Beyond bed and bath: Inspired by the hospitality industry, master suites are becoming one open space with luxurious amenities like heated floors in the bathroom and a TV by the tub. - Photo/Peter Rymwid; designed by Holly Rickert

Bathrooms without Borders

Miss Manners might tell you it’s rude not to close the bathroom door before slipping into a bubble bath for a long soak. But in this case, her well-meaning advice would be a tad behind the times.

Doors and walls are no longer a given when it comes to the dividing line between the bedroom and bathroom. In some homes, these two spaces are merging to create the perfect spot to unwind after a long day at work. The new master suite brings spa features right into the bedroom.

So let’s get back to that hot bath. After adjusting to the water, you could have a conversation with your spouse as he or she watches TV in bed. No shouting required. Don’t feel like talking? Just tune into your favorite show on the TV near the tub.

The hospitality industry is having a huge influence on what people want in their personal bathrooms. This means waving goodbye to the lonely showerhead and featureless tub. While amenities vary as widely as tastes and budgets, a typical master suite includes an oversized shower, fancy tub, and his-and-hers vanities.

Add-ons range from morning kitchens and workout rooms to seating areas with upholstered furniture.

Often, the shower is big enough for two, and there’s a wide range of choices for water delivery, including dual showerheads, hand showers, overhead rainfall heads or a full-body spray. In fact, there might be six nozzles shooting out at you from different heights.

When it comes to tubs, there’s a trend toward bubbler models over whirlpool versions. The former can be more relaxing with warm air bubbles that rise from the bottom of the tub, creating a more calming experience than powerful jets. For the visually inclined, there are chromatherapy tubs with soothing, colorful lights built-in to brighten up the water. Bathers can choose their favorite hue or let the tub automatically cycle through a rainbow of choices.

While spa and luxury features are one of the strongest trends in bathrooms, there’s more of a mixed response to open floor plans. Homeowners who fully embrace the concept might use the tub or vanities as the transition between bedroom and bath. The shower typically offers partial privacy while the toilet resides behind a partition or in its own small room.

Whether open or closed, bathrooms are growing in size and now feature almost every perk imaginable. Possible upgrades include heated floors, flat-screen TVs and sound systems. To increase the comfort level even more, some homeowners choose to add sofas, chairs or benches in the bathroom.

Then there are more specialized touches, such as meditation or relaxation rooms, separate makeup areas and even enclosed showers that double as steam rooms. For the fitness minded, a small workout room with a maximum of three or four pieces of equipment can be incorporated. Those who want sustenance without trekking across the house add morning kitchens, with coffee makers, small refrigerators and sometimes even another small sink.

Think you may need an upgrade of your own? Before you start buying fixtures, make sure your house can handle the water needs of those new products. A plumber or designer can make sure you’ve got the pipes and water pressure necessary to handle special tub and shower features.

Share This Story