One of the biggest questions that crops up when looking for student accommodation is should I go for an en-suite room or is it OK to have a shared bathroom? There are a few key difference between the two options that come in to play. But ultimately it comes down to cost - so the question is effectively - “is it worth spending more money to have an en-suite bathroom?”
Well, thankfully we are here to talk through the some of the pros and cons of both, and hopefully this will help you make a somewhat informed decision about what is the best option for you.
Cost: Generally, you are going to have to pay more for an en-suite room. But en-suite rooms are actually becoming much more common, even in student houses. Depending on where you are looking the actual price difference could be fairly minimal. It is also important to remember that there may be rooms available with en-suite at the same price as a property with a shared bathroom, but to find these you will most likely have to compromise on location or another factor. But when it comes down to it a shared bathroom will usually be better value. Winner: Shared
Cleanliness: This depends quite a lot on you. You can have an en-suite bathroom that you make very messy. But the one vital difference here is that it is just your mess you have to worry about. In a shared bathroom you have 2, 3, or maybe 7 other students who are contributing to the overall condition of the room. That is not to say shared bathroom can’t be kept clean, it just means there it will take considerable less time for the bathroom to get dirty. It does of course depend on the flatmates and how often you clean but it hard to argue against an en-suite being the cleaner option. Winner: En-suite
Convenience: Obviously the big advantage that an en-suite offers is that it is yours, and only yours. If you need to use it, it is there. This can be incredibly important if multiple flatmates are planning to leave the house at the same time in the morning. If 4 of your have similar schedules, and you have to sit and wait half an hour to get in the shower, it can be a real pain. It is also attached to your room, which means you don’t have far to travel during the night. Winner: En-suite
Size: This will depend on the house or apartment of course. But it is not often you see an en-suite that you can fit a bath tub in. This compared to your average shared bathroom which will generally have a bathtub and sometimes even a separate shower. You could say that you don’t need too much space in a bathroom, but it can make quite a difference, especially many en-suites will just contain a shower, sink and toilet. Also, if you are someone who like a good soak, you might miss not having a bath available. Winner: Shared
Maintenance: We touched on this when looking at the cleanliness of the two options, but an important thing to consider is how much effort will be required to keep it clean and in working order. On one hand, in an en-suite it is only one persons mess to keep on top of, where as in a shared bathroom there are many - however on the other hand, there is only one person to do the cleaning, compared to a few of you. The thing that slightly edges it is the fact that with an en-suite, the chances of something breaking drops considerably if there is just you using it. In a shared bathroom things are getting used a whole lot more, so the chance of the shower head being broken or the toilet seat breaking off jumps up quite considerably. Winner: En-suite
Verdict: This was actually much closer than we initially thought it would be. Both options have some strong pros and some interesting cons. And ultimately it comes down to what is more important for you. But as we have to pick a winner, for use the en-suite just gets it. It offers a really convenient and manageable space, and can even compete price-wise especially if you are flexible on other criteria. But I think one thing is clear, is that a shared bathroom isn’t too daunting - if you are smart as a house to keep things clean and people at least try to clean up after themselves it can be easy to have a shared bathroom you would be proud to show your parents.
Overall winner: En-suite