What Is an En Suite Bathroom?

Bathroom with slate floors, free-standing tub and wood planked ceiling

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If you've been on the hunt for a new home to rent or purchase and have spent some time looking at real estate listings, chances are you've come across the term "en suite bathroom." You may wonder what exactly an en suite bathroom is, how it differs from a regular bathroom, and what its benefits are. We're here to answer all these questions, starting with what the term refers to.

What Is an En Suite Bathroom?

An en suite bathroom is a bathroom that adjoins a bedroom, typically the primary bedroom, and can only be accessed through that room and no other space in the home, therefore making it private.

An en suite bathroom is a bathroom that is connected to a bedroom and can only be accessed through that bedroom and no other space in the home, therefore making it fully private. The term "en suite" is borrowed from French and means to make a suite, to connect or attach two spaces. In modern real estate language it is most commonly used to describe a bathroom that adjoins a bedroom, usually the primary bedroom. Read on to find out more about this space, its pros and cons and the distinctive features it usually has.

Pros and Cons of an En Suite Bathroom

There are many advantages when it comes to an en suite bathroom, some of the main ones being privacy, comfort and convenience. If there are multiple people in your household, it means not having to share a bathroom with everyone and if you have guests coming to stay, there's no need to clear all your skincare products off the vanity to make room for their travel toiletries. It's also a great time saver—not only do you not have to wait for your turn to take a shower, but if the bathroom is directly connected to your bedroom, it means that you're close to your closet and picking out an outfit, and getting ready is faster and easier.

The comfort and convenience factor is a huge draw for people, because it means that you don't have to walk through a public part of your home just to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Your sleep isn't interrupted as much by the extra time spent up and about; you don't have to walk down a dark hallway; and there's also less of a chance of disturbing others who are asleep.

There are very few disadvantages when it comes to an en suite bathroom, the only major one being if this is the only bathroom in the home. While this is not the case very frequently, it does sometimes happen in older properties especially in an apartment or condominium layout and can be a turn-off for buyers and renters. It means that there's no privacy for the residents of the bedroom; guests and other occupants of the home have to walk through the bedroom to use the bathroom. Sometimes the bathroom has two adjoining bedrooms and can be accessed from both, however at that point it's no longer an en suite, but is referred to as a Jack and Jill bathroom.

Distinctive Features

En suite bathrooms vary in size, fixtures and level of luxury, and have become more common in recent decades as an extension of a primary bedroom and sometimes other additional bedrooms depending on the size of the home. An en suite is usually the largest bathroom in the home, tends to have more than one vanity (either one double or two separate vanities), a toilet that is enclosed in its own space, and it often has both a shower and a tub. Depending on how luxurious the home is, sometimes the tub is free-standing or is a whirlpool or jetted tub.

Since it is connected to a bedroom, it makes sense visually that the en suite continues the design style and color scheme of the bedroom. So, for example, if the bedroom features a warm color palette, cozy wood tones and warm metals, extending that into the en suite bathroom will create continuity, cohesiveness and a pleasing visual harmony that will make the two spaces feel more connected and intentional.

En Suite Bathroom vs. Non-En Suite Bathroom

En Suite Bathroom
  • Connected directly to one bedroom

  • Can only be accessed through one bedroom

  • Adds value to a home and is not necessarily considered a standard feature in homes

  • Provides privacy

  • Tends to have a larger vanity or multiple vanities and both a tub and a shower

  • The toilet can be enclosed within its own space

Non-En Suite Bathroom
  • Not connected to a single room, often situated near a hallway or open space

  • Can be accessed from common areas of the home

  • Is a standard feature of a home

  • Is not a private space as it can be accessed from common areas

  • Tends to have a tub/shower combination

  • The toilet is not enclosed within its own space