Décor dilemma: Create privacy for an en-suite bathroom

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Keen to create privacy for an en-suite bathroom? You ask – we find the answers.

Edna Ellman of Gordon’s Bay writes: The entrance to our en-suite bathroom is right at the foot of our bed, which doesn’t allow much space for a regular door. What alternative can you suggest that won’t take up too much space or cost too much?

Jenny Collins of Red Cat Design replies: You have two options: my first recommendation would be to replace your bed with one that doesn’t have a footboard. Yours takes up about 20cm of valuable space between the bed and bathroom.

If you have less than 70cm between the foot of the bed and the bathroom wall, consider a soft, flexible solution such as curtains to provide privacy. Instead of using store-bought curtains, find a beautiful piece of fabric with an interesting pattern or print. The curtains will close the space off and add visual interest to the room.

Sliding panel blinds serve as a stylish alternative to curtains. They’re similar to vertical blinds, but each fabric panel is about 500mm wide and you would slide them to one side to access your bathroom. The panels hang on a rail.

If there’s at least 70cm between the foot of the bed and the start of the bathroom wall once the footboard has been removed, you have enough space to brick up the opening; you could use drywall and leave an opening just as a doorway.

If you have a space of 80cm or more at the foot of the bed, you can install a sliding door that opens towards the dressing table on the bedroom side of the new partition (a hinged door will not work in this space). Barn-style sliding doors are very popular but a louvered door or shutters will work just as well.


The problem space

Repurpose salvaged cottage doors

Splurge on shutters from Taylor Window Blinds (

Add elegance with curtains.


If you can find unused louvre cupboard doors or shutters this could be a good solution. Attach one door to the wall either permanently or with hinges and then attach the next with hinges as well. Small castor wheels added under the doors will allow them to open and close smoothly and they’ll support the weight of the doors.  

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April 2023

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