If you have a growing family in a smaller home, you probably find that the bathroom is the biggest bottleneck, and the greatest cause of domestic friction. Not all of us can afford to simply move to a bigger house, aside from the fact that it involves immense inconvenience and upheaval.
A better solution is to add an en suite bathroom to one of the bedrooms, as a simple way of restoring peace and harmony to your daily lives. Here are some points to consider.
Before you even think about major building work, the first thing to check is whether you need planning permission. In general, this will not be necessary for an en suite, unless you also intend to build an extension in which to house it, or you live in a listed property.
Supply and drainage
Given the purpose of an en suite, the first consideration is how water will arrive and depart. Adding pipework from the mains supply is generally a simple matter, but the drainage issue can be more complex. Ideally, you will want to drain directly into the main soil pipe, so plan your underground drainage route carefully, to make it as simple as possible.
The alternative is to install a macerator, but this is a noisy, costly and complicated solution that is best avoided.
Pipework and electrics
When it comes to the cabling and pipework, the secret is in the planning. Draw it all out carefully, and make the best possible use of voids behind the ceiling and under the floor, to keep everything as well hidden and neat as you can.
Ventilation and insulation
Bathrooms are damp, humid places, so ventilation needs to be factored into your design plans at the outset, to ensure good air circulation, prevent the build up of mould and make your new en suite a pleasant and comfortable place to be.
Good insulation will help prevent condensation build up, as well as keeping the room warm in winter months. This is a particularly important consideration if the en suite is adjacent to an external wall.
Space and light
Most en suites are less than expansive, so it is essential that you make the best use of the available space. Consider sleek, minimalistic designs and features, such as a low profile shower tray, a wall mounted toilet and a small vanity unit that incorporates the wash hand basin and storage.
A large wall mirror is not only useful, it also adds a sense of space and light to the room, so is a feature well worth considering.
Thinking outside the box room
Many people make the mistake of trying to cram their en suite into an area the size of a cupboard. This is where a little imagination can go a long way. For example, if there is only really room in there for a toilet, then why not have a free standing bath as a feature in the main bedroom? The possibilities are limited only by your own imagination.