It might be where you start and end your day, but the bedroom is often overlooked in favour of reception rooms. However, a tranquil master bedroom with plenty of clothes storage – and an en suite to avoid morning battles for the bathroom – is almost as much a practicality as it is a luxury.
Location in the House
If you are building a new home, the location of the master bedroom will influence your floorplan. For example, if you have a particularly stunning view, you may position the master suite so that you can exploit this view while enjoying breakfast in bed, or a relaxing bath.
The owners of this bedroom in a bungalow remodel, chose a juliet balcony with french doors so that they can open up their bedroom on sunny days
On top of this, you should take sunlight into account. A south facing bedroom will get plenty of sunlight, which is good from a light point of view, but might make it a little warm on hot summer mornings. If it does have to face south, consider ways you can keep it cool in summer (such as using a brise soleil).
However, the positioning will also be informed by needs of your family and whether you have children’s rooms to consider too. For the early years have children’s bedroom near to yours for feeds and supervision. For school and teenage years however you will want to locate them further away so that you can all have some privacy — and peace and quiet.
Another consideration is where your room is in relation to roads or other sources of potential noise. That could also mean noise within the house, perhaps from a media room or where your teenagers hang out.
Bedrooms are dictated by the size of the bed and also the functionality of the bedroom itself. The master bedroom is likely to feature a king size bed (1.5x2m) (or a super king size bed at 1.8x2m) plus any wardrobe space. Therefore, an optimum size for a master bedroom would be around 4x4m up to around 4.5×4.5m (20.25m²).
This would allow enough space around the bed and also room for a sitting and/or dressing area. If you plan on having a dressing room separate from the bedroom then allow a space of around 1.8×1.8m.
Master bedroom 20.25m²
The modern master bedroom usually has an en suite and sometimes a dressing room too. Whether as separate rooms or just designated areas, it helps to think of them as a sleeping zone, a bathing zone and a dressing zone.
Often, the dressing zone is in the same area as the sleeping zone, perhaps with simple freestanding or built in wardrobes. A clever trick some people use, is to treat their wardrobes as a room divider between the sleeping and bathing zones too.
Ways to divide your master suite:
Another example of a traditional master suite layout. This time the dressing room and en suite are a step up from the bedroom floor
This master suite is divided horizontally with a partition wall. Wardrobes line the corridor which provides access to the en suite
In this master suite, the occupants step down from the dressing room and en suite, to the sleeping area. It creates a physical divide without affecting the flow of the space
Furniture layout will in part depend on where windows and doors need to go. The standard practice is to place the bed centrally with the headboard to a wall, but if you want to do something a little different, copy schemes where the bed is right in the middle of the room. Just bear in mind that you will probably want to have your bed, and thus your bedside tables near plug sockets for lamps (floor sockets mean you don’t have to rule out putting a bed away from the walls).
There is a rising trend for blurring the lines between bedroom and bathroom in the modern master suite, but this is not to everyone’s taste. However, it can make better use of the available space because additional walls inevitably take floorspace, and limit the positioning of furniture. Most people prefer to keep the toilet separate, but like the wow factor of having a freestanding bath in the main room.
The freestanding bath in the bedroom above creates a beautiful design feature. They have chosen to keep the toilet in a separate room off the bedroom and the basin is in the entryway
If you do decide to take the open plan approach when designing your master suite, make sure your flooring is appropriate and will not be damaged by water. Engineered wood is a great option for bedroom/bathrooms as it can withstand splashes, but has more warmth underfoot than tiles or stone. A great choice if you are after something really hardwearing is luxury vinyl tile, which comes in wood effect, stone effect and pretty much any pattern imaginable.
The bay window in this Victorian home makes a nice alcove for the freestanding bath
Alternatively you could opt for a partial open plan scheme by using a glass partition. This will allow borrowed light from one area of the room to another — and, if you use obscured glass, it will provide some privacy to your bathroom area.
The traditional approach however is to have the en suite as a room within the master bedroom. Often this will have to be positioned on an internal wall and won’t have it’s own window so make sure you install adequate task lighting. If the room is directly under the roof, you could add a roofight or roof lantern to allow natural light in (as seen below).
Creating a partition in an open plan master suite:
In the loft space of this barn conversion, a master suite has been made using built-in furniture to divide the room. The striking black wall with mirror can be seen from the main bedroom, but the rest is obscured by the wardrobes to allow some privacy
Bespoke artwork separates bathroom and bedroom in this open plan master suite — this prevents any obstruction of the beautiful views