Bathroom designs can be tricky to get right, particularly if you don’t have much space. If an ensuite reno is on the cards and you’re not sure where to start or what to choose, we’ve got your covered. Here, we share our insider tips for nailing the layout, finishes and inclusions.
Do wall-mount your vanity and toilet pan.
This instantly makes your ensuite look larger, plus it’s easier to clean. Wall-mounting the vanity and toilet pan means your floor tiles can extend to the walls, which makes the fixtures appear to ‘float’ above the floor. It’s particularly effective if you have a large or dark-coloured vanity as it means it won’t visually dominate the space. Wall-mounting fixtures also makes it easier to vacuum or mop the floor if space in your ensuite is tight.
Do put the shower at one end of the ensuite
You can then use a single piece of glass as a shower screen rather than needing a screen door. Specifying a screen door means you’ll have to use glass-patch fittings or hinges, which cannot be hidden from view, whereas a simple shower screen can be fixed along the bottom and side, creating a clean, minimal aesthetic. Again, it’s easier to clean too.
Do include a shower ledge or recessed alcove
And make it extend across the full width of the shower to visually elongate the room and create a sense of generosity within the design. A generous shower ledge or alcove also gives you plenty of room to store shampoo and soap, without the need for an applied shelf.
Don’t forget natural light
Natural light is an essential ingredient in any successful ensuite. If your location doesn’t allow for an external window, consider a skylight. I prefer to locate skylights to capture southern light, if possible, for a consistent light year-round, without the heat load a north- or west-facing skylight will create. An operable skylight is ideal to aide natural ventilation, but a fixed skylight will provide invaluable daylight if your budget doesn’t extend that far. Also, consider forming a skylight shaft to fit across the space to flood an entire wall with natural daylight.
Do keep the layout simple
Ensuites are generally smaller than family bathrooms so to optimise the space and prevent it from feeling cluttered, keep the layout simple. Placing the basin, toilet and shower along one wall keeps circulation space on the opposite side of the room, making the room appear bigger and feel more comfortable to move around in.
Do take a bold approach
Don’t be afraid to use colour or darker tones in your ensuite. A small space does not have to be all white. On the contrary, colour can be the must-have ingredient that gives your ensuite personality and a more intimate feel.
Don’t try to fit it all in
Unless you are lucky enough to own a large ensuite, don’t try to fit a family-sized bathroom into the space. Keep the bathtub in the family bathroom where your children can use it, consider a shower for your ensuite and add in smart storage or a slimline vanity as opposed to a bulky style.
Do include a large shower
For many of us, an ensuite is a sanctuary – somewhere to relax, unwind and refresh at the end of the day. If you have space, look to include a generous shower and enhance the experience by incorporating twin rails, a shower head with customisable showering options (you’ll find ones that allow you to choose a relaxing rain shower, an invigorating massage spray and more) and even a bench seat.
Do ensure continuity of style between your ensuite and master bedroom
It’s important to have a connection between the soft furnishings in your master bedroom and the hard surfaces in your ensuite as the two spaces adjoin each other. The colours and textures don’t have to be the same, but they should complement each other.
Don’t go for the cheapest quote
Never engage the tradesperson who offers a quote that is miles cheaper than the others – you will run the risk of poor quality and a half-finished bathroom that you have to live with for years. Best is to hire a licensed Builder who has responsibility for all trades (eg: Plumber/Electrician/Waterproofer/Tiler) and your one go-to person.
Do opt for neutrals for longevity
When it comes to the higher-end products such as showers, baths and basins, selecting a neutral palette means they’re less likely to date. Opting for neutrals for the big-ticket items in your ensuite makes it a blank canvas, which you can then update seasonally with less-costly statement pieces and colours, such as vanity-top accessories, towels and small storage.
Do choose the right surfaces
First impressions do count, but it’s what’s inside that really matters with bathroom surfaces. Select a ceramic or porcelain tile as your go-to flooring as the moisture in your bathroom won’t damage them. Ceramic basins are also a reliable and durable choice. The growing range of statement pieces and pedestal sinks available in these materials will make your space eye-catching without compromising on functionality and longevity.
Don’t skimp on tapware and showerheads
It is very tempting to opt for cheap taps and showerheads, however, it’s wise to pay more and get fixtures that will last. Not only are these fixtures continually exposed to moisture and human touch, but if a problem were to arise, the effort and cost required for maintenance and a potential repurchase can be significant.