How Sweet It Is — Design an Ensuite Bathroom You’ll Love

The oh-so-sweet, ensuite master bathroom. It is something I hear my real estate friends talking a lot about these days.

They are a must-have for many people. So much so, that home shoppers will actually turn away from a potential dream house if it doesn’t have one.

For those who are unfamiliar, the en suite master bathroom is primarily defined by its layout. The bathroom connects directly to the master bedroom, rather than having you trudge down a hallway in your pajamas to use the facilities.

Much more convenient, right?

Designed by Ellen Kurtz Interiors. Photos by 618 Creative of Waterloo, IL.

People also like ensuites for the luxurious touch they add to a home, especially as spa-like bathrooms become increasingly popular. It makes sense to have your own little oasis right in the bedroom, versus sharing the space with the rest of the household.

This surge in popularity means I often find these types of bathrooms on my design to-do lists. It’s a common request from people renovating older homes and people who are designing their home fresh. Having an ensuite bathroom can really boost the resale value of a home.

Ensuites Are Everywhere

For all of those reasons, I was not at all surprised to see master bath renovations ranking high on this year’s Houzz & Home Study. The prime reason, according to Houzz? People are seeking that ensuite experience.

As Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz, points out in the study:

“I think it is fair to say that a typical American household has come to expect a master suite as part of a well-designed home. The reality today, however, is that many older homes do not have master suites or have master suites significantly out of date. With baby boomers driving renovations today, it is only natural that the attention is shifting to these private corners of the home and away from family spaces.”

Designed by Ellen Kurtz Interiors. Photos by 618 Creative of Waterloo, IL.


Given all the buzz, I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips I’ve picked up over the years for designing these popular spaces:


Assess Your Ensuite Needs

It can be tempting to go all out with ensuite bathrooms, installing every extra feature and luxurious touch you can dream up. But because of their location within, or connected to, the bedroom, ensuites sometimes have tricky or tight layouts. For that reason (and for the overall function of the space), it is important to think carefully about this. Consider what you actually need versus what you really want, and what you must have versus what you can live without.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of essential features, you can lay out the space in the most user-friendly and eye-pleasing way possible. This article has a good run down of what you’ll want to consider. For instance, shower AND whirlpool tub? That may not be for you. That’s just one of several things to think about. Here, you can read more about spacing for your particular needs.


Stick With Your Theme

Designed by Ellen Kurtz Interiors. Photos by 618 Creative of Waterloo, IL.

Remember, the ensuite bathroom is an extension of your bedroom. So while these two rooms are meeting very different needs, you’ll want to stay consistent with your design style. If your bedroom leans french country, it would be jarring to step into a connecting bathroom filled with minimalist lines and modern touches. Instead, a freestanding, clawfoot tub could perfectly carry the mood across the two spaces.

The same theory applies to your color scheme. If you have muted neutrals in your bedroom, you probably don’t want bold splashes of red in the bathroom. There are, of course, exceptions to every design truth. But these are general rules of thumb to keep in mind.  For more on design themes, see my previous blog post that runs through nearly a dozen styles in detail. And here’s a bathroom I designed that not only takes its cues from the bedroom, but also the house and wooded property that surrounds it! Other bathroom design ideas can be found in this article.

Designed by Ellen Kurtz Interiors. Photos by 618 Creative of Waterloo, IL.


Make An Entrance


When I am designing any room, I try to think about its key strengths. What makes the room stand out? What would be a good focal point for the eye? With an ensuite bathroom, the obvious strength is the fact that it connects directly to the bedroom. So why not highlight the entrance to show off this attribute?


I have been seeing some very chic transitions from bedroom to bathroom in ensuite bathrooms that are being designed today. For instance, french doors that might normally be reserved for a study or sunroom are making their way to the bathroom. This allows more light to flood the room and shows off all of the beautiful design details inside. Barn doors have also been increasingly popular. Same with seamless transitions that partition off the space without any actual door or entrance. Here are some examples. Notice how these entrances draw the eye into the bathroom and practically beg you to step inside!



As always, I’d be happy to share more of my ideas. If you are considering adding an ensuite bathroom to your bedroom, or you want to renovate an existing one, please give me a call!