Owning a house with an ensuite bathroom can be pretty convenient and relaxing. And the feeling that you get every morning when you step right into your bathroom after getting out of bed is priceless. But creating your dream bathroom can be pretty challenging, so we have prepared the following detailed guide to add an ensuite bathroom in your home to help make the process easier.
Ensuite bathrooms are secondary bathrooms attached and accessed only from the master bedrooms. (2) They are luxurious spaces designed for more than showering. An ensuite allows the occupants of the master bedrooms to enjoy some privacy and escape from everyone else in the house.
Bathrooms have evolved over the last few decades from a simple space to a cozy room that includes a toilet and a grooming space. So in this guide, we’ll show you what you need to add an ensuite in your bedroom or convert the adjoining room into a perfect retreat. We will also show you how to design your ensuite and make the most out of your small space.
Do I Need an Ensuite Bathroom in My House?
Well, an ensuite bathroom can be an excellent idea for anyone with extra space in his/her home. Not only will it make your life comfortable, but it will also increase the value of your home. And if you already have two bathrooms for every three bedrooms in your home, then the third bathroom should be an ensuite. (3)
But one of the main questions that baffle most homeowners is where should the ensuite be located? If you have a huge master bedroom, you can partition it or simply convert the adjourning room into a bathroom. With a vast bedroom, you will have to redesign the entire bedroom after partitioning it.
Factors to Consider Before Adding an Ensuite Bathroom to Your Home
The Cost of Installing an Ensuite Bathroom in Your Home
Unlike a simple bathroom, adding an ensuite can be pretty costly. The national average cost of installing a luxurious 100 sq. ft. spa-like ensuite in your home can be more than $75,000. (4) And this price varies depending on how elegant you need your space to be.
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Ideally, you can lower the price of the entire project by tapping into an existing plumbing line. So you need to build your ensuite next to another bathroom in the house on the same floor, or it can be above an existing room on the lower floor. And that is because redirecting the plumbing, particularly the waste pipes and soil stacks, can be pretty costly.
Therefore it’s easier to estimate the price of the other fixtures after you have sorted out the plumbing issues. After all, the existing plumbing line will help you determine the exact location of your new ensuite.
The average cost of adding a bathtub to your ensuite ranges between $1,339 and $6,819. And this includes the tub, labor, and modifications that you might do to make your new tub stand out. The average cost of the bathtub ranges between $200 and $8,500.
Expect to pay more than $200 for a steel bathtub and about $300 for an acrylic one. But if you want a stone, cast iron, and culture marble, you should be ready to pay more than $1000. (5). Therefore, you should always be prepared to pay more for a luxurious and high-quality bathtub that can convert an ordinary bathroom into a spa-like retreat.
The cost of a new shower varies widely depending on the type of shower you need and how you install it. The average price of installing a new shower is about $5,237, and this includes the cost of the showerheads, tiles, faucets, and material used. (6) Some of the best showers for ensuites are:
- Electric Shower
An electric shower can be pretty cost-efficient as it’s cheap to run and also purchase than the power showers. And that is because an electric shower heats only the water used when showering. So make sure you pick the right option for your home.
- Digital Shower
Another option for ensuite bathrooms is digital showers. Digital showers have wireless control units and precise temperature settings. Digital showers take the water from the hot and cold water tanks just like power showers.
The main difference between the digital shower and the other options is that you will never have to adjust the temperature manually. (7)
When selecting the proper shower enclosure, there are numerous factors you have to consider, and this includes the door style and type of enclosure. After all, different options in the market vary in shape and design. The most common enclosure shapes are curved, square and rectangle, and neo angled.
- Neo-Angle Enclosures
A Neo-angle enclosure is a stand-alone shower that you can install in either of the bathroom corners. This enclosure has a swing-hinged door usually positioned at the center for easy access.
- Square and Rectangle Enclosures
Square enclosures offer an excellent clean-lined design for a corner space. On the other hand, rectangle enclosures are quite standard, and they can provide colossal showering space. Rectangular enclosures can work with a wide range of doors.
- Curved Enclosures
Curved shower enclosures are usually placed in any bathroom corner to create more space for your bathroom. (8)
Some of the most common types of enclosure doors are:
- Sliding Doors: Sliding doors come in a wide range of prices, and they are ideal for small spaces. After all, sliding doors take a minimal amount of space in your bathroom. Just make sure the door is water-tight after being closed.
- Swinging Doors: Swinging doors, also referred to as pivot doors, open in a single smooth swing. And thanks to the small hinges attached to the top and bottom part of the shower, an all-glass enclosure with a swinging door can give you a modern look.
- Hinged Doors: Commonly used with neo-angle enclosures, hinged doors typically get installed to swing both in and out. Unlike swinging doors, this type of door hinge mounts on the side of the door. So make sure you confirm if the door has seal-through hinges for preventing leakages. (8)
Bathroom sinks are available in a wide range of fitting methods and materials. And the price of installing a bathroom sink ranges from $436.50 and $655.59. This price varies depending on the finish options, condition, and size of the job. (9)
The cost of the materials plus the basin ranges between $105.11 and $250.43. Basins designed for vanity features tend to be more costly than simple ceramic basins.
When it comes to toilets, you have two options; the standard toilets and the floating, wall-mounted option. The price of the floating wall-mounted options is about $6,000 (10), while a standard toilet with a height of about 14 inches goes for between $90 and $1500. And despite being expensive, buying a matching basin and floating toilet can give your ensuite a spa-like feeling.
Bathroom Taps and Other Hardware
In most cases, taps are usually an afterthought when renovating or installing a new bathroom. But a functional faucet can complement your sink, improve water-saving and make a stylish statement. When purchasing a faucet, you should consider the ones that can remain leak-free for a very long time.
When selecting a faucet for your sink, you should consider the type of tap your basin needs and the finishes you plan on adding to your sink. (11) The faucet’s price ranges from $10 to $900, with the traditional knobs going for about $10. The average cost of installing a bathroom faucet is about $350, and this includes the cost of labor and the tap, so make sure you do it right the first time. (12)
If you want something fancy, you should be ready to pay about $900 for a widespread faucet. But there are also many choices available at places like Amazon, such as this stylish bathroom faucet (Amazon link).
How Big Should an Ensuite Bathroom Be?
Generally, there is no fixed rule for the size of an ensuite; however, the latest trends suggest that they are getting luxurious and bigger. The most crucial elements in any master bathroom are lighting, towel rail, mirror, basin, shower, and bathtub. So you can even build an ensuite in the space of about 34 sq. ft., but the luxurious ones that usually occupy an adjoining room are great retreats that more than one person can use (1).
The luxurious ensuites feature a partitioned toilet region, two sinks, double walk-in showers, a dressing region, and even a bidet. Some spa-like ensuites even have entertainment facilities like sound systems and televisions. (1) So make sure you hire a bathroom designer to help you get the most out of your current space.
If you have a small space, you should go for space-saving features like a floating toilet, corner shower, and corner basins. But make sure you don’t create a tiny shower as the smallest one should be about 80cm quadrants. And anything smaller than this won’t be fun to use.
If you go for a wet room instead of a shower, you should ensure that you have more than enough space for the open-plan design. But make sure you create room for your toilet rolls and towels far away from the showerhead, or they will get wet when you are showering. Wet rooms are associated with fewer trip hazards than the traditional showering tray.
Wet rooms don’t need shower doors; instead, they use an enclosure that makes them perfect for folks with disabilities. (14) But if you go for a shower, you should ensure that the door opens outwards to help maximize the ensuite space.
How Do I Partition My Bedroom When Building an Ensuite?
Whether you’re partitioning an existing bedroom or creating a new room, you will have to construct extra walls. And in most cases, you will have to add a stud wall made from timber and then cover it with plasterboards. But for this project, you will need a structural metal frame that can support the wall-mounted fixtures.
This wall should also have enough cavity for concealing the additional storage, wiring, and concealed pipes. After all, metal studs are more robust than wooden ones and can’t be easily affected by moisture. (16)
Plumbing and Heating
If your home already has a combi boiler that provides hot water for the other bathrooms, then you will have to confirm if it can supply enough water for your new ensuite. You should also check the water pressure and purchase the right shower head and mixer taps to help pipe the water.
But most importantly, moving the soil pipe can be quite costly. So try and build the new bathroom near the existing soil pipe. Remember, the plumber will have to lift the floorboards when installing the new pipework, affecting the other rooms in the house.
The process of selecting the best types of lighting for your ensuite design can be pretty overwhelming. And that is because the shower, tub area, and vanity require different types of lightings that can make the entire bathroom feel cohesive and stylish. Therefore, you should consider the following:
- Side-Mounted Sconces
The best lighting for bathroom mirrors is the side-mounted sconces. You can mount them on the mirror directly with shades on the eye level to protect your eyes or on the sides of the mirror. You can also install pendants instead of sconces on either side of the mirror.
Even though it’s not mandatory for the sconces to resemble the overhead fixtures, they should have the same finishes to help enhance the bathroom’s design. But make sure you consider the following:
- You must install the shade opening of the down-light slightly below your eye level, and the one for up-light should be above the eye level.
- If you plan on centering the mirror right on top of the sink, you should install these lights a few inches to the right and left sides of the mirror.
Install wall-mounted sconces if:
- You need to light up the sides of your mirrors with a decorative touch.
- You want your vanity to become a perfectly lit station for your daily routine.
- You plan to add numerous mirrors with some small spaces between them or a single substantial narrow grooming mirror. (17)
- Layers of light
Your ensuite bathroom needs about three layers of lighting to enhance its beauty. The layers of light will ensure that light distributes evenly; the first layer should include light in the form of flush mounts, pendants, and chandeliers. The second layer also referred to as the task lighting, can come in handy when doing your routine grooming, like applying makeup or shaving.
The third and last layer aims to highlight the ensuite’s décor and architectural features. (17) Ensure all the lights installed inside the shower or bathtub region have an IP rating of between IP65 and IP67. (19)
Moisture buildup can promote the growth of fungus and mold in your private space. Moisture can also cause peeling of the wallpaper, funky smell, and even affect the plywood on some of your vanities. Therefore, make sure you install a window or vent fan to help pull the moisture outside.
The Design and Layout of Your Ensuite Bathroom
If your ensuite is enclosed from your bedroom, then you can either pick a different design or match it with the bedroom’s décor. And if the master bedroom has a serene and straightforward style, you can try a bold contrast for the bathroom. Remember, a patterned tile or bright colors can make a small space stand out.
Naturally, ensuites allow a wide range of creative designs and materials. There are some basic fixtures every bathroom must-have, and then there are other amenities that make a bathroom unique to the homeowner. So try and personalize your master bathroom as much as you can.
If privacy is not an issue, then an open-plan design can be ideal for you. An open-plan design features a wide entrance that makes it easy for you to maneuver in your ensuite. With an open-plan layout, your bathroom will feel roomier and lighter since everything will be visible.
If you’re not ready for full exposure, then you should consider installing a pocket door that can be tucked out of the way when it’s not in use. You should also consider connecting your bathroom and bedroom with the dressing region.
You can link the space by placing some wardrobes between the ensuite and bedroom, creating a self-contained dressing region for bigger bedrooms. But if you’re working with a small space, then built-in storage surrounding your ensuite’s door can do wonders. So here are a few ideas to help you design your new bathroom.
When designing the bathroom, make sure you leave a 36 inches wide path for free circulation in your ensuite. If you share the bathroom, you can leave another path of about 42 inches in front of your basins. This way, your spouse won’t bump into you when they pass near the sink while you’re brushing your teeth.
While determining the right size for your bathroom, you should consider if your space will be enough for more than two people. Make sure you leave enough room where possible to make it feel luxurious and look classy. (13) But creating the space in small-sized bathrooms can be pretty challenging; therefore, proper planning is mandatory.
Whether they are used daily or not, bathtubs should always be the focal point of the ensuites. Tubs are beautiful and essential when designing a vast bathroom. But make sure you leave more than enough space in front of your tub so that you can quickly enter and exit after bathing.
Most tubs are between 30 and 42 inches wide and 60 to 72 inches long. So the space designated for your tub will depend on your preferred tub. (13)
The sink must be easily accessible as soon as you enter the ensuite from the closets or the bedroom. Most baths align more than one sink in a cabinet, while bigger and luxurious ones arrange the sinks separately with independent cabinets. And this can give each person using the ensuite his/her countertop.
When it comes to the shower, you can either go for an enclosed shower or a shower that is more open to the bath. And if you go for an enclosed shower, you should pick an enclosure that fits your space and design. You must install the shower in a secluded position to contain overspray and moisture in a water-resistant region.
The exact position of the shower will depend on your design and space, but make sure you leave some space in front of your shower’s door where being wet is acceptable. The minimum size of a shower is about 32 inches long and 36 inches wide. A shower that is 48 inches wide and 36 inches deep can be very comfortable for most folks.
A shower that is more than 60 inches in depth and width tends to lose the meaning of the word enclosure and can make some people uncomfortable. But if space cannot allow you to install the shower and bath separately, you should consider installing the shower over the tub. And in this scenario, you will need the bathtub space to be rectangular or square-shaped instead of a narrow space.
However, for this idea to work, one of your walls should be about 5 ft. long. (1) typically, tubs with showers have glass screens to prevent water spillage. But a glass screen will make it hard for you to get into your bath, so instead, you should choose a screen with hinges that open outwardly.
Every bathroom is prone to becoming a cluttered space; therefore, make sure you factor in a lot of storage spaces in your design. Some of the best storage options for ensuites include:
- Linen Closet
You can never have enough storage in any bathroom, so other than your cabinets; you should add a linen closet to your bathroom. Generally, the linen closet should not be near the wettest part of the ensuite. Therefore, unless you install a pedestal style of storage, you should add some drawers and cabinets around your sinks. (20)
- Sink Cabinet
A few homeowners prefer wall-mounted or pedestal sinks, but most folks love a sink built into their countertops with cabinets and drawers that can provide extra storage space. The minimum requirements for countertop should be about 24 inches wide per individual. But the width of most sink counters is between 30 and 36 inches.
If you want to create a more luxurious space, you can increase the width to about 48 inches. The depth of the cabinet should be about 21 inches, and the height starts at 32 inches. But in some cases, it does reach 36 inches, which is the standard height of a kitchen cabinet.
If your budget and space allow, you should purchase built-in vanities. A makeup vanity should have a width of approximately 36 inches and a counter height of about 30 inches. If you plan on having extra drawers in your vanity, you should increase its configurations.
The knee space below the countertop should be about 24-inches wide for the dressing stool.
- Medicine Cabinets
We all tend to collect toiletries with time, and having a place to store them is essential. While the space under your sink and drawers can come in handy, you should install a medical cabinet that is more accessible. The medicine cabinet must be well-lit and positioned at eye level.
Luckily, there are numerous ready-to-install options available in the market with a height of about 30 inches and a width of approximately 24 inches. Medicine cabinets can be mounted above the sink or on the wall adjacent to your sink. (13)
The minimum requirement for a water closet should be about 36 inches wide and 60 inches long. If your space and budget allow it, your toilet should be in a separate enclosed space. The space of a luxurious water closet should be about 72 inches long and 48 inches wide.
The water closet should always be installed out of the line of sight, whether they are enclosed or not. Water closets should also be near a window, but you should install some exhaust fans if that’s not possible. (13)
If your bedroom has carpet, then you should select matching tiles for your bathrooms. After all, the ensuite will be an extension of the master bedroom. So you should pick a flooring type that works perfectly for both the bathroom and bedroom, like the luxury vinyl tiles.
Do You Require Planning Permission to Build an Ensuite?
In most cases, folks don’t need planning permission to add an ensuite in an existing home. But in places like the United Kingdom, you will need permission if you are living in a listed building. And that is because listed buildings are historical or architectural features, and upgrading them will mean altering their designs. (15)
Should the Light of My Ensuite Have the Same Level of Brightness as My Bedroom?
Most folks prefer brighter lighting in the ensuite and soft dimmable lights in your bedroom. So make sure you plan your circuit correctly. You must be able to control the lighting of the bathroom and bedroom separately.
Can I Fit My Ensuite in My Bedroom?
Any bedroom, irrespective of its size, can have an ensuite bathroom. If an RV can have a shower room, you can add a small showering room to any corner of your room.
What Is the Best Size Ensuite?
The average size of an ensuite should be about 34 square feet. But with proper planning and designing, you can build an ensuite in an even smaller space.