Ways to have an ensuite

Everyone dreams of having an ensuite, right? Your very own sanctuary where you can get away from it all. From creating a spa-like, kid-free zone to forming a space that both helps you relax at night and invigorates you in the morning. Lush.

For me, I would love a bath in my bedroom, a walk-in wardrobe which leads on to an ensuite complete with a large double-shower area. (One day, maybe!) A master suite is usually made up of a master bedroom, adjoining bathroom, and dressing area too. These elements can be anything from completely separate spaces joined by doorways to totally open plan. It all depends on your style, space available, and how you wish to use it.

Real Project: Hotel-chic ensuite style by Granit

The bathroom of the master suite

Through a large pane of glass, the shower looks out at Battersea Park through a home office area.

The bedroom enjoys great views

The new master suite provides views over the River Thames as well as the city.

Previously made up of many rooms with corridors between, the layout was claustrophobic. But the new, expansive master suite with an office area is all about providing fantastic views over Battersea Park and across the River Thames, bridges, and the city – no matter where you are in the space. You can even enjoy them from the large walk-in shower, which has a glass window that looks out to a living area and beyond to the outside.

The homeowner wanted the designers to really consider how they could make the best use of the scenery while creating an open space that was clean, simple, and had an easy route through. The space was created mainly through removing internal walls, and spending a lot of time choosing quality finishes to add to that feeling of luxury. The bed is positioned so you see Albert Bridge, the river, and the trees of Battersea Park even when lying down.


If you’re blessed with an already large room, think about creating dedicated zones to help define the suite – for both practicality and added design interest. This can be done with different flooring types and levels, furniture, or lighting.

Alternatively, if space is limited, consider knocking through and borrowing a few metres from a neighbouring bedroom or bathroom. However, if you plan on doing this, hire a structural engineer or architect to ensure they aren’t load-bearing walls.

Why not try broken plan? The use of stud or half-height walls and sliding doors can be effective ways to get the best of both worlds. Once you know your layout, this will help you when it comes to the more practical elements. Think about the location of plumbing, storage allocation, and electrical points, plus what size – and where – the bed will go.

For additional help and inspiration, be sure to talk to interior designers, plumbers, or architects to get an idea of what is and isn’t possible and what can be achieved within your budget.

Real Project: Stud wall creation by Ripples

An broken-plan ensuite

The big shower is accessed by a step down, which creates interest but also helps avoid flooding in the wet zone.

The bedroom zone flows into the bathroom

While the double basins are separate, the white countertop – which wraps around to the other side of the wall – provides a link to the rest of the ensuite.

The previous scheme was quite dark – not just in the tiling, but the space had no natural light from the two windows in that area. This is something the homeowners wanted to completely change. With the walkway through from their sleep area, they wanted the ensuite to feel like it was part of the overall scheme rather than a room within a room. Also on their brief were a large freestanding bath, a big shower, and double basins.

The top floor of their building was concrete with underfloor heating, so the designer’s main consideration was how to create the best layout for the space without adjusting any pipework coming up through the floor. They also had to not block out the light coming in from the windows.

Layout decisions

Open plan is becoming just as big in master suites as it is in the kitchen – but there is a lot to consider if you want to go for this look.

Most people like to keep the WC separate with a partition wall or adjoining ensuite, but enjoy the wow factor of having a freestanding tub in the main room. If you do decide to take this approach, it is important to make sure the flooring you choose is appropriate, will withstand water, and your floor can take the weight of the bath.

You can also create this effect by including large walk-in showers and freestanding vanity. However, ensure nothing in your sleep area will get wet (no one wants that!).

If you would like the space to be a bit more discreet, a broken-plan scheme could be more for you. Another approach is to use a half wall which serves a double purpose as a headboard for the bed on one side and a bathroom wall on the other; splitting the space into two without losing any natural light.

Of course, like with any bathroom installation, ventilation and drainage will be the biggest areas of concern and should be carefully considered to ensure the scheme is located in a watertight space with access to plumbing.

Real Project: Jack and Jill design by Martin Moore

Th ensuite has a dramatic bathroom

The owners chose a dramatic monochrome floor covering, featuring bands of slate and marble, from Martin Moore Stone.

The ensuite has a Jack and Jill bathroom design

The open eaves restrict headroom in both the bed and bathroom spaces.

This building is an historic Trotte (winery) in Zurich, which was originally occupied by a single three-storey wine vat. When designing the top-floor suite in the eaves as part of a total renovation, the goal was to match it with the property’s overall open-plan nature. The two entrances – a so-called Jack and Jill-style – to the ensuite achieve just that while also allowing more natural light into the bedroom.

In the bathroom, a bold, monochrome Martin Moore Stone floor in bands of slate and marble dominates and creates a dramatic Art Deco feel. Solid walnut cabinetry includes the vanity unit and a row of purpose-fitted cupboards for towels and linens. Restricted headroom in the eaves required a clever showering solution, so the water is delivered horizontally from jets on the wall.

The dressing room

Alternatively, for a more traditional layout, why not design a full bedroom-bathroom suite with a dressing room acting as a divider? This creates an organic flow between the bathroom and bedroom while still differentiating the two spaces. In terms of décor, it’s a good idea to identify a colour scheme that will work throughout the spaces.

Pick an accent shade and stick to it, adding accessories to tie the rooms together. In a compact, space, consider floor-to-ceiling wardrobes with mirrored doors or a divan or ottoman bed for extra storage.

A key factor to not forget in your master suite is how to light it. If you’re going for an open-plan scheme, be sure to factor in low-level illumination so you won’t disturb a loved one if you have to get up in the middle of the night – very guilty of that myself

And remember, while bathrooms within a master bed-bath certainly need to deliver in terms of style, they also need to be durable and hard-wearing. After all, this room is a key investment within the home and you want to choose products and materials that will last for years to come.

So, who’s ready for bed?

Real Project: Luxe living ensuite by Halo Design Interiors

Luxury ensuite

The shaggy sofa, which is clad in sheep hide from Iceland, adds a fun element.

The adjoining ensuite

From the bath, you can enjoy a view of the lake outside the house.

 The large proportions of the bedroom were a gift to the designers in terms of creating the light and airy Ibiza-chic look the clients were after. They placed a loveseat clad in long white Icelandic sheep hide in front of the bed. This added a touch of texture and humour to the space, which characterises the whole project and reflects the clients’ tastes.

The dressing area between the bedroom and bathroom was kept deliberately understated and with clean lines, to enhance the sense of space and calm of the whole area. In the master bathroom as the view of the lake is the star of the show, the bath takes pride of place in front of the window. 

You may also enjoy: Bath or shower? How to have a space with both

Post updated on: 20/08/2020 

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