Original Article: https://www.domain.com.au/living/the-block-2022-5-trends-to-take-from-the-en-suite-reveals-to-inspire-your-own-makeover-1166819/

If you think designing a bathroom is stressful, try an en suite. Not only should it be just as functional and imbue spa-like vibes, but it must also fit a smaller footprint. 

For the teams on The Block, en suite week is notoriously challenging. Yet this year, they tackled it with gusto, impressing the judges and proving even the smallest spaces can have an enormous impact.

From artsy wallpaper to a roaring fireplace, creating a five-star en suite is achievable on any budget.

The fireplace

Conventional? No. Super stylish? Yes. Photo: Nine
Conventional? No. Super stylish? Yes. Photo: Nine

A fireplace in an en suite? Why not, said the teams, with Ankur and Sharon’s double gas style a standout. “A fireplace, even a decorative one, brings warmth, atmosphere and luxury to a space,” says designer Liz Hall from Studio Apercu

Designer Martine Cooper agrees and says it’s crucial the layout can accommodate it comfortably. “Consider the fireplace’s height and distance from the tub and only install in a larger space so you can appreciate the fire,” she says.

Add a mantle as a space to style. “Contemporary streamlined fireplaces with large format porcelain or natural stone are impactful,” she says. “For a traditional look, add a mirror or art above the mantel and a vase or candles on top.”

No room for a fireplace? “Use candles to create cosiness,” suggests Hall. “Big, small, few, or many – whatever suits your space.” 

Make it luxe

Omar and Oz impressed with their tub for two and floor-to-ceiling curtains. Photo: Nine
Omar and Oz impressed with their tub for two and floor-to-ceiling curtains. Photo: Nine

Omar and Oz cemented their “bathroom kings” title for their opulent walk-through shower, tub for two, and floor-to-ceiling curtains. “It’s a party,” commented judge Shayna Blaze, noting luxe inclusions like the bench seat in the shower and framed country vistas.

Use organic touches and earthy highlights in a traditional home to imbue spa-day feels. “Timber features, lush greenery, and curved shapes provide atmosphere, as does stone or marble on the floors, walls or as a stunning feature vanity,” says Hall.

Lighting has the power to enhance a small space. “Install a skylight or louvres for natural airflow or design a window that looks out onto a private courtyard,” says Cooper. Amp up the ambience by layering soft and task lighting. Consider a dazzling chandelier, decorative wall sconces and sneaky LED lighting within cabinetry.

The double shower

What's better than one shower? Two, of course. Photo: Nine
What’s better than one shower? Two, of course. Photo: Nine

Why install one shower when you can have two? The double shower featured throughout the team’s en suites with Omar and Oz’s walk-through version popular with the judges and Dylan and Jenny’s especially glamourous one fitted with gold accents.

“It’s a luxurious addition, but it takes up space and adds costs with extra plumbing and fixtures,” Cooper warns.

Make sure you have ample space for them though. Photo: Nine
Make sure you have ample space for them though. Photo: Nine

Install an overhead rain head at one end and a hand-held shower at the other. “If two people are showering together, choose matching heads and mixers,” she suggests. Include a built-in shelf for good looks and convenience, and if budget allows, splurge on a skylight above or a large glass window overlooking the garden. 

Rachel and Ryan’s double shower added a “palatial” feel to their en suite, but was deemed too “boxed away” by Blaze.  

“Ensure ample space for your double shower – at least two metres by 1.4 metres,” suggests Cooper. “Pick a larger shower head and mount it from the ceiling or wall, ensuring its distance from the floor is around 2.4m.” 

Arty wallpaper

Dylan and Jenny's subtle pink fern print wallpaper adds colour and flair. Photo: TCC Real Estate
Dylan and Jenny’s subtle pink fern print wallpaper adds colour and flair. Photo: TCC Real Estate

“Beautiful wallpaper creates a link to nature and adds flair,” says Cooper. Dylan and Jenny achieved just that with their subtle pink fern print, as did Ankur and Sharon with their choice based on a drawing by Victorian-era artist John Skinner Prout. 

Cooper says an en suite is perfect for wallpapering as its smaller wall space means less wallpaper. “You might only need one roll, so indulge in something designer,” she suggests. 

Combine wallpaper with wall panelling, tiles or contrasting coloured paint Photo: Nine
Combine wallpaper with wall panelling, tiles or contrasting coloured paint Photo: Nine

Look for water-resistant vinyl wallpaper or use regular wallpaper beyond splash zones and in well-ventilated spaces. “Technical wallpaper is designed specifically for wet areas and can even be used in showers,” says Hall.  

Combine with wall panelling, tiles or contrasting coloured paint. “For a maximalist look, paper all the walls, or just do one wall and feature it like art,” she says. 

Decorative windows and doors

Timeless French doors with surrounding architraves, decorative skirting, and classic window frames give even the simplest en suite architectural flair.  Photo: Belle Property
Timeless French doors with surrounding architraves, decorative skirting, and classic window frames give even the simplest en suite architectural flair. Photo: Belle Property

Gone are the days of the single sliding frosted glass window. Timeless French doors with surrounding architraves, decorative skirting, and classic window frames give even the simplest en suite architectural flair. “They add a high level of detail and in country homes, ensure consistency with the rest of the house,” says designer Angie Rogers from Interior Tailor Company

Reeded glass is popular and French doors are an elegant feature, despite occupying valuable floor space, as they did in Omar and Oz’s en suite.

Surround a window in white subway tiles, or place a sash window so it frames a view. “Place above the tub to anchor it in its space and dress with beautiful sheers for next-level luxury,” Rogers adds.

Join our design community!

Subscribe to be part of our design community and stay informed on all things interiors from MCID.

You have Successfully Subscribed!