Living in a house with teenage boys? With fingerprints over the doorways from ‘dunking’ as they hustle through, to laundry baskets of dirty athletic-wear, your bathroom remodel is all about “the essentials.” You need cabinets that can take it, a shower built for their 6’3” frames and size 12 feet, bins for the (endless) laundry, and light. Light over the mirror, over the shower, and yes, over the toilet. Your teenagers are the light of your life, and the hole in your wallet. Bursting with life and energy, living with teenagers under your roof is not the time to dream of an all-white bathroom and a vase of fresh peonies on the vanity.

But, as we often tell customers sharing their space with teenagers, if chaotic color or dark and heavy décor is not your thing, its likely not theirs either. We see article after article about décor for teenagers suggesting vivid colors, kid-specific shower curtains, miles of plastic bins without a word about lasting style. Or lighting. So here are two topics we suggest for busy parents that want this bathroom reno to work seamlessly with the rest of the house.

Simplicity. Think black vanity and white walls. Or, a bronze vanity and warm, light grey walls. A dark and dreary bathroom is a pleasure, said no one, ever. But does that mean it needs to look like Sesame Street in there? Clutter is enough of a problem with teens. Storage built into the vanity keeps the clutter down. Towel bars or hooks near the sink and the shower in a modern shape lend a little architecture. Mirrors over the vanity in the same finish as the fixtures don’t have to be boring. Here’s a tip: many of our vendors make collections that work together: mirrors and lighting that add style. Keep it clean, simple and handsome in there.

Utility. Buy bathroom linens that are consistent with the rest of the family laundry. Those Badger red towels seem like a fun pop of color now. But when you are teaching your college bound kid how to do the laundry it takes just one errant red hand towel to foul up a load of whites. Ditto the shower curtain. … Been there.

Less is more. Keep the tchotchkes out and there will be fewer surfaces to clean. They are teenagers, there will be hair products; in fact the vanity may be covered with them. A tray to collect that clutter is helpful.

Forget carpet or rugs in this bathroom. You will hate it. Think tile or luxury vinyl tile that’s easy to mop and wipe down.

Let there be light over the sink and beside the sink, just like yours. We live in a place that gets dark a lot. There is nothing like light especially as they start to care about how they look (see hair products, above). Sealed, recessed lighting in the shower is fantastic for him to see how dirty his feet got while playing flag football with his cousins. And also, see the inevitable ring around the bathtub when you hand him the bathroom cleaner and scrubbing sponge. A well-lit bathroom is a pleasure to use. Plan for it, as you check off your bathroom reno list, with a lighting designer at Madison Lighting. It’s all part of the service here.