Fam­ily bath­room or en­suite? James Tre­ble has great ad­vice.

Do you go all out on a lux­ury en­suite or a func­tional fam­ily space? James Tre­ble has the an­swers.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS - WITH JAMES TRE­BLE

THE GOOD NEWS is you don’t have to spend a lot to get the de­sign of your bath­room right. But you do need to know where to in­vest wisely. If you have more than one bath­room, bear in mind there are fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences be­tween the fam­ily bath­room and en­suite in terms of needs and de­sires for home­own­ers and pur­chasers. Here are my top tips to help you make the most of your floor­plan and bud­get for both.


When de­sign­ing ei­ther a fam­ily bath­room or en­suite you need to be able to nav­i­gate around the toi­let, shower, bath and van­ity. I al­ways po­si­tion the shower first as it’s usu­ally placed against walls and of­ten works best in a cor­ner. Next is the lo­ca­tion of the toi­let – al­low enough room to move around it and reach the toi­let roll. You also don’t want it to be the first thing you see when you en­ter the room.

I’d sug­gest hav­ing two basins, as long as it doesn’t negate the bench space. It’s bet­ter to have more bench space and only one basin, than two large basins and no room for any­thing else.

For the bath place­ment, it’s com­mon to be lo­cated next to the shower. If room is tight, say in an en­suite, you could look for a drop-in or built-in bath.


Th­ese days, as floor plans get smaller, apart­ment liv­ing is on the rise and our lives get busier, the bath has

be­come a bit of a lux­ury. I do strongly rec­om­mend in­clud­ing at least one bath in the home, and de­pend­ing upon your floor plan, it may be in ei­ther the main fam­ily bath­room or the en­suite, but the fam­ily bath­room makes sense, es­pe­cially if you have young chil­dren. A bath in the en­suite cre­ates a sense of lux­ury in what is usu­ally seen as the par­ents’ re­treat, which can add per­ceived value.


Mixer taps are prac­ti­cal, easy to clean and sim­ple to op­er­ate. As a rule, mix­ers are used for basins,

baths and show­ers. I would only look to a tap set for per­haps a pe­riod home, where a tra­di­tional look may add value.

In the en­suite, con­sider hav­ing the basin tap­ware wall mounted, as this can cre­ate more us­able bench space. Se­lect­ing the right show­er­head is im­por­tant and there are many op­tions.

A stan­dard, wall-mounted shower rose is prac­ti­cal and cost ef­fec­tive. I sug­gest in­stalling show­ers on

a rail, for a num­ber of rea­sons. Firstly, they are ad­justable, so can suit all mem­bers of the fam­ily, the shower head is re­mov­able which makes wash­ing young chil­dren and wash­ing your hair eas­ier and it also makes clean­ing the shower area a breeze.

Another op­tion is a dual shower, which has both a shower on a rail as well as an over­head shower rose. This al­lows you to stand di­rectly un­der­neath or use the hand­held shower if you don’t want to wet your hair. This op­tion works well in the fam­ily bath­room, but is also a prac­ti­cal choice for the en­suite too. The ul­ti­mate in lux­ury is a ceil­ing mounted shower rose, pro­vid­ing a ho­tel-style ex­pe­ri­ence. This is a great

sell­ing point, es­pe­cially for an en­suite, how­ever, bear in mind this will also in­cur ad­di­tional plumb­ing costs.


As with most rooms in the house, stor­age is im­por­tant when it comes to bath­rooms and en­suites.

Van­i­ties are my first point of call and the de­sign and style of th­ese should be max­imised to make sure all the fam­ily’s needs are con­sid­ered. If space is tight, con­sider a full floor-mounted van­ity.

In all bath­rooms, mir­ror cab­i­nets pro­vide a huge amount of eas­ily

ac­ces­si­ble stor­age, which is per­fect for toi­letries and make-up, as well as al­low­ing you to keep the bench­top clut­ter-free and clean. Al­ways talk with your builder and plumber to see if you can make use of the space in­side the wall cav­ity be­hind the mir­rors.

As you can see, there are many things to con­sider when de­sign­ing your bath­rooms and en­suites, so look at your prop­erty type and style, as well as the needs of all fam­ily mem­bers, and al­ways think about the bud­get.

“I do strongly sug­gest in­clud­ing at least one bath in the home.”

Heavy traf­fic Dou­ble sinks are handy for busy morn­ings in the fam­ily bath­room.

Short spout Wall-mounted taps al­low for ex­tra bench space in small bath­rooms.

Wow fac­tor A free­stand­ing bath def­i­nitely adds value, but check it doesn’t make your space too cramped.

TIP A floor­mounted van­ity has more stor­age. Off the rail A shower with both an over­head rose and shower on a rail is James’s favourite op­tion.

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