Most housing professionals recognize that after the kitchen, the owners’ suite is the next most critical plan element in making or breaking a sale. This area of the house is often equal in size to the other bedrooms and baths combined, and for good reason. It is accommodating the folks making the mortgage payment. Whether a house is large or small, attached or detached, the master suite should incorporate five distinct areas. Here are some guidelines for each zone:

Sleeping. This space should be able to accommodate a king-size bed with nightstands on either side, plus one or two dressers (one of which may include a media cabinet).

Sitting. Whenever possible, allow space for at least one chair (preferably two) and a small table. The sitting area will optimally have a window nearby and a direct view of the media cabinet if the room has a TV. In larger plans, it may include a small sofa and chair with a table, or possibly even a desk.

Dressing. Creating a dressing area near the closet and vanity is a nice touch, although this space may be omitted in smaller units with limited space (or if conservative market preferences suggest keeping the vanity in the bath area). In larger plans we recommend separating the vanity from the rest of the bath.

Closet. Walk-in closets are always preferable except in smaller plans, where the closet should be proportionate to the room’s square footage. If you have the luxury of space, consider two separate closets with built-in shelving near the vanity/dressing area with access to both the bedroom and bath.

Bath. This is the “wet” area that includes the tub/shower and toilet. As a general rule, units larger than 1,800 square feet will have a compartmentalized toilet and (at least as an option) a separate shower and soaking tub. Lately the trend has been to forgo the tub in favor of a larger walk-in shower with a seat and multiple showerheads. In this area, natural light is a must.


  • Position of entry door allows direct views into the bedroom—a privacy no-no.
  • Sitting area is very tight.
  • Bathroom door is far away from closet access.


  • Sitting area is more generous and has views outside and toward the media cabinet.
  • Carving out an entry alcove directs the initial view toward a defined corner sitting area.
  • Bath is rearranged to include a “dry” vanity/dressing space next to the walk-in closet and a “wet” toilet and shower room with windows.