-- Master Suites --
First things first. How should the space function?
Before we sketch a single idea, we start our projects by asking questions. In architecture speak, this is called programming. Whether you work with a design professional or do-it-yourself, answering these questions before you begin will put you on the road to master suite success.
This is the exact checklist we review with clients at our project kick-off meetings. So grab a pen and paper and dig in!
Don’t worry about answering everything, just focus on the questions that apply to you. Want to make it even easier? Download our free, printable PDF using the button at the bottom of the page.
** Bedroom Questions (closet & bathroom to follow) **
1. It helps to start by setting a tone for the room. Should the master bedroom be a family-friendly zone? Or is it a quiet retreat? Casual or formal?
2. What colors and finishes will achieve the look you want? Is there a good opportunity to do an accent color or special wall covering?
3. Choose a flooring material. Carpet? Wood? Tile?
4. What existing furniture will stay?
5. What new furniture do you plan to buy?
6. How big is the bed? Do you need space for bedside tables?
7. What lighting is required and where do you want the controls located? A few lamps are often sufficient to light a bedroom.
If you plan to do a lot of reading, add task lights where needed. Or plan for some recessed lighting in the ceiling
if you like a bright room. Consider installing dimmers.
8. Will you have a television in the bedroom? Make sure you plan for power, cable, or satellite connections as required. Do
you want the television concealed or exposed?
9. Do you want a sound system wired in?
10. What other activities are planned for the room? Do you have a desk or home office? Need space for yoga or exercise equipment?
11. Do you want a seating area? Room for a couple of chairs? A window seat or built-in bench?
12. What storage will you need besides the master closet? Bookshelves? Linen storage?
13. If you’re designing a new house or rearranging rooms, think about adjacencies. How will you access an en suite bathroom
or walk-in closet? Avoid putting doors and windows on every wall so you’ll have space for furniture.
14. Do you want amenities such as a fireplace or wet bar?
15. What artwork will you display and how much space will it require? Do you want a gallery wall? Will you hang family photos?
16. Think about window coverings. Do you have neighbors close by and require sheers for privacy? If you like a dark room
for sleeping, make sure your curtains or blinds are up to the task.
17. Do you want a mirror over your dresser? Or a full-length mirror?
18. Create a basic inventory list of what you plan to store. Think about whether you have different wardrobes for each season, a large collection of boots, or need display space for accessories. Plan a spot for your laundry hamper, a collection area for give-away or consignment, etc.
19. Is this a walk-in closet? Or does the closet open into the bedroom with pairs of doors?
20. How many hanging bars are required and how long should they be? Measure what you have currently and adjust based on your future plans. If the closet is for more than one person, you may want to separate the bars so you have individual zones. Also check the distance below hanging bars. Are you hanging shirts or dresses?
21. What shelves are required? Can you fit extra shelves above hanging bars to get more storage space? If space is at a premium, use your full ceiling height (store less often-used items up top).
22. Should bars or shelves be adjustable?
23. Check the depth of your closet design. Make sure you have the minimum 24″ required for a coat hanger perpendicular to the wall (you’d be surprised how many closets ignore this dimension and end up too shallow).
24. Do you need built-in drawers? Or are you handling this with dressers and storage furniture elsewhere?
25. Do you need to accommodate any existing storage furniture like a jewelry box or foot locker?
26. Are you storing valuables that should be monitored as part of your home security system? Do you need video or motion
detectors? Do you need lockable storage or a safe? Child proofing?
27. Do you want a separate dressing area with a chair?
** Master Bath Questions **
28. Who uses this bathroom and how often? A single person? A couple? Kids?
29. Will you have a shower? Freestanding tub? Both or a combination unit?
30. Decide if you want a freestanding or fancy tub because this is often a sizable budget item.
31. Do you want multiple or adjustable shower heads?
32. Will the shower be a prefab unit or tile? If possible, plan for a built-in or recessed shelf in the shower. Do you want a
seat or bench?
33. Think about the shower enclosure type. Do you want a shower curtain? Glass door? No door at all?
34. Do you want a heated floor?
35. What storage is required? Think about linens, towels, toiletries, a medicine cabinet, toilet paper, feminine items, baby
changing supplies, a litter box, and cleaning supplies. Do you need lockable or child-proof storage?
36. Do you need a baby changing area?
37. How many sinks do you need? Would you like a pedestal sink or do you need the extra storage of a vanity cabinet?
38. How much counter space is required? Should you have a few counter top zones? One for each occupant plus a makeup area?
39. How many mirrors do you want? Do they need to be adjustable? Full-length?
40. Would you like a trash can that’s built in to a cabinet or concealed?
41. Make sure you plan for towel bars and toilet paper holders on the wall. How many are required and where should they
be located so they’re within easy reach?
42. Should the toilet be separated from the vanity? Do you want it in its own room? Or can it be near the shower or bath?
43. Toilets come with a lot of options. Do you want a dual flush? Elongated bowl? Comfort height (it’s a few inches taller
than normal)? Do you want a bidet or urinal?
44. How many outlets do you want and where should they be located? Do you want any outlets inside cabinets for rechargeable
razors or hair styling equipment?
45. Ventilation – make sure you install a vent fan that exhausts to the outdoors.
46. You might want several types of lighting. Recessed ceiling fixtures provide overall, ambient light. Sconces on either side or above a mirror are good for makeup application or shaving. Provide plenty of task lighting that suits your routine.
47. Windows in bathrooms should have moisture-resistant coverings. For privacy, consider sandblasted glass or blinds. Windows in showers should be avoided (and constructed for water-tightness if you must have them).
48. Do you want any sustainable features like a composting toilet or the ability to use reclaimed gray water to flush? Note: these are not permitted by all local codes authorities.
If you’re ready to take on a home renovation, click below to get our whole-house, room-by-room checklist PDF printable.
It includes everything on this page as well as questions for living spaces, dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, closets & storage, garages & utility rooms, and outdoor living spaces. Print the sections you need and fill them out for a solid start to your project.
Send me the checklist!