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How to Design the Perfect Master Bathroom

Master bathrooms have become some of the most sought-after remodels in the home here in The Bay Area. Most basic bathroom remodels can cost up to $20,000, with more luxurious ones costing about $65,000. When you are shelling out this kind of money, you want your renovation to turn out perfectly.

You may have envisioned your dream bathroom, but designing the perfect master bathroom takes time, planning, and money. Taking the time to think about each step and plan them out can be the difference between the successful longevity of a bathroom and utter failure. Read on to learn how to thoroughly plan each step in designing your perfect master bathroom to avoid extra stress and extra money.

Choose Your Layout and Floor Plan

Planning out the layout and floor plan of your master bathroom will allow you to avoid mistakes and give you a rough idea of the outcome. When designing your perfect bathroom there are key steps that you do not want to forget.

  • Consider storage
  • Think about maneuverability
  • Use all available space

Misplanning can lead to timely and expensive mistakes that are completely avoidable. Remember to take time to plan out the following.

Focus on the flow, a master bath should be an extension of the master bedroom and have a cohesive feel.

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Make It Relaxing

What is better than a spa-like room in your home? When creating your perfect master bathroom you should think of it as your oasis. Add decor that reflects your personal style and pieces that relax you.

Opt for a toned-down color palette with accent hardware and pieces to bring you ultimate peace.

Relaxing colors include:

  • Blues
  • Purples
  • Neutrals (grays, tans, whites)

Be creative with the material choices and fixtures.

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Plan for Luxury

This is your perfect master bathroom. Find a way to functionally add every element to meet your standards.

  • This could mean a walk-in stone shower.
  • Maybe you want a claw-foot tub.
  • Heated floors are a luxury often overlooked by so many. They can keep the bathroom cozy and warm.
  • Go for the bidet and extra shower head.
  • Add that beautiful chandelier or shower skylight.

Your bathroom should be treated with the same decadence as your other rooms, if not more.

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Consider Resale Value

Whether you are in your forever home or plan on moving someday the future value of your home should be at the forefront of your building decisions. You do not want to be thinking about the next people living in your home but you need to plan ahead.

There are a few things recommended to have in order to keep your resale value up for future buyers. A great master bathroom can sell the whole house!

  • Storage is a huge must when buyers are looking. There can never be enough storage space.
  • Think about a tub. Though you may not want a tub in your current master bath, talk to the plumber about adding under flooring piping for any future projects that may be done. The added pipes can be the defining moment in a sale.

Thinking of these things beforehand will save you a lot of headache later on.

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Expect the Unexpected

When planning a remodel or while designing your perfect bathroom expect things to go wrong. Expect to spend more money, time, and sanity on the process than you originally thought. More than likely something will go wrong and save yourself the extra stress, it is good to plan for this.

When it comes to any type of remodeling or construction there something called hidden conditions. As a homeowner you should be aware of these. Hidden conditions can include:

  • Insect damage
  • Foundation problems
  • Rotted framework
  • Bad wiring or pipe placement

With any contractor, you will be signing a contract. Within that contract, there is usually a hidden conditions clause, which initially gives the homeowners responsibility for these costs. Contractors do this to protect themselves and their business.

It is best to expect these errors in order to minimize surprises. As the owner, you should ask to use contract language that puts both you and the contractor in a position of responsibility. The contractor should be taking the extra steps to ensure there are not too many surprises.classic master bathroom design oakland

Establish a Budget

You need to establish your baseline budget for any home improvement project. Bathrooms, especially master bathrooms, are one of the most expensive renovations.

You will need to account for

  • Labor costs
  • Material costs
  • Decoration and extra costs

Plan for mistakes and plan for unexpected problems.

Find Inspiration

It is good to know what you want before bringing in professional help. You have got a rough idea of your layout now you need inspiration. Find inspiration for your motif. How do you want your bathroom to feel when you walk in?

  • Search Pinterest
  • Look through magazines
  • Watch renovation channels like HGTV

The items above are conventional places to find inspiration. However, inspiration can be found anywhere.

Do Your Research

You can never do enough research. Proper research is how you should find every single resource throughout the process.

Thorough research will lead you to

  • Your budget
  • Your contractor
  • The top rated appliances.

You cannot skimp in this part of the process.

Research your materials, colors, and light fixtures. You need to know all of the information before knowing if the steps you are taking are feasible.

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Think of Your Plumbing Setup

Whether you are starting from scratch or remodeling your current bathroom considering the layout of the pipes should be thought number one.

  • If remodeling, you should consider keeping the sanitary appliances in the same spaces to avoid a future problem and save money.
  • Using pre-existing plumbing can limit your customization, but it will save you a great deal of money and time.

Consult a plumber to see if your layout will work and if the pipe laying will be feasible. Again, if possible just leave the pipes as is.

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Design How to Size Everything

When planning the size of your bathroom it is best to focus on functionality. Most of us will want to go as big as possible but that just will not be possible for some.

You should plan spacing and placement by answering the following questions:

  • Who is using the bathroom?
  • How many are using the bathroom?
  • What will the bathroom be used for most?

Shower size can play a big role in the feel of the bathroom. Do you want a luxurious large walk-in shower with stone flooring and siding or are you a more functional quick shower type?

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Take Placement Tips into Account

Just like size, the placement of everything in the bathroom should be planned around functionality first. There is nothing more frustrating than washing your face only to realize you have to drudge across the entire bathroom for a towel. We will go over ideas for where to place everything.

When designing from scratch it is good to think about where your bathroom is in the bedroom.

  • Do you want your closet attached to your bedroom or bathroom?
  • Where do you want your laundry to go?

These little details can make mundane everyday tasks even easier.


Start by thinking about functionality and who is going to be using the bathroom and when. Your toilet should be placed out of direct view of someone just entering or standing in the doorway of the bathroom. To allow for someone to use the toilet while someone else uses the vanity will keep a little privacy.

Whether you have a separate wash closet or just insert a little alcove, this step can provide more comfort.


When planning the placement of the shower you want to think about moisture and ventilation. Is there enough space between the ceiling and the top of the shower to allow for steam to travel out instead of up? Is the shower exit an area that is okay to handle moisture?

We will talk more about proper ventilation later on but what about shower doors? The placement of the shower door needs to be well thought out according to how it opens. Will the door swing open and hit the toilet? Think about having a door that opens inwards or even slides.


More and more homeowners are avoiding putting tubs in their master bathrooms especially if they have a functioning bath somewhere else in the house. If you do decide to add a tub though placement is key in adding to that spa-like feel.

If you choose a beautiful free-standing tub you will want it on display and maybe in front of the window. If you are looking for something a little cozier think about adding built-in space around the tub. Make sure there is adequate room to enter and exit the tub safely.

Vanity and Sink

Your sinks should be easily accessible. Usually, the first thing you will see and pass when entering the bathroom. This is a good time to think about how many sinks you want and how much counter space will fit your needs.

The most common double sinks are built into cabinets to give extra storage and counter space. More luxurious bathrooms give each sink its own cabinet and allow for private storage and personal counter space.Transitional Master Bathroom

Finalize Details Before Project Begins

Now that you have taken the time to decide on the layout it is time to decide on the details. You should choose all your fixtures, materials, and hardware before the project begins. On the off chance that something is not right, you will have time to return as well as have a better picture of the overall cost.


When it comes to creating your perfect bathroom knowing which fixtures are right for you is key. You want to go with materials that last and companies that have a high standard. Below is a list of the top 6:

  • Delta Faucets– Overall the top-rated brand on the market.
  • Kohler– Best designer brand fixtures.
  • Moen– This brand is best for all the high-end customers out there.
  • Kraus– This brand is best for all your commercial needs.
  • Pfister– This brand has the largest selection of fixtures.
  • American Standard– Good for basic bathroom.


Tile is usually the first choice for flooring in a bathroom. Because the bathroom holds more moisture than any other room in the house it is good to choose something that will not hold onto that moisture. There is an option to go with hardwood floors but they will need to be treated with combat moisture damage.

  • Porcelain or ceramic tile– Usually the top choice for bathroom floors as it is waterproof, stylish, and cost-effective. Very versatile so you can create any look you want. The only cons would be they are cold, hard, and can be slippery when wet.
  • Vinyl flooring– Comes in sheets, tiles, or planks. Vinyl looks good and is a practical choice in bathroom flooring and is cost-effective. Great choice if you expect a lot of water to be on the floor. The only cons are the resale value is not great and any damage to the sublayer will show in the vinyl.
  • Natural stone– A great choice for a bathroom but is very pricey. Remember marble, limestone, and granite are porous so moisture can build up. Great choice if it is just you and your partner and you want the most luxurious feel. The only cons are the price and installing yourself.
  • Engineered wood– Better with moisture than solid wood is. Great for those who want a cohesive look throughout the home. Just remember wood is prone to damage over time. The cons are that the veneer finish can be worn down with over sanding and it is moderate-to-high expensive.
  • Laminate Flooring – Practically, this is better than solid hardwood. You can have the look of any wood or stone material you want. The wear layer usually has a 30-year guarantee. You do need to take caution with protecting the wood layer underneath with tight seams and special treatments.

There are several choices of flooring and you can usually get the look you want without breaking the bank. There are floorings to avoid though. Solid hardwood does not have any protectants against moisture until treated. Wood can be damaged and rot with the smallest amount of moisture and it is not cheap to replace.

Surfaces and Materials

Choosing the countertops and surfaces can be a lot of fun but also very overwhelming. Choose these before the project begins to avoid massive stress later on.

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Consider Storage Needs

Storage should be on your mind from step one of planning a remodel or layout of your new bathroom. If building new you have ample opportunity to add storage. This is not something you should skimp on because it will frustrate you later.

  • How many people will be using the bathroom storage?
  • Do you want a linen closet in the bathroom or just cabinets?

Think about what will be stored in the bathroom.

Add a Linen Closet

Now it may sound obvious to add this but, a lot of older homes only have linen closets in random hallways of the home. When planning and creating your own plan, why not add the linen closet to the room that actually uses the line?

For functionality reasons, this would be a great place to keep those pesky laundry baskets. Linen closets are over 50 percent desirable in the master bathroom and again will add to your resale value.

Refine and Approve Your Plan

Your research has probably cultivated several different themes, layouts, and design ideas. Now is the time to pinpoint exactly what you can do with your budget and space, find a professional, and finalize the plan.

Find a Professional

When searching for professionals you should work in threes. Getting multiple estimates will give you a few different perspectives on your plan and different pricing. Do your research and consult others who have hired professionals. It is important to find someone reprintable and like-minded about your vision.

During this process, it is important to show the contractor or plumber your exact plans and thoughts for the layout and design. Communication is huge when working closely with a professional and they should know exactly what you want. Likewise, they should give you their thoughts on what will work and what will not. This is the time to work out the kinks and know what can and will be done.

Choose Lighting

When it comes to choosing the lighting in your bathroom you want a mixture of natural and incandescent or halogen lights. If you want to go with an energy-saving LEF or fluorescent just be aware of the CRI being at least 90.

  • If you have the luxury of designing from scratch put a beautiful window in.
  • A great view can add a calming effect to your late-night tub soaks.
  • Nothing beats daylight especially when the bathrooms are the first thing you use in the morning.

It is good to have a mixture of recessed and wall-mounted depending on how much light you want at a given time. Add a dimmer, dimmers are inexpensive and worth it. When adding the recessed lighting it is good to remember the placement of the shower as you will need some light in there.

You may want to add vanity lighting which is beneficial for mirror use and can add a calming soft tone.

If wanting to add hanging lights or chandeliers just be aware there are building codes that recommend certain distances from bathtubs and water sources.


When designing the layout and plans for your bathroom it is important to think about longevity. The bathroom holds the most moisture out of any room in your house. Proper ventilation should be a big priority. Investing in proper ventilation from the start will cost you less in the future.

Adding a window is great for lighting but also great for ventilation. If you are in a smaller space think about getting high-powered fans. Be sure to add the proper amount for the amount of square footage.

The ventilation fans should be located near the shower and bathtub in order to work correctly.

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Plan for Installation and Demolition

All your plans have been accepted, you found a contractor, and have all your materials ready. It is time to get yourself ready for the installation. Any home renovation will offset your life a little bit so take time to plan and organize things to lessen the stress.

  • Prepare a separate bathroom to use while the master bathroom is renovated.
  • Move everything out of the master bathroom ahead of time.
  • Move everything out of any attached closets or laundry rooms to avoid construction hazards.

It is better to be prepared for things especially when something is more than likely to go wrong and prolong the time frame.

Keep paperwork

This may sound like a no-brainer but a lot of people just do not think about this. Keep everything:

  • Every receipt
  • Every warranty
  • Every instruction manual
  • Every contractor’s contact

Things happen and if something breaks or is damaged and you want it fixed this will save you time and money.

About Element Home Remodeling

Element Home Remodeling is a home remodeling company based in The East Bay area. We specialize in custom master bedroom and bathroom designs and offer an all in one design-build process of construction. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Element Home Remodeling

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