24 en-suite ideas to design the perfect bathroom retreat

Channel hotel chic with these en-suite ideas that combine space-saving design with on-trend touches

cloakroom design mistakes, small bathroom with green tiles, pink shelves, marble style tiles on lower wall and floor, brass fixtures and fittings, pink basin
(Image credit: BC Designs)

These en-suite ideas will help you bring a touch of luxury to your bedroom, and can also value to your home.

In this private space, you can have free rein to go bold and be more adventurous with the bathroom ideas – bright colours, intricate patterns, and beautiful finishes all have a place. 

 ‘Also an en-suite is generally only used by adults, it also won’t have the same wear and tear that a family bathroom would have, so it makes sense to be the place where you invest in high-end fixtures and fittings,' says Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs

En-suite ideas

Bringing a little luxury to your day-to-day life, an en-suite bathroom is a room for indulgence. Not only does it provide you with a place to refresh away from the busy family bathroom, but it can also increase the value of your home. ‘En-suite ideas can add around 4.5 per cent to your property’s value,’ says James Forrester, managing director of estate agents, Barrows & Forrester

However, it's worth taking the time to ensure you're planning a bathroom for the right reasons. 'While it is possible to convert most spaces into an en-suite, including smaller bedrooms and using part of an existing bedroom, it can sometimes be detrimental, especially if the space is too small or it would devalue your home in other ways,' says Barrie. 'While an extra bathroom is nice, it doesn’t want to be at the expense of making the bedroom too small. 

Steer clear of error by being aware of en-suite planning mistakes to avoid.

1. Channel hotel luxury with a double basin

White painted bathroom with marble double sink vanity and storage, gold rimmed mirrors hung on wall, and houseplants displayed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Your en-suite ideas should be somewhere that feels a little special – more luxurious than the family bathroom. 

‘Where possible, we would always go for a double vanity in an en-suite bathroom over a single as it aids flow and is easier for couples to use when in a bathroom together. After all, an en suite should be indulgent,’ says Fi Crole of Eadie & Crole, who designed this space. Opt for a vanity on legs rather than a cabinet, to prevent it from overwhelming the space.

2. Maximise your en-suite space with pocket doors

ensuite bathroom behind pocket doors with white bath and red and white checkerboard tiles

(Image credit: BC Designs)

Space is at a premium in both en suites and bedrooms, so trade space-hungry swing doors for a compact pocket design – perfect for both modern bathrooms or those with more traditional tastes.

When the bathroom is not in use, the doors can be left fully or partially open to increase natural light and a sense of space or closed for privacy. 

This sophisticated en suite features BC Designs’ Aurelius bath paired with taps from Lefroy Brooks. Marble tiles in Rosso and Calacatta from Mandarin Stone, add subtle pattern and texture.

3. Make a bold statement

Green wallpaper in a bathroom

(Image credit: Divine Savages)

An en suite is totally private, so, unlike a family bathroom, which often needs to be more practical, you can go bolder and more experimental with the décor. ‘Many people are following the “more is more” maximalist ethos when it comes to en-suite bathroom design and experimenting with vibrant colours and bold patterns,’ says James Lentaigne, creative director at Drummonds

‘En suite bathrooms are the perfect spot to make a statement, as being an extension of your bedroom, they are highly personal, letting you inject more  of your individuality into the scheme.’ 

4. Don't overlook storage

small bathroom with green tiles, pink shelves, marble style tiles on lower wall and floor, brass fixtures and fittings, pink basin

(Image credit: Ca'Pietra / Spaces by Design)

When curating your dream en-suite ideas, consider the practical needs of the space, and most importantly, bathroom storage ideas.

 ‘Incorporating space-saving designs, such as bespoke bathroom shelving ideas, is the perfect way to keep an area tidy and aesthetically pleasing. Baskets, potted plants and folded towels complete the look, making the room feel inviting and less utilitarian,’ explains interior designer, Louise Wicksteed, founder of Sims Hilditch, who designed this beautiful en-suite bathroom.

5. Introduce antiques for added character

Bathroom with maroon wood panelled walls, grey and white marbled floor, handbasin in wooden chest of drawers vanity unit

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

Since an en-suite bathroom is likely to be an adult-only wash space, bathroom cabinet ideas don’t need to be quite as durable as those in the family bathroom. 

‘Antiques add heritage and meaning to a space; however, be sure to take advice on individual items, as some will not be suitable for the steamy bathroom atmosphere. They work particularly well with on-trend brass hardware, especially unlacquered pieces that develop a natural patina over time,’ says Nigel Palmer, marketing manager for Perrin & Rowe.

Alternatively, you can upcycle a vanity unit to create a showstopping one-of-a-kind piece.

8. Create a feature with mosaic floor tiles

ensuite bathroom with yellow tiles on the top half of the walls and pink panelling on the lower part, small blue and white mosaic tiles on the floor

(Image credit: Laura Stephens/Chris Snook)

Small spaces require deft design to prevent them from feeling cramped. One way is with tiling. Large-format tiles with few grout lines can make an en suite feel more spacious, while, small bathroom tile ideas let you embrace your creativity. 

‘I love using small tiles as part of en-suite ideas. These tiles – often mosaic – are proportionate to the space and so can add interest without overwhelming,’ says interior designer Laura Stephens, who designed this space. ‘Here we created a narrow border as well as a flower motif in a jade mosaic to bring pattern to an otherwise plain space.’  

9. Use matching brassware to create harmony

Handbasin with white and grey marbled top, blue vanity unit, wood panelled wall and original cast iron radiator

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

In a small space, bathroom lighting ideas need to illuminate but not overwhelm. In a petite room, such as here, the best wall lights positioned on either side of the mirror will provide ample illumination. 

To create a sense of cohesion throughout the room, ensure all metalwork is of the same material; here, Brooklyn outdoor and bathroom wall lights in a brass finish from Industville, are paired with MPRO Industrial Unlacquered brushed brass wall stop taps, and shower head, both from Crosswater.

10. Treat yourself to a little luxury with marble

Bathroom with green and white marble in open shower

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Genuine marble is the epitome of luxurious design, and while it is loved for its luminosity and endless character, it also comes with an expensive price tag. However, since en suites are smaller than the family bathroom, your budget will be able to stretch a little further.

Save elsewhere in your bathroom renovation by keeping an eye on home decor discount codes. Alternatively, you can get the look of high-end marble bathroom ideas by opting for marble-look porcelain tiles. 

11. Find a place for plants

marble and white bathroom with bath and gold shower

(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

Nothing makes a space feel as calm and reinvigorating as houseplants. Tropical houseplants – such as snake plants – thrive in the humidity of the bathroom and will help to filter the air. If you don't have a shelf or windowsill, why not try hanging your plants on a hook from the ceiling?

12. Make it a wet room

Shower room with tiled open shower

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Rather than trying to squeeze in a bath, why not try some luxurious small bathroom shower ideas as part of your en-suite ideas, with a spacious cubicle that you won't have to climb in and out of? The beauty of this pink tiled design is the simplicity – with clean lines, no clutter and a black shower that keeps it from feeling overtly feminine.

If you're wondering which colours to go for, Polly Shearer bathroom design expert from Drench has these recommendations: ‘Top bathroom trends for 2024 include terracotta, peach and emerald green for a touch of nature.’ 

13. Warm it up with wood

Double hand basin in a wooden vanity unit with a bath and white shower curtain

(Image credit: Future)

Bathrooms can often feel quite cold when it comes to decor, being that there are lots of hard, shiny surfaces, metallic fittings and tiled floors or walls. To counteract that, embrace neutral bathroom ideas by introducing unpainted wood in your schemes. 

You can decide between something rich and rustic – perfect for traditional bathrooms – or a lighter, more Scandic-style design, depending on your taste.

14. Invest in hooks

hooks on wall in beige bathroom

(Image credit: Tom Raffield)

Hooks are worth their weight in gold when it comes to bathroom storage in a small space like an en suite and are ideal for hanging towels, dressing gowns, body brushes and even a small bag of extra toiletries. 

Get creative with the hooks you choose, whether you opt for an over-door design – like this Yumore stainless steel door organiser for Amazon– or something more minimalist like these Laris wall hooks from Tom Raffield.

Just make sure that they're not in a spot where you're likely to catch yourself on them or knock towels off.

15. Paint the ceiling

bathroom with bathtub and white window

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Painting your ceiling can change the look of your room and help make it feel much cosier, so it's worth considering incorporating this into your en-suite ideas – especially if you want to keep your walls white or have tiles there already.

When it comes to bathroom paint ideas, make sure you opt for a formula specially formulated for bathrooms, which will be more durable and specially designed to be mould, moisture and steam resistant.

16. Brighten with a skylight

A loft bathroom, sloping eaves and skylight, a bath with grey tiles and silver coloured basin and mat

(Image credit: Future)

En suite ideas are often lacking in natural light which can make them look and feel even smaller than their actual footprint.

If you are considering adding an en-suite as part of extension ideas or loft conversion, think about adding a roof light to your en-suite ideas. Position above the bath or shower to get the most out of the extra natural light.

17. Opt for broken plan

bathroom with white bathtub mirror and grey cabinet

(Image credit: Gunter & Co/Mary Wadsworth)

Not one for wallflowers, but the broken plan look has made its way into en-suite ideas. Crittal-style sliding doors, partitions or similar room divider ideas add a cool, industrial touch to the room.

Plus, you'll save space without having to fit in room for traditional doors, while the glass panels provide ample natural light directly from the bedroom.

18. Double up storage to save space

bathroom with white walls and books rail tissue holder

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Space is at a premium with en-suites, so get creative with your storage. Consider turning a spice rack into a loo roll holder with this IKEA spice rack hack. All you need is a couple of leather handles, cup hooks and a length of dowel to create this ingenious toilet roll holder.

19. Trick the eye with an oval bath

bathroom with white wall brown door

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you can fit it in, a bath with an oval or rounded end can create the illusion of space, making your small bathroom look bigger than it is. The more floor space you see, the larger the room will look – and that goes for other elements of your en-suite ideas too, where wall-hung vanities and toilets will have the same effect.

'An en-suite bathroom will most likely be one of the smallest rooms in your home,' says Richard Ticehurst, brand expert for Crosswater. 'It’s important to be mindful of space when arranging your layout, as you’ll need to be able to move comfortably in the room. To maximise space, opt for a wall-mounted toilet, basin, or vanity unit. Wall-mounted fixtures free up floor space to make the room appear bigger while creating a smart and modern look.'

20. Wall-mount the taps

bathroom with white wash basin wooden shelves

(Image credit: Perrin & Rowe)

Wall-mounted mixer taps work well in compact bathroom designs as the pipework can be hidden without the need for a bulky basin pedestal. 

For a smart storage solution to keep the area neat and tidy, use that freed-up space to house some shelving and a laundry basket.

21. Use patterned tiles

bathroom with white bathtub black cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Your choice of tiles will play a vital part in the finished look of your en suite,’ says Amanda Telford, marketing manager at CTD Tiles. ‘But there are a few things to take into consideration when choosing bathroom tiles, from visual impact to practicality. Patterned designs are great for adding a real statement to a space, while large-format tiles can create a calming and spa-like ambience.’

22. Add the feeling of space with mirrors

bathroom peach color wall with round wash basin

(Image credit: Lundhs)

Go big, go bold and make a statement in your bathroom with bathroom mirror ideas. Hang a large bathroom mirror (or two or three) over the basin to bounce around the room and make the whole space feel larger. You'll be surprised how effective it is. 

No wonder it's the number one trick used by interior stylists to make a room feel larger!

23. Give signature pieces space

Blue painted bathroom with pink painted bath tub

(Image credit: Future PLC / Chris Snook)

Roll-top baths make for a stunning focal point in a bathroom of any size, so let it work its magic by giving it room to shine. Opt for a bath in a colour that contrasts with the rest of your scheme – as here the eye is immediately drawn to the pink bath in this small blue bathroom.

The best way to figure out which colours will work together is to consult the colour wheel and opt for shades on opposite sides.

24. Factor in soft furnishings

budget bathroom ideas, neutral bathroom with striped shower curtain and matching cafe blind, cork floor, green painted bath, tongue and groove

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

If you have a window in your en suite or are lucky enough to have a roll-top bath, why not factor in a cafe curtain and/or blind? It's a great way of working in pattern and colour and helping to give the room a softer, cosier vibe. 

If it's a shower curtain you're after, you'll need to make sure it's waterproof, so either line some fabric or layer up with a plain shower curtain and a normal, patterned curtain on top.


How should I plan my en-suite?

'Start by deciding what colour scheme you want, which bathroom trends excite you, and what fixtures matter most to you,' says Richard Ticehurst, Crosswater's brand expert. 'Look to interior magazines, Instagram, and Pinterest if you’re in need of inspiration.

'Next, draw out a plan of your bathroom on graph paper, using metric measurements, and noting the location of windows and doors. Then, create to-scale cut-outs of every fixture and rearrange them on your page until you find a layout that works for you.'  

What is the smallest space needed for an en-suite?

You'll forever be surprised at how much you can actually fit in a small bathroom. There's no strict minimum square footage, but you may need to reconsider what you wish to include.

That said, working in a small space doesn't have to mean forgoing a bath. 'People often try to fit large-footprint baths into small rooms,’ says Barrie Cutchie, at BC Designs. ‘Ideally, baths need at least 100mm round each of the edges to help clean and maintain them. However, if you want to install a bath in a smaller en-suite, this can still be achievable. There are several models out there that are just 1400mm long, which is smaller than a standard shower, and can be the perfect solution.’

Leed Reed, Head of Design at Easy Bathrooms, adds: 'To be considered an en-suite, your bathroom needs to have a sink, WC and shower and in an ideal world, should be at least 17 square feet to make it comfortable to use. If you are having a bath, then you’ll need around five by six-and-a-half feet so it isn’t all squished in. To make sure it doesn’t feel cramped, allow 30 inches from the front of your toilet to any other products, with 40 inches in front of a bath or shower.'

What can I do with a small en-suite?

'If your space is limited and you desire practicality over a space for full relaxation, then choosing a shower over a bath is perhaps the quickest and easiest way to maximise space,' advises Fabrizio from Lusso Stone. 'Opting for a corner shower or even a walk-in shower unit can ensure that space is used to its full potential. However, to make sure you are not compromising, a large rainfall shower keeps that luxury feel.'

'Another key trick is removing those clunky old-fashioned cisterns and instead investing in a ‘Back to Wall’ toilet system. They are stylish, minimalistic, and extremely convenient for smaller spaces. They not only look incredibly slick but give an illusion of there being no cistern at all.'

How are you going to create a plush en suite space? Whether it's a zen-like space or a colour-packed design, it's guaranteed to make your bedroom feel like a safe-haven. 

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home. 

With contributions from