If privacy is less of a concern for your ensuite bathroom, why not create a dramatic and opulent open-plan space? 

interval architects photozhi geng g house ensuite bathroom - grand designs

Image: Zhi Geng, courtesy of V2com

Open-plan ensuite bathrooms are more common in luxury hotels than they are the everyday home, but for those self building or renovating their own home, the concept has some merit. 

Ensuite bathrooms are often small spaces carved off the main bedroom of a house, so they can be small, awkward spaces, which struggle for light. By removing the walls from the bedroom to the ensuite, you may be able to make both spaces feel bigger and brighter, upping your enjoyment of the once separate rooms too. 

However, there are some considerations to keep in mind. With the transition between wet and dry areas less defined, you’ll need a design that ensure your bedroom is happy to share the environment with your bathroom. You’ll also have to reconsider your relationship with privacy in the space, but with the person you share the ensuite and bedroom with, if anyone, and with the neighbours. 

Semi open-plan

modern ensuite bathroom bedroom with crittall windows - home improvements - grand designs  

Image: Alex Maguire Photography 

With a client keen on creating a spectacular open-plan bedroom and bathroom suite in their property, Martins Camisuli Architects had to be clever in what they left exposed and what they didn’t. The bath, used more for luxurious soaks than a quick morning rinse off, may seem in full view of the large Crittall style windows, but a privacy film has been employed to shield it from prying eyes. 

ensuite bathroom in openplan bedroom space - home improvements - grand designs

Image: Alex Maguire Photography  

The WC and shower, however, are tucked into a wood-cladded wrap around section. With relatively private views out of the window, this works instead to conceal these areas from view from the bedroom and anyone who might poke their head up the stairs, offering a sense of privacy when using the space.

Read more: 6 bathroom design ideas inspired by hotels

Privacy screen

interval architects photozhi geng g house ensuite bathroom - grand designs

Image: Zhi Geng, courtesy of V2com 

From pocket doors to sliding screens, there’s a way to have the best of both worlds from an open-plan ensuite. These bathrooms, created by Interval Architects in a home in Japan, don’t completely conceal the bathroom from view from the bedroom, but offer a slight relief and sense of intimacy for the space when in use.

interval architects photozhi geng g house ensuite bathroom - grand designs

Image: Zhi Geng, courtesy of V2com 

In the first bathroom, the bedroom borrows light from the ensuite window, while in this guest suite, the bathroom doesn’t have windows, so would be only artificially lit in a traditional ensuite style.

Dressing room style 

  ensuite bathroom and dressing room - home improvements - grand designs

Image: Day True

This ensuite bathroom created by Day True features a narrow dressing area leading to a wider ensuite. The dressing area houses a vanity unit and wardrobe, but also acts as a physical separation between the bedroom and the ensuite facilities.

While the view through from the bedroom captures the freestanding bath, the shower and WC are tucked out of site allowing privacy for use when someone else is in the room.

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Broken-plan ensuite bathrooms

Drummonds broken plan en suite in large farmhouse conversion - grand designs

Image: Drummonds

In Ana Engelhorn's renovated farmhouse in Catalan, creating a solid partition between bedroom and bathroom wasn’t on the cards. Instead, the semi-partition creates a screen between the bedroom and this beautiful freestanding bath from Drummonds.

Drummonds broken plan en suite in large farmhouse conversion - grand designs

Image: Drummonds

While creating a physical barrier in a similar way to a separate room, this broken-plan scheme retains the line of sight through the space, so that none of the grandness of this space is lost.

Read more: A guide to broken-plan living spaces

Bathtub in a bedroom 

copper bathtub in a bedroom - grand designs

Image: Virtue Projects, courtesy of BC Designs

Another way to get the best of both worlds is to retain the key elements such as a shower, WC and basin in a separate ensuite, but bring a freestanding bath into the bedroom, as in this loft conversion project by Virtue Projects

copper bathtub in loft conversion bedroom - grand designs

Image: Virtue Projects, courtesy of BC Designs

Here, the copper bathtub from BC Designs, is perfect for a long, soothing soak under the splendour of the roof light, while the more practical elements are hidden away in a nearby ensuite space. Subtle changes in the flooring around the bathtub help to zone this area. 


For more ideas on bathroom design, or for up-to-date advice on renovating and extending your home, read Grand Designs magazine digitally for free now by registering your details 

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Bathtub in a bedroom: the practical considerations

9 ways to bring light and space to your self-build or renovation

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