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Ensuite and small shower room ideas

Just like small downstairs toilets, ensuites are spaces where you can get a bit more creative and have some fun when it comes to décor. As these are more private than shared family bathrooms, which might be used by children and visitors, ensuites have the potential to be shaped more to your specific style as a result.

With this in mind, if you’re considering giving your ensuite a refresh, or are seeking inspiration for your new home, then read to the end of the blog for some of our best ideas for ensuites large and small.

Planning your ensuite design

Before doing any work on your ensuite, it’s important to be clear at the outset what style you prefer. For example, do you want clean lines and a more minimalist look or something cosy which is more decorative and traditional? Always remember that the more products you put into your ensuite, the more cramped it will feel if you don’t have much room to begin with.

Deciding the layout will also depend on the existing plumbing, if you’re updating or renovating, though a self-build project will obviously mean that you’re planning this fresh, so you can more easily decide where things are placed. Whether you want to achieve a luxury look, something more pared back or would like to find a balance between the two, however, there’s lots of inspiration around to help you with the decision-making.

Open up your ensuite with clever lighting

Most ensuites tend to be smaller than the main bathroom (although there are obviously exceptions to this), so if you have a smaller space, then it’s important to think about lighting from the outset. Good lighting will help to make your room appear larger and airier, as well as cultivating a more calming ambience. As this is something most people want in their bathrooms – so they have somewhere relaxing to escape to – how you make the most of natural light and use artificial lighting is key.

Making your ensuite lighter and brighter also doesn’t just depend on lighting fixtures and windows, however, as the materials you use also have an impact on this. For example, shiner, more glossy surfaces are great at reflecting light, so going for gloss finishes on tiles is a good idea when it comes to creating a more illuminated space, as light will bounce off the surface of these and make the ensuite brighter. For example, the Calacatta White Rectified Polished Porcelain Tile is a wall and floor tile in a marble-effect design with a gloss finish which is ideal in this regard. Used on both the walls and floor, this tile will maximise the amount of light in the room, although it’s ultimately down to personal choice as to whether you prefer to tile the walls and floor in the same design.

The Calacatta White Rectified Polished Porcelain Tile has a gloss finish which is great for light to bounce off to help create a brighter interior.

As well as being pale in tone – another light-enhancing feature – the tiles’ gloss surfaces will subsequently help to distribute light more effectively around your ensuite.

If you’re completing a self-build project, then making sure there’s at least one window in your ensuite will also help to ensure good natural lighting. However, whether you have one window, multiple, or none at all, artificial lighting is also key for those darker mornings and at night, when natura light is lacking.

Adding mirrors, like the Luca Bluetooth LED Mirror with Demister will boost lighting in your ensuite.

In this regard, mirrors – and particularly more modern mirrors – are great when it comes to maximising lighting in your bathroom. Indeed, while the surface of any mirror will reflect light around the room – and the bigger the mirror, the better – many now also come with built-in LED lighting, which is a bit of a game-changer.

As well as being extremely handy for getting ready with at any time of the day or night – and great when you’re putting on makeup or shaving – LED mirrors are also extremely efficient. With multiple sizes and styles to choose from, you can either opt for something contemporary like a frameless mirror, or choose something more ornate and framed, which can add texture and character.

For example, the Luca Bluetooth LED Mirror with Demister is a frameless rectangular mirror with a handy demister to prevent the glass from fogging up and comes with that all-important LED lighting feature. It also has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can even enjoy listening to your favourite music or podcasts while you get ready – an added bonus and something to make your ensuite feel even more relaxing.

You can also hang this mirror both horizontally or vertically, depending on which you prefer and what fits the look of your ensuite best.

Create a walk-in shower area or wet room

If space is short in your ensuite, then consider opening it up with a wet room-style space. Not only is this a practical option, it will immediately give the illusion of more room and also adds a sense of luxury. If you opt for a full wet room style then you can also forgo a screen, although if you have other furniture in the room then you might prefer a screen of some sort to keep that from being splashed.

Underfloor heating will also make your ensuite feel ultra cosy, while it’s ideal for wet rooms as it will help to dry out the space more quickly and enhance hygiene.

For more shower room inspiration, check out our blog, Creative small shower room ideas for your space.

Creating a wet room area can open up the space in your ensuite.

Get creative with bold tiling

Getting creative with bolder tile tones and patterns will add character to your ensuite.

Another way to create an interesting ensuite is to go bold and try something new with tiling and furniture which you might not go for in the main bathroom of your home. For example, choosing colours or styles to create a feature wall or focal point within the room is a good way to experiment and acquire a quirkier look.

You can also add art prints to the walls for even more visual interest, experimenting with different looks which can easily be changed by simply switching out the artwork.

Textured tiles are another way to add interest to your ensuite, while opting for larger format styles is great for creating that sense of space. While experimenting with colours is one way to make your ensuite more exciting, turning it into a truly luxury space is another popular option, with tiling contributing to the overall opulent effect.

For example, the ongoing popularity of marble-effect tiling means there are lots of fantastic tiles available featuring this design – both with a traditional and a more contemporary take on the style. The Onyx Turquoise Polished Tile is a large-format rectified tile which incorporates a stunning marble-effect design with a vibrant turquoise background, mixing in bronze and white tones for added depth and texture. With the large size, gloss finish and eye-catching design it ticks all the boxes when it comes to a stylish, light-reflecting tile which will make your ensuite appear more spacious and interesting. It also has rectified edges, so requires minimal grout, which results in a more seamless aesthetic when laid.

The Onyx Turquoise Polished Rectified Tile.

Creating a luxury-style ensuite

If you want to add opulence to your ensuite and go all-out with the design to achieve something spa-like or worthy of a boutique hotel, then using metallics or brushed brass is a great way to achieve this. Whether you go for brushed brass taps, framed mirrors and other accessories, incorporate metallic finishes into your tiles, or choose warming golden tones for furniture, gilding your ensuite with rich tones will add instant luxury style.

You can also enrich the space by choosing more designer bathroom-ware and adding in elements such as heated towel rails and/or underfloor heating to make it cosier. The Lazzarini Silea Straight Heated Towel Rail in Brushed Brass has a luxurious brushed brass finish and contemporary design which combines practicality with style and is ideal for adding a modern luxury look. For smaller ensuites, it will also help keep the room cosy as it heats up the immediate surrounding space as well. The wall-mounted style further then lifts it off the floor to free up more space and continues the contemporary aesthetic and minimalist style.

The Lazzarini Silea Straight Heated Towel Rail in Brushed Brass.

Choose curved bathroom-ware and organic shapes

If you want to create a more welcoming and calming ensuite then using curved furniture will soften the space and instantly give a more relaxing vibe than sharp corners and straight edges. It also helps make interiors look more spacious – curved vanities, baths and shower enclosures will all help in making your room feel less cramped and free up space, providing better access.

The Viktor Benson Elemi Freestanding Slipper Bath is a good example of a freestanding bath with an organic aesthetic which is ideal for ensuites. With one end raised higher than the other for added comfort during bathing, this compact bath gives you all the luxury that you would expect from this type of tub, without dominating the surrounding space.

It has an elegant appeal, combing traditional elements with a sleek, modern look and will fit into most spaces quite comfortably.

The Viktor Benson Elemi Freestanding Slipper Bath has smooth, organic curves and is ideal for compact spaces.

The Nuie Pacific Quadrant Shower Enclosure, meanwhile, has a curved glass front which is ideal for corner showers, while the sliding doors give easy access without intruding into the room. The rounded front takes up minimal space and it will fit snugly into your ensuite and help to cultivate that relaxed ambience.

The Nuie Pacific Quadrant Shower Enclosure has a curved front and sliding doors.

Space-saving small ensuite ideas

In addition to the ideas already proposed, you can save space in your ensuite by incorporating clever storage ideas, including everything from mirrored cabinets with built-in shelving, to floating vanities.

The Bella LED Cabinet has a single door and two glass shelves inside where you can safely store toiletries, as well as having energy-efficient LED lighting. It therefore combines various practical features – including a shaver socket for added convenience – as well as helping to save on space.

The Bella LED Cabinet incorporates double shelving inside.

Another way to save on space is to invest in a WC unit, combining the toilet and, depending on what style you go for, also a basin and storage. For example, the Baltimore Two-in-one Round Toilet and Basin Combo Pack incorporates a compact basin on top of the cistern, so you don’t have to install a separate vanity.

This is ideal for very small spaces and is also more energy-efficient, as it recycles the water used for handwashing and returns it to the cistern for flushing the toilet. This handy unit has a contemporary design and is available in a range of finishes, so is a great all-round choice.

The Baltimore Two-in-one Round Toilet and Basin Combo Pack in Graphite Oak/Black.

Wall-hung furniture is, of course, another key way to make your ensuite look bigger than it actually is, with vanity units, toilets and cabinets all available in this modern ‘floating’ option. Even if you have a larger ensuite, you can still use floating furniture to give your room a contemporary style and to free up floor space and make everything easier to clean. Practical, as well as looking good aesthetically, this is a great way to add some character to your ensuite.

Wall-hung toilets have a very compact design, with the cistern usually concealed behind the wall or a WC unit. As a result, the toilet bowl itself is all that is on display, creating a more minimal aesthetic and keeping the look discreet. If you prefer the toilet to be a less prominent feature in your ensuite, or want to fit it into a tighter space, then the floating option is a great way to do this.

The Marbella Rimless Wall-hung Toilet and Soft-close Seat.

The Marbella Rimless Wall-hung Toilet and Soft-close Seat is a modern ceramic toilet with a rimless design which both gives it a sleeker aesthetic as well as being more practical when it comes to cleaning. It also keeps your bathroom more hygienic, as bacteria doesn’t have a rim to linger underneath and the bowl will stay cleaner as a result, while also making it easier for you to clean around.

With a soft-close seat for added convenience, the Marbella has a white-gloss finish and a contemporary square shape with curved edges to soften the overall look.

You can subsequently pair the toilet with the flush of your choice, opting for your favourite finish – for example, brushed brass, matt black or polished chrome. Wall-hung toilets are usually teamed with a flush plate on the wall, with a single or dual-flush option.

It should be noted that another advantage of wall-hung toilets is that they can be fitted to the wall at your preferred height, so you can personalise this according to what you need.

For a space-saving floating vanity unit, something like the Baltimore Wall-mounted Vanity Unit and Basin in Chestnut Wood-effect is a good choice for a smaller area. It combines ample storage space for toiletries with a set of double drawers featuring a contemporary style in the integrated handles, which also gives the vanity a sleeker aesthetic. The white ceramic basin included with the unit then comes with a single taphole, so you can select the tap of your choice for the unit, again choosing the style that suits you best.

This particular vanity is available in a variety of finishes, so you can choose from lighter and darker wood-effect tones, depending on what you need.

The Baltimore Wall-mounted Vanity Unit in Chestnut Wood-effect.

If you have a larger ensuite, then the Josef Martin Roma Wall-mounted Vanity Unit in Marble Gold will add luxury style to your interior, while also providing more countertop space. Designed for use with a countertop basin, this stunning vanity has a large single drawer with plenty of room for storing all your bathroom essentials, such as towels or toiletries. Again, the drawer has a handle-less design, with a stainless stell rail giving it a minimal aesthetic and adding to the overall contemporary look.

The marble-effect finish combined with the gold gives the unit an opulence which will add texture and depth to your ensuite, while the colour palette will complement a wide range of décor. You can then purchase a countertop basin separately to complete the look, personalising it to your preferred style.

The Josef Martin Roma Wall-mounted Vanity Unit in Marble Gold.

You can also install floating shelves in your ensuite if you need somewhere else to place items and want to keep things off the floor. For example, fitting a shelf above the door can be useful for keeping towels safely stowed away and out of sight, while you can get creative with shelving elsewhere, above toilets and vanities.

Creating recesses in showers is also a great way to get the space you need for storing toiletries, without having shelving protruding into this area and taking up extra room. They also add a more contemporary aesthetic – and you can style these in different ways. For example, you might like to use the same tiles for your vanity splash-back in the recess, to create a more cohesive look.

Top ensuite shower room décor tips:

  • Use large-format tiles to create a sense of spaciousness. Rectified tiles will also require less grout and create a more seamless aesthetic, so bear this in mind as well, when selecting your tiles.
  • Choose polished/high-gloss surfaces for tiling and countertops, as these will reflect light and bounce it around the room to create a brighter, airier space.
  • Combine good natural lighting with high-quality artificial lighting in LED mirrors and cabinets, as well as the main ensuite light fixture/s. This can include wall or side lights as well as the overhead light.
  • Use one or more mirrors to enhance natural light in your ensuite and to maximise the sense of space, especially if you have a more compact ensuite.
  • Opt for curved bathroom furniture, such as vanity units, freestanding baths with rounded, organic shapes and shower enclosures with curved fronts. This will give your ensuite a softer look as well as freeing up space for you to move around items within the room.
  • Choose wall-mounted furniture such as floating vanities, toilets and heated towel rails to free up floor space and add a contemporary look. These also make it easier when it comes to cleaning, as well.
  • Transform your ensuite into a wet room area – or create a wet room section within the room. A frameless wet room screen will enhance the sense of spaciousness, while not using a screen at all (if applicable to your layout) will create an open plan ensuite which is roomier.
  • Get the luxury look by layering different textures and using opulent tones such as brushed brass, gold and metallic finishes in fixtures, fittings and/or tiles.
  • Get creative with your ensuite by experimenting with bolder styles and colours – try something new with colourful tiles, for example, or add artwork and décor which differs from what you’d normally go for.
  • Make your ensuite a calming, relaxing space by incorporating nature-inspired tones and textures. Go for those organic shapes, the neutral colours and warm, earthy tones.

Introducing nature-inspired tones to your ensuite will create a calming vibe.

Shop quality bathroom-ware for your ensuite at Bathshack

No matter what size your ensuite is – or the style you want to achieve – we have a full range of quality bathroom products and tiles at Bathshack to help you create the perfect space. From traditional-style furniture to more modern designs and finishes, there’s something to suit all tastes and our friendly team is always on hand to help, should you need any advice.

From sleek, stylish toilets and vanity units, to taps, shower kits, enclosures, wet room screens and more, we have a range of products to suit all budgets and tastes. We also have a free online 3D Bathroom Planner tool on our website, which is easy to use and will let you see how different products will look in your space. So, you can virtually try before you buy, designing your ideal ensuite online using your specific measurements.

The 3D Explorer option also allows you to use your phone to scan your room and superimpose a product into the space in front of you, moving it around the room so you can see what it looks like in different locations.

With all of this at your fingertips and more, your dream ensuite is only a few clicks away …

For all your ensuite needs, visit our website at bathshack.com. Alternatively, if you have any questions, just email our team at info@bathshack.com, call us on (028) 9077 0188 or use our online chat.