Ask the experts: Adding an ensuite
At Opun, we have crack teams of experts who each specialise in a specific room of the home. Their job? To help you get the very most from your home improvement, no matter whether it’s a kitchen refit, loft conversion or bathroom remodel.
Anat Elkarat, is one of our newest bathroom experts, and knows just about everything there is to know about bathroom design. So, we dropped by on her to pick her brains about ensuites, here’s what she had to say…
What should people think about before they start an ensuite project?
"They should think about function (what they need from the bathroom, layout – a flow movement from one function to the other and enough room for each), style (going with an era or a specific style such as classic modern or urban industrial) and budget (how much does the labour cost? – Not a lot of money to play with and how much is left for fittings – more flexible)."
Are there any 'must have' features of an ensuite?
"Aside from good lighting (as in any bathroom), a good door that blocks light and noise (if the other half is sleeping) and enough room to manoeuvre. There are no specific rules."
How can I avoid an ensuite ruining my bedroom’s flow, or making it seem too small?
"If there is enough room to add an ensuite, it wouldn’t make your bedroom feel smaller. You could decide that not all the features you wanted would go in if it is too crowded. It's better to have less functions but to enjoy the ensuite when you are using it, than the other way around. One lovely way to incorporate an ensuite is by having a walk through wardrobe with a concealed entrance to the ensuite, or have one of the doors of the wardrobe lead to the ensuite (like a secret door)."
What colours work (or don’t work) in an ensuite?
"I would stay away from any yellow/beige and brown colours as they do not give the impression of a clean space. All other colours are welcome depending on combination and amount from each."
Is designing an ensuite any different from a regular bathroom?
"When you design an ensuite you can be more specific with the design, function and style to the people who are using it. In any bathroom, you design to the people using it, but the less people using it, the more specific you can become."
What are some ways you can maximise the space in a small ensuite?
"1. Wall hung fittings such as the WC and vanity, makes it feel lighter and are easy to clean. Plus you see more floor and that helps give the impression of space.
2. Do not crowd the ensuite with all the fittings possible (for example, a shower enclosure and a free standing bath). As one great designer once said, less is more."
If you could give one bit of advice to someone designing a new ensuite what would it be?
"Plan, plan and plan. Only when you are sure, execute. Getting the layout right is the far most important thing you can do (goes for every room in the house). If you are not sure how to do it, get professional advice from an interior designer."
What do you think people tend to overlook when considering adding an ensuite to their bedroom?
"As with most bathrooms, light is not thought of until a later stage, if even then. Not measuring the space correctly to see that there is enough room for all the fittings is also an issue, and not looking at options to take some space from another room next door or by changing the layout of the bedroom ( i.e. the bed will be elsewhere etc..)."
How can you keep the costs of adding an ensuite down?
"Plan ahead and make sure that what you are thinking about doing is actually feasible. Make it simple yet effective. Spend more on quality taps, showers and wc, spend reasonable amounts on shower enclosures, screens bath and vanities and look for bargains when it comes to tiles."
What are some easy and cost-effective ways to give an ensuite an air of luxury?
"If you add one or more featured items/ fittings/ tiles such as:
1. A unique light/ mirrors (not ones that come from a bathroom store)
2. A stylish freestanding bath or one of kind tap
3. Add a feature wall from expensive looking tiles."