En-suite bathrooms are no longer considered a luxury but are seen as a necessity even in small 2-bedroom apartments. It seems nobody wants to share a bathroom these days but just how easy are they to install and will they increase your home’s value?
An en suite bathroom is super handy, and generally a great addition to any home, especially if you live in a house where you have to share one main bathroom. Many a family argument has developed when people take too long in the bathroom so if you’ve got the room, money or general desire to create an en-suite, it’s a really good project to take on. It will not only stop those bathroom time arguments, but it will add general convenience to your home and increase it’s value significantly – so it’s an all-round great investment.
Where is the ideal location for an en-suite bathroom?
The first thing you will need to do is think about where you can put an en-suite. Although there might well be obvious places you could put one, there might also be less obvious spaces you have never considered. Perhaps you have a large storage cupboard that’s big enough or a spacious hallway adjacent to a bedroom that could contain an en suite, or even a simple box room next to your bedroom that could be knocked through. Another option is to “steal” a small area from two adjacent bedrooms – once you start measuring the space required you will realise that very little space is required to accommodate a shower cubicle, a basin and a WC.
When considering your options take note of where your water supply is located and look for an option that is close to existing water pipes although these need not be on the same floor. For instance a first floor bathroom could easily be located above a ground floor kitchen, which will have water pipes going to the sink. And of particular importance is the positioning of the WC; wherever possible this should be on an external wall. It is possible to install a WC on an inside wall but the difficulty is getting the waste pipe to the external waste. Waste pipes are much larger in diameter than water pipes so cannot easily be run under floors. If you choose not to position the WC on an outside wall (or do not have that option) then this is likely to add a significant amount to the cost of installation and restrict your layout.
Don’t try to squeeze the bathroom into a very tiny space or it will simply be unusable and instead of being a private oasis it will simply be unappealing to use and you will have wasted the time, effort and money in the planning and installation. You do need to have some free floor space to move around in, but do consider smaller spaces – you’d be surprised how much you can fit in, and some sanitary ware is specifically designed for small or awkward spaces such as corner positioned WCs, pentagon shaped shower cubicles and even shower pods. Once you have selected your space or, maybe, a couple of alternative spaces, you can then move on to the planning stage.
Planning the best layout
Although it’s nice to dream of cutting edge technology and large white porcelain tiles and think about all the amazing things you could have in your en-suite, it’s important to consider the practicalities first and foremost, not to mention the cost. What are the very basic things you need that will make it a useful space. Perhaps there’s barely room for a WC, basin and small shower cubicle; if so, you could always consider a fully water-proofed wet room with porcelain tiles on both the walls and floor. This removes the need for a shower cubicle but requires underfloor heating for both practicality and safety, even if you select non-slip porcelain tiles. And in a small space you need to be prepared for all surfaces to become wet so this is not a solution for everyone.
Once you have planned the layout of the room to include the necessary elements, you can then think about adding extra features. If you have no idea how to plan the space, simply start by measuring it up and draw a plan to scale.
The most expensive part of your en-suite bathroom is going to be your plumbing costs. Unless there is already plumbing installed (unlikely), getting that side of things set up will cost you the most time, money and disruption. When you have made your plan, this is the stage you should get a plumber to come in and tell you exactly what your options are. It may be the case that the layout or location you have in mind won’t work with the plumbing necessary, so you might have to be flexible with your design.
When creating a room from some spare space in your home you will also have to consider the electrics for the lights, shaver socket and possibly an illuminated mirror. The first thing to consider is the lighting circuit wiring – is the space already set up for lighting or will you need to have new wiring installed? If the wiring does need to be set up this will add to your costs considerably. Remember the type of lighting safe for use in bathrooms is strictly regulated, as are the types of switches so do not attempt to do this yourself unless you are a qualified electrician.
Aside from the practical stuff, you will need to also think about the ambient lighting in your bathroom. You could have LED floor lights fitted into the floor tiles, mirror lights or even wall lights – it’s all down to your taste and your budget. Be creative and try to create flexible lighting where possible. Although one main light is cheaper, it can often be harsh and uninviting so if this is your only option look for softer light bulb options or possibly a simmer switch installed outside the room to comply with regulations..
Once all the practicalities are out of the way it’s time to have fun! En suite bathrooms are often quite small which means your interior decoration needs to be as fresh and open looking as possible. Using the same porcelain tiles on your floor and walls is a great idea as it enables you to have a completely clean and fresh overall look, plus it makes the room easily cleaned. Generally light neutral shades will make the space look bigger, darker colours will make the room look smaller. That’s not to say you can’t have fun though. How about a floor tile feature with vintage tiles or mixed pattern tiles? Or a square of ethnic tiles or block colour tiles on one wall? You could even simply contrast porcelain tiles with a darker coloured grout to create a monochrome effect – the possibilities are endless!