Room Design 101: The Ensuite Featured imageThe ensuite bathroom, often called the “master bath”, is one of the hottest growing home design trends. Far from just a luxury perk, the ensuite bathroom gives the head(s) of the household a dedicated space to prepare for work or school without disturbing other people in the home.

The design of your ensuite is a great chance to let your personal tastes dictate the style and layout. Usually unseen by visitors, the ensuite bathroom needs to elegantly mirror the rest of the house while still reflecting your personal style and preferences. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the latest trends in ensuite design.

Sinks and Vanities

Referred to only as basins in upscale magazines, the sink, and the vanity on which it rests, both look great when they appear to float above the floor. 

Instead of traditional vanities that house a small cabinet, one of the hottest trends in ensuite design is to have elegant but large vanities that are mounted to the wall rather than the floor and have pull-out drawers instead of doors that swing out and open.

For sinks, a large vanity is a perfect chance to complement the “floating” style by using an above-counter basin. Whether you go for classic plumbing fixtures or a more eclectic style, an above-counter basin (sink) adds an unmistakable touch of class.

The Tub/Shower

Before committing to any ensuite design, it’s essential to plan ahead for the bathing area. Whether you prefer an old-fashioned claw-foot tub or a modern whirlpool style tub, you must make sure the plumbing fits. Many high-end European fixtures require different-sized pipes that are far bigger than standard Canadian fixtures.

Also, if you choose to put in a luxury shower with a high-rate of water flow (some models use up to 34 litres per minute), you may need to upgrade your water heater or install a second unit.


Of course, you’ll need at least one mirror in your ensuite, including behind your vanity and sink. But mirrors can be a great way to extend the usefulness of your ensuite when preparing for work/school while adding an interesting detail to your design. 

Some of the hottest trends in ensuite design include half-size mirrors directly behind the sink combined with floor-length mirrors on the back of the door or directly before the exit. For added impact, consider a small chandelier, an especially fine choice if your ensuite has its own dressing area.


Traditionally, ensuite bathrooms have used tiling on the walls, but some designers are moving towards stone walls made from polished river rocks or other similar materials. Adding a bit of visual texture does wonders when it contrasts with the gleaming smooth surfaces of your tub, basin, and fixtures.

For a more elegant look, invest in quality wallpaper in the entrance and/or dressing area of the ensuite while sticking to imported tiles for the bathing area of your ensuite.

Room Design 101: The Ensuite Shower image


Whether it’s in addition to a tub or the principle bathing area in your ensuite, the hot new trend in showers is open designs. Using translucent glass and light-coloured tiling, open showers have plenty of space and often include a seating bench and detachable wands. Be sure to plan ahead for ventilation in order to keep moisture from building up and affecting the rest of your ensuite.

Focal Points

If your ensuite has the right combination of windows, privacy, and view, one of the best ways to achieve an aesthetically-pleasing design is by placing a soaker tub in the centre of the room as a focal point. 

You can also add a shower off to one side, but the tub holding pride of place is both a great way to showcase the entire ensuite as well as to relax and unwind after a long, hard day at work.

Note: As a rule of thumb, make sure your water heater’s capacity is at least two-thirds of the capacity of the tub.

Room Design 101: The Ensuite Dressing Room imageDressing Room

If you have enough space, one great idea in ensuite design is to include a dressing area in between the entrance (which includes the sink and vanity) and the bathing area (the tub and/or shower). 

Unlike the rest of your home where doors are used to separate spaces, you can use furniture and texture cues to highlight the different areas of your ensuite. Many homeowners use tiling on the flooring in both the entrance and bathing areas while using carpeting in the dressing area. Other great ideas include a cosmetic mirror, small vanity with makeup and hygienic items, luxury lighting (such as a small chandelier), and elegant chairs in the dressing room.

Warm Floor

Nothing beats the comfort and convenience of having a warm floor to walk across when entering the ensuite on a cold Calgary morning. Some designs incorporate under-floor heating systems, but these can be somewhat costly (although, built-in timers do help to save on utility bills.) 

Less-expensive options for keeping the floor warm include stone tiling that gently retains the heat from the rest of the house or laminate surfaces that naturally resist temperature changes.

The ensuite is the one room in your home which you can personalize exactly to your own tastes and desires. Largely unseen by visitors or other members of the household, the ensuite is an oasis of luxury and privacy that will be used on a daily basis. Consider all of your options carefully, and choose the right design style and fixtures to suit your desires (and budget.)

Don’t forget to peek at our previous room design posts for ideas for your master bedroomliving room, and kitchen.


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