Working Through a Master Bedroom Layout


Show Notes:


With the whitewash studio podcast, I have several different types of episodes. Some of the time I discuss things on a more theoretical level and other times I like to dive right into an actual real life question. Today I’m going to be exploring and answering an actual question from Jose.

Before I do I wanted to thank you for listening. If you have a question you would like help with, please let me know by going to and getting in touch. You can also reach out to me on twitter @wwsarchitecture.

Now for Jose’s question.

Jose asks,

“I would really appreciate your input. So we are building a house and my bedroom is where I have a problem. It’s a single bedroom, not a master. But it’s build like one. With a walk in closet and bathroom. The bedroom’s shape is a rectangle, the shortest end is 3.12 meters (10 feet) and longest side 5.0 meters (16 feet) and the bathroom and closet space is 1.68 meters (5 and 1/2 feet) in the shortest end and 5.0 meters (16 feet) in the longest end.”

So there is a larger rectangle that is 10’ by 16’ and the bathroom runs the full length of the 16’ and is about 5-1/2’ deep.

Jose goes on to say, “So I have two options. Option 1: keeping the bathroom and closet separate. Placing the doors on each side of the bed. I like the separation idea it keeps things in there own place. But that would place my bed in the center of the room which hinders the space of the room. The room is not that long in the short end.

So the space between the bed and TV is not that much, which I feel I would be walking thru it a lot because the bathroom and closet are on each side of the bed.

Second option: making the bathroom and closet one whole room by eliminating the door of the bathroom, the separating door and arranging the walk-in closet differently. It adds so much space to the bedroom but I am not that sold on placing a bathroom and closet together.

Keep in mind that I cannot move the wall that separates the bedroom and the bathroom since that wall supports the house. I would love your input! If you have different options don’t be afraid to be vocal about them! Thanks! ( pics below )”

Images from Jose’s post on (Link to the post)

Jose, First of all thank you for allowing me to answer or at least discuss your question. I think there are a lot of people that can benefit from a question like this. When we start to look into designing our space we will inevitably run into challenges in certain areas. These challenges create a fork in the road and we have to choose to take one direction over another.

I believe it’s usually very helpful to ask other people their opinion, so you can bounce ideas back and forth. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes on something can open up a new solution. So thank you for asking the question.

In your question you said that your bedroom is not the master but it is designed like one. I thought that was an interesting point and wanted to touch on it. I was just thinking what makes a bedroom the master.

The master or what is starting to be called the owners suite more and more, is the main bedroom. It’s generally the largest, perhaps the most private. It has the largest bathroom and actually the only bedroom in the house that is typically designed around two people.

There are bedrooms that people share of course, like kids rooms. Then there are separate rooms that open to one bath. The Jack and Jill bathroom arrangement. But the master is the only room that is typically dedicated for two people. Since that’s the case there are a couple of elements that go into it that are not found in other rooms.

The first is the obviously larger bed. Most typically a king. Then you might find either separate his/her closets or a larger walk-in master closet.

The master also has some unique features to the bathroom. There’s generally, but not always a separate tub and shower. The vanity is usually a double or either separate for each person. Because the room is shared the toilet is usually separated into another toilet room compartment.

So those are really the basic elements to the master. Now Jose, you mentioned that it is designed like the master but is not. That leads me to believe that it’s a bedroom for just you. You will not be sharing the bedroom and therefore you don’t need to have the double vanity, the separate toilet room and you can either have a shower or a tub/shower combo. You don’t need the separated tub and shower.

I hope that I am interpreting that correctly.

So when we look at the bedroom. You have a minimum dimension of 10’. I am going to use feet for now. I know that you are using metric, but I am more comfortable with feet. So you have 10’ in the narrow dimension and 16’ in the wider dimension.

If this was a master bedroom, I would say that the 10’ is a couple of feet shy of a typical master. This is actually pretty close to a minimum dimension for a bedroom. Unless you’re really trying to build a tiny house or something different than the typical.

The reason ten is a minimum is because the typical king and queen bed length is 80” long. That is 6’-8”. Just a little side note. That’s also the most common door size in height.

So we are close to 7’. A comfortable path, and I not talking about minimum, but just a comfortable path through a bedroom is 3’. That puts us at the 10’ dimension.

I believe that it’s very smart of you Jose, to note that with the bed and the tv opposite the bed you would have very little room between the tv and the bed for circulation. It would start to feel a little tight. Not impossible, but when you are passing through on a regular basis you might start to get tired of bumping into the tv or whatever might be below the tv if you have some kind of dresser or cabinet.

If you had a 12’ dimension you would not have any issue at all with easily passing through the space. It wouldn’t be a big deal at all. Since we have 10’ we should look at some alternatives to this layout.

Now from the sketch you sent, it looks like the entry door into the room is near the wall that separates the bedroom from the bathroom. I assume that the door could be moved to any part of that wall, but for now we can just leave it where you have it.

So with option 1 again you had the bed located on the back far wall then you had a 3’ circulation path then the door to the bathroom on one side of the tv and the door to the closet on the other side.

As far as the width of the room you have 16’ and the bed is taking up 7 or so feet of that space so if you have the bed centered you have 4-1/2’ on both sides. That is not bad. It would feel pretty comfortable.

You mentioned that you are building the house. I just wanted to ask if you have the option to add an additional 2’ to the depth of the room. If you do, you might want to take advantage of doing that. If not, we will have to find another solution.

One wall is the entry door and maybe a hall outside the room, then the exterior wall is right across from the entry. It looks like from the sketch you are planning for a double window dead center of that wall. Normally I might say to separate those windows so that you could place your bed between them if you wanted to later. Or just have one more option for bed placement in the room, but with the 10’ dimension you really don’t have a choice to place the bed on that wall.

I think you are stuck with placing the bed on the far wall along the long dimension facing the bathroom and closet, or possibly having the bed on the bathroom wall if we can reduce the number of doors on that wall.

Lets start with the first approach, the tv wall would be the wall between the rooms. You mentioned in the question that it was a load bearing wall and could not be moved. It’s typical that when you have bearing walls you could open them up for some portion and allow for openings. Similar to what you would do for a door. Your contractor would frame in a header to the appropriate size and that would allow you to open up the space.

The reason I mention this is you could recess your tv within this wall. It would allow it to mount flush with the wall and recess out of the bedroom.

I assume that any furniture would be on the sides of the room within that 4-1/5 to 5’ dimension. It’s a possibility.

So this recess would cut into the bathroom a little, but wouldn’t really have to be anymore than 4-6” with today’s tv’s. The bathroom as it is now you mentioned is 5.5’. As you know the typical tub is 5’ long, so you have several inches to play with. It looks like you might even be thinking a shower in this bathroom. I would vote for a tub/shower combo if it were me.

Now on to the bathroom and closet part of your question. There are definite advantages to combining the bathroom and closet. And when I say combine the two I don’t mean that you can see everything all in one space. What I mean is that the closet is accessed through the bathroom. This can be a large advantage for your circulation and limit the number of doors interrupting your bedroom as well as provide a dressing area outside of your bedroom. If you like to dress in the closet.

You mentioned that you could keep the two separate and connect to them through the bedroom passing by the tv, or you could combine into one room.

I would suggest a combination or alternate 3 to that idea. I would have your door into your bedroom from the hall come in at the bottom of the room, like you show. As you look in you see the bed wall to the right, the exterior window is in front of you and the tv is opposite the bed.

Then as you push the door open and continue further you would see a door to your left that would open up to the bathroom. This door would be on your tv wall but just before you get to the tv. By the way typical residential interior doors are 30” wide.

You just want the bathroom door to be out of the way of the bedroom entry door. You don’t want to have to shut your bedroom door to get into the bathroom. So about 5 to 5-1/2’ in you would have the door to your bathroom. Align the door so that it faces the vanity. You don’t want to have the door open directly to the toilet.

The layout of the bathroom would be shower on the hall side. If you were to continue the wall down, the wall that has your entry door. Continue that down and that would be the back wall of your shower. Next to the shower would be the toilet, then the vanity. So the vanity area would be just behind the tv wall but of course on the opposite side of the wall. For example the plumbing would not be in the load bearing tv wall. It would all be on the other side.

What this does is it allows you to have one door into your bathroom then when you are looking at your vanity and you turn to the right you would see the door into your walk-in closet. You would walk into the closet from the bathroom.

I believe that would be the best solution for your space. If the tv does not really bother you since you might not be passing in front of it as much then just don’t recess it. Mount it to the wall and keep the components clean and it might be just fine. Or matter of fact you could place the bed on the load bearing wall just beyond the bathroom door. Then have the tv on the opposite wall. The bed would be off center a bit in the room, but as long as you keep 3’ on the side of the bed along the exterior wall, I think you will be good.

Again Jose. Thank you for letting me walk through this question and I look forward to hearing how your home turns out.

I would really appreciate hearing from you and listening to your suggestions that you have for the show or struggles that you are having with your particular space. Let me know and I would be glad to help you.

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