Whether it’s called the primary bathroom, the owners’ bathroom or, more traditionally, the master bathroom, this room deserves special attention. An even better name might be the formal bathroom.
After all, a formal dining room and a formal living room rarely get as much use as the owners’ en suite.
New-home builders and design centers can show you how to create a formal bathroom.
Craving custom lighting complete with remote, zoned dimmer switches and fans for optimal ventilation and makeup or shaving lighting? Or perhaps a larger shower is in order, where both of you can have the comfort and showerhead style you deserve.
And then there are nice-to-have features such as the towel warmer, useful for after-shower warmth in the winter and for ensuring towels come fully dry in warmer seasons.
Speaking of warmers, how about a heated toilet seat for a toasty tushy on chilly winter mornings? One may wonder why this option didn’t come before the already popular option of radiant heating in bathroom floors.
While you’re at it, look into the good old-fashioned and highly upscale bidet. Though not as in demand in the Americas as in other parts of the world over the generations, the bidet is gaining in popularity. Not only does a bidet provide convenience, comfort and hygienic benefits, but it reduces water use and paper waste.
Choose cleaner tile and cabinet options
No one likes to clean stained, mildewy and grimy bathroom grout, whether on the floor, in the shower or around the basins.
In addition, overly ornate cabinets in bathrooms collect not only dust but layers of mist and splashes of beauty products.
To create a formal bathroom that’s as easy to clean as it is to enjoy, choose smoother lines, large-format tile with less (or no) grout and flatter surfaces. Not only are larger tiles more attractive and easier to clean, but — because there are fewer lines or grids — the space looks larger.
Also consider adding extra exhaust fans and ventilation to keep bathrooms fresher.
Other than vanity cabinets, and possibly a linen closet, allow for flexibility by avoiding extra built-in cabinetry for storage. Attractive, free-standing, furniture-grade storage pieces with vented shelving or cabinets make smart options for storing bathroom products that may contain moisture.
Rethink showers and tubs
Roughed-in plumbing, which is determined by the builder’s plans for the new home, will determine the general location of the shower, tub, sinks and toilets. But if the plumbing hasn’t yet been roughed in, there may yet be opportunity for slight customizations.
Nevertheless, the most luxurious new-home bathrooms feature showers that are larger and more open than the older, run-of-the-mill shower enclosures. Whether the shower is open or surrounded by glass, the nicest showers have no trim on top, bottom or sides.
If it’s not already standard from the builder, look into a curbless entry on the shower floor and even a place to sit. These features give the formal bathroom timelessness.
The shower or the tub may even be located in an alcove. But the most contemporary tubs are longer and higher, free-standing and attached to nothing but the floor by way of plumbing.
Next, look at showerhead or steam shower options long before shower installation, to allow the appropriate piping on the walls and ceiling. The designer and builder may be able to accommodate two showerheads.
An upscale formal bathroom is clutter-free and hazard-free.
Work with the designer to choose custom tile design for inside the shower, including nooks large and deep enough for all shampoos, soaps, washcloths, razors and loofahs. By doing so, you not only reduce the risk of tripping on shampoo bottles, but you eliminate the need to hang those suction-cup accessory holders that always slide off the walls anyway.
Add accents and color
Connect all the luxurious bathroom features by using a large-format, patterned tile on the wall alongside the tub. Alternatively, choose a pretty, large-format tile to go part way up the wall near the tub — perhaps up to a windowsill — and paint the remainder of the wall with an accent color that can be easily changed every five years or so.
What else can a new-home buyer add to the primary bathroom to make it all the more inviting?
In large enough home plans, builders may offer two water closets in the owners’ bathroom, one for each of you, outfitted to your comfort.
Electrical work can accommodate a media center to include a TV, multi-zone audio or a safe place to store and charge phones and tablets away from the bedroom.
All you have to do is imagine. And then ask your builder how to turn imagination into the perfect formal bathroom.
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