The bright white walls and honey-toned cabinetry and floor maximize the airy feel of this master bath by Evens Architects.
Creating the perfect master bathroom is like designing a jigsaw
puzzle. All the pieces of the bathroom must fit together, and there are many
choices in selecting the right pieces for you.
Master bathrooms have doubled in size in the past 30 years. Once
the bathroom was simply a utilitarian location, but now it has become a
show-off place. Blame this on the giant whirlpool tub introduced in the 1980’s,
which single-handedly converted the bathroom into a place for relaxation.
Today with our busy, fast-paced lives, we don’t have time for a regular
spa ritual. Also, many of us are trying to be responsible for our water
and energy usage.
Are you a bather or a shower-er? Perhaps you do both. Since
these pieces of the bathroom puzzle take up the largest square footage, it
makes sense to determine what your bathing needs are. The new
faster-filling single-person soaking tub can fit into the same space as a
conventional tub area and is an upgrade. And if you want to combine the
showering and bathing, there are higher-end tubs that have a showering
compartment which is separate but used in the same space. Perhaps, for a more
satisfying shower experience, you may want to create a shower that is the
center of attention. This means you get rid of the tub altogether (Don’t keep
the tub for resale value only!)
When you share a bathroom, the next question is about sink
arrangement. Design magazines show a double sink vanity so frequently that it
has become the norm. However, if space is an issue, consider gaining
counter space by having only one sink instead of two. Most of us rarely use
both at the same time. Where space is not so tight, rather than selecting
companion sinks in a single countertop, separate the two into two cabinets with
built-in storage in between. That gives each person an individual area without
Equally important is the placement of the toilet. The toilet
room is one option in a larger master bathroom. Be sure to consider separate
venting for white noise and odor control. An alternative idea is to place
½-inch thick laminated or frosted glass wall dividing the toilet from the sink
area. While not creating genuine privacy, it gives the illusion of separate
Put all those parts together and you can achieve that bathroom of
your dreams within the space you have. Remember that bigger is not always
better.Master Bathroom Planning Guide (sidebar)
A few guidelines to get you started with your new bathroom:
- Before you start the planning process, take an
inventory of all the things you currently store in your bathroom.
How many towels and bath linens do you want to be handy? Could some
of them be housed nearby?
- Toiletries can occupy a lot of storage area.
That, too, should be considered in the drawers of the vanity or
built-in bath cabinet space. Also how will you handle toiletries in the
shower or bath areas?
- To get control of your grooming electronics,
look at a bath cabinet that allows you to plug in directly rather than
leaving them on the counter.
- Storage above the vanity should always be in
easy reach. Mirrored cabinets (built-in or wall-mounted) come in
many sizes to accommodate most spaces.
- Bathroom safety is important because this room
can be a hazard, no matter what your age. Slip resistant surfaces,
particularly in the wet areas, and grab bars in tub and showers are easy
to add during the building process. They are more difficult afterwards.
- Comfort height toilets raise the height of the
seat to 17 to 19 inches. They are easier and safer to use as you get
older. A future-proofing investment you can enjoy now.
shadow or glare with good lighting; think about night lights or sensor
lights to avoid stumbling in the dark.
For a collection of plans with a wide variety of great master suites click here.