Designing a functional yet stylish ensuite or bathroom when you have a limited area to work with can pose a range of challenges. These include freeing up floor space, building into awkward areas, allowing for storage, and lighting up windowless rooms. So if you’re building or ready to renovate, here are 12 small ensuite layouts that will help transform this much-used area of the home.
Floor plan layouts
Image from Board & Vellum
This is a classically-themed ensuite with a lovely neutral and “clean” palette base. However, pops of colour on the splash back and tiling and the timber accents on the textured glass windows keep it from looking too bland. And that vanity! Shaker-style cabinetry and a marble-look top add a luxurious edge. In terms of layout, there is ample space, although they’ve used it efficiently. This can be seen with the “shub” (shower/tub combination) and the fact that the toilet has been allocated elsewhere. Twin sinks also mean multiple occupants can be in the room at the same time, which is a great option for families at bath time!
Ok, so this ensuite design and colour palette won’t suit everyone, but it certainly exudes an oriental-style personality. Marbled accents, antiquities placed on the above-toilet and feature shelving, and the addition of the gold-edged mirror … pure decadence. Layout-wise, it has the luxury of space, but is still a clever design. The toilet is positioned discreetly and blends seamlessly into the dark tiling, and the shower an amply sized feature. The use of lighting in this windowless bathroom also enhances its size. Oh, and we can’t forget that golden, light-splashed basin. Hand-washing would be pure joy in this household.
Image from BHG
This is a classic “three-in-a-row” ensuite layout – meaning the plumbing components (the shower, toilet and vanity) are all on the one wall, so construction costs would have been reduced. Design-wise, it is simple and efficient and an ideal layout for a single or small household or a guest bathroom. The colour palette is simple — black and white predominantly with warm accents in the shelving and brass-look tapware. The mosaic floor tiling, the walk-in shower with its feature screen and subway tiles, super-cute in-shower bench and splashes of greenery complete the personality of this bathroom as a sumptuous yet edgy oasis for pampering.
Image from Pinterest
Some would refer to this layout as the “hotel special”, as space-wise, it is the type of ensuite you’d find in a smaller hotel. But it does have its advantages in terms of its three-in-a-row cost-saving plumbing design. It is also compact, functional and minimalist. Tap ware, the “beehive” tiled floor, sink and “floating” toilet all give it a contemporary twist as does the matte black tap ware. The timber-look cabinetry is also on-trend (very Scandy). Not a bathroom for a big household, but nonetheless, somewhere to enjoy a long, hot shower and an end-of-night teeth-brushing session.
Image from Ideal Home
OK, no shower or bath to be seen here. Probably because this property owner has another adjoining room that is just as stunning. Side-by-side, the toilet and basin are similar in design as is the mirror and slant-y ceiling feature. This room has clearly defined “zones”, which can make smaller spaces feel more generous. Thanks to the contrasting tiled splashback and wood wall panelling, the two areas feel very separate and create a sense of distance. The addition of crisp white towels and an organic-looking basket make it a “relieving” spot that is pure class.
Image from Apartment Therapy
The vertical layout of this “powder room” (a term referring to a smaller room without a shower or bath), creates clean lines and enhances the space, as does its white subway tiles. It’s a whimsical design full of personality from the sprightly floral wallpaper and polished timber flooring to the brass tap ware and Victorian-style exposed metal pipework under the vanity. And we love the open shelving with its menagerie of bottled delights. It’s a clever feature that proves this often purely functional room can also be used as a storage area (for almost anything!) as well.
Image from Elle Decor
Again, a cost-saving ensuite layout with side-by-side plumbing installed in the “shub” and vanity. And the choice of design elements is divine with an old-world charm — from the shiny, roughly-hewn subway tiles and retro-inspired fixtures to the brass Victorian-style tap ware and marble-look vanity and bath edges. The colour palette is warm and inviting — deep, chocolate browns and sumptuous metallics create a cosy haven for relaxation, but the layout is also thoughtfully designed to make the most of natural light that reflects beautifully off each gilt-edged surface.
Image from Love Renovate
This is another small space with a big, bold personality! Layout-wise, the pedestal tub and toilet are efficiently positioned to allow room for a double-drawer vanity and a contemporary counter-top basin. The design is modern-meets-art-deco with the geometrical wall tiles, star-inspired feature wall and honeycomb patterned tiling on the floor. The statement free-standing bath features openly displayed metallic pipe ware and ornately slippered feet, and verdant potted ferns add softness and an organic ambiance. And for those who love spending plenty of time tub-soaking, there is a convenient bathtub caddy for candles (and, dare we say, wine glass placement).
Image from Houzz
As far as guest ensuites go, this one is far from a “second thought” addition to the home. The layout is simple and efficient, and a shutter-free window bathes the room in soft, natural light. The substantial mirror enhances the room’s size with its reflective qualities, and visual interest is added with the soft grey geometric tiling, and metallic finishes on the mirror, towel rack, vanity handles and tap ware. But the star of this design show? The deep, dark blue finish on the vanity that adds vibrancy and creates a focal point for the entire room.
Image from Interior Design Ideas
Even the smallest of spaces can look elegant, modern and chic, and this displayed exceptionally well in this under-stair shower room. It’s cutting-edge design is a combination of shapes, textures and a neutral colour palette of white, matte black and variegated timber-look flooring that continues up the vanity wall to unite the space. The mirror, contemporary tap ware and freestanding vanity (no pipe ware to be seen here!) add an uber-modern twist, and oh, the shower. Big, bold and with an impressive rain head shower head, it exudes resort-style sophistication.
Image from Houzz
The owners of this simplistic yet stylish ensuite are clearly shower fans, and its size and features ensure an undoubtedly pleasurable cleansing experience. The clear glass shower screen and mottled grey/white tiling add to the sense of space, and the shower niche adds an up-to-the minute design twist. The rest of the room features all-white walls, understated cabinetry and an unobtrusive toilet, allowing the darker grey tiling on the shower floor to become an aesthetic focus. A stack of fluffy towels and a pop of stylish, natural greenery complete the look.
Image from Pinterest
Tiling has been used to great effect in this tiny, yet functional powder room. Subway tiles are a popular current choice for wet areas in a home and add a contemporary edge. However, it is the multitude of patterns on the muted grey floor tiling that give this room a unique twist. The free-standing toilet and splashes of matte black break up the neutral colour palette, as does the open timber shelving, which provides the perfect “support” for an edgy bench-mounted basin.
- Jeff Pelletier, 2019, Common Bathroom Floor Plans: Rules of Thumb for Layouts, Board & Vellum
- Amanda Pollard, 2017, 9 small-bathroom challenges and how to solve them, Houzz