An en suite bathroom is simply a bathroom attached to a bedroom, usually the primary bedroom. An en suite bathroom can only be accessed by going through the bedroom, which makes it more private and convenient. En suite bathrooms can be selling points to potential homebuyers, so consider adding one as part of a bathroom remodel. Our guide explains en suite bathrooms’ costs and benefits and how they affect home value.
What Does En Suite Mean?
The French term en suite (pronounced “on sweet”) means “so as to form a suite,” but in terms of real estate listings, it essentially just means “connected.” The phrase may be spelled “en suite,” “en-suite,” or “ensuite,” but all mean the same thing when talking to a realtor.
En suite rooms can only be accessed by going through another room rather than through a hallway, living room, or other common area. A hotel room may have en suite amenities such as kitchenettes or patios, but when it comes to homes, en suite nearly always refers to a bathroom. Sometimes the whole bedroom and bathroom unit is referred to as an en suite bedroom or just an en suite. En suites are often found on the second floor.
When attached to the primary bedroom, an en suite bathroom is usually the home’s largest and most luxurious bathroom. However, an en suite bathroom can be small or one attached to a guest room. An en suite also doesn’t have to be a full bathroom—it may be a half bath with only a toilet and sink. A Jack and Jill bathroom is sometimes confused with an en suite bath, but this term actually applies to a shared bathroom with entrances from two bedrooms.
Why Choose an En Suite Bathroom?
An en suite’s main benefit is that it’s a private bathroom. There’s no easy access for guests or visitors, so you can leave your toiletries out, and you don’t need to pass through shared rooms to use it. There’s more room for luxury features such as jetted bathtubs, double vanities, or separate walk-in showers.
This bathroom layout’s biggest drawback becomes evident if it’s the only bathroom in a house. Although most new homes have at least one guest bathroom, small older homes may only have the en suite conjoining the primary bedroom. That means guests, home improvement contractors, and children will have to pass through the bedroom in order to access the facilities.
Another possible drawback is when people who share a bedroom have very different sleep schedules or one is a light sleeper. One person using the en suite bathroom could disturb the other. In this case, a standard bathroom located elsewhere could be preferable.
How to Design an En Suite Bathroom
Here are some bathroom design tips to get you started.
- If you’re remodeling a preexisting bathroom, the quickest and most cost-effective way to renovate is to avoid moving plumbing fixtures. Work around the current locations of tubs, showers, toilets, and sinks, even if you change out the actual fixtures.
- Particularly if the space is small, make the most of it with innovative storage and organization solutions. Keep the layout simple, and mount things such as vanities and cabinets to the walls.
- If you don’t take baths often, consider a tub-to-shower conversion.
- To lower costs, consider tub refinishing. The cost of refinishing a bathtub is much lower than installing a new one.
- Consider the fittings and fixtures. Stainless steel and brushed nickel are popular, but brass or black fixtures are elegant.
Because en suite bathrooms adjoin bedrooms, the two rooms usually share colors and materials. But there’s no reason to limit yourself if you’d prefer something different. Just make sure the designs at least complement each other. Here are some design options to consider.
- Accessible bathroom with safety rails and a walk-in tub
- Eclectic and colorful look with patterned tile
- Full wet room with a walk-in shower and glass partitions
- Luxe look with marble countertops and a freestanding tub
- Modern and minimalist look with a monochrome color scheme
- Open-plan design with no entry door
- Rustic, cozy look with hardwood floors and copper fixtures
How Much Does an En Suite Bathroom Cost?
The cost to add a bathroom depends on size, location, and features. Converting an existing living space into a full bathroom costs between $7,000 and $12,500, though a large primary bathroom can cost up to $40,000.* Building a new bathroom addition is more of an investment, and you may pay anywhere from $14,000 for a small, full bathroom to $96,000 for a luxury bathroom. Overall, it costs about $200 to $250 per square foot to convert an existing space and $400 to $600 to build a new bathroom addition.
If your home’s layout allows, you may be able to convert an existing bathroom to an en suite bathroom by altering the doorway’s placement. In this case, you may only need to hire a carpenter ($13 to $39 per hour) and a drywall contractor ($60 to $90 per hour) to move the doorways. If any wiring or plumbing fixtures need to be moved, you’ll also need to hire an electrician ($50 to $100 per hour) and a plumber ($45 to $200 per hour).
*Cost data via Home Advisor and Fixr.
How to Remodel an En Suite Bathroom
As you plan for your en suite bathroom remodel, keep the following tips in mind.
- Be realistic about your budget, and include some extra room for unexpected overages. Many experts recommend a 20% to 30% cushion.
- Be realistic about what you can do yourself. Many finishing jobs require time but not necessarily expertise, and are well within most homeowners’ capabilities. However, plumbing and electrical work should only be attempted by licensed contractors.
- A general contractor will help coordinate the work of subcontractors (plumber, electrician, flooring installer, etc.), but they will also add 10%–15% to the budget. You can save by acting as your own general contractor if you have the time.
- If you don’t know how best to use the space, talk to a design consultant.
- Get quotes from at least three local contractors before making your choice. Be wary of anyone who charges much more or much less than others.
En suite bathrooms are prized by homeowners and real estate agents for their privacy and convenience. If your home doesn’t have one, you can convert an existing space or add a bathroom. While adding a bathroom adds home value, the return on investment is relatively low for a large remodeling project—between 26% and 30%. This doesn’t mean it’s a poor investment, but the goal of adding a bathroom should be your own comfort rather than maximizing your home’s value.*
*According to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value 2023 report.
En Suite Bathroom FAQ
What is the difference between an en suite bathroom and a primary bathroom?
An en suite bathroom is connected to a bedroom. A primary bathroom is connected to the primary bedroom, so it is, by definition, an en suite bathroom.
What is a Jack and Jill bathroom?
A Jack and Jill bathroom is one located between two bedrooms and accessible from both. It’s usually a full bathroom.
What is a half bath?
A half bath contains two plumbing elements, usually a toilet and sink.