Once upon a time, a bathroom was the least important room in a home. In fact it wasn't until fairly recently that many homes had the luxury of indoor bathrooms at all. In our grandparent's day, having a bath meant placing a metal tub in front of the fire and filling it with hot water. Everyone had to share the bath and the last person in was extremely unlucky. And as for the toilet, well as long as you didn't mind a trek outdoors and were not afraid of the dark and a few spiders, you were fine.
Thankfully times have changed and all modern homes come fully equipped with a bathroom large or small. Unfortunately, in a larger home, many families soon discover that having just one bathroom is simply not enough and everyone is forced to queue up in the morning just to have a shower.
Adding an en suite to the master bedroom can make life a lot easier, but only if the job is done properly. So what are the dos and don'ts of building an en suite and what pitfalls should you try and avoid?
Do Plan the Space Carefully
En suites are usually on the small side because you are 'borrowing' space from either the master bedroom or an adjacent room/cupboard. Because of this, you need to plan everything down to the tiniest detail. For example, say you want a large walk in shower, think about whether it will fit in the space and leave you enough room for everything else. If you are forced to work with very little space, look at space-saving sinks, bi-folding shower doors and space saving heated towel rails for small bathrooms.
Do Ensure there is Adequate Ventilation
Ventilation is always important in a bathroom of any description, but if the proposed en suite is internal, ventilation is even more important. Make sure that any extractor fan you install is sufficient for the space or you could end up with mould, mildew and all kinds of damp problems.
Don't Sacrifice a Bedroom
Whilst an en suite can add value to a property, it won't add value if you are building an en suite at the expense of a bedroom. Bedrooms sell houses and if you lose a bedroom any increase in value gained from a new en suite will be wiped out by the loss of a bedroom. You should also be careful of sacrificing excessive space in a bedroom. En suites are always a desirable selling feature, but not when the bedroom floor space has been slashed in half in the process and you can no longer reach the wardrobe without climbing over the bed.
Don't Use Dark Colours
Most en suites are very small and compact. This means that you need to be careful when planning the décor and choosing tiles, floor coverings and other decorative features. Black tiles and a dark floor might look sexy in a large, spacious bathroom, but in a tiny, windowless en suite you will probably feel as if you have been entombed every time you use the toilet. For best results, stick to white sanitary ware and light colours everywhere else. And don't forget to make sure you have adequate lighting.
Adding an en suite to the master bedroom can easily add between £10,000 and £20,000 to a property, but only if the conversion is done to a high standard. If you decide to do the work yourself, make sure you are proficient in all the necessary skills. And finally, make sure your boiler can cope with additions to the heating circuit.