicum of privacy, you have to remember to unlock the other door as you leave, something not to be relied upon. I dream of moving to a 2bath house. Never again will I have a JnJ.

  3. Just my opinion, but I would never put in a jack and jill bathroom. I lived with this at one time. Always having to lock two doors, always having children barge in on each other, and no access from the hall was a big pain. I also think this might affect resale value – not everybody wants this. If I had a large number of kids, I’d put in a hall bath with two sinks and a toilet closet, and insist the entry door remain unlocked.

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