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Adding Privacy To Your Master Bathroom (Or: How To Hide Your Toilet)

One of the most popular and rewarding home renovations you can do these days is turning your master bathroom into a luxury spa. Luxury bathtubs, walk-in showers, heated floors, and the like are all hugely popular – which means a major return on investments. But one important aspect of designing a large master suite is one people tend not to discuss: privacy. By design, a master bathroom should serve two people. But with lots of features designed for long soaks, and leisurely unwinding? It’s almost inevitable that both people will need to use it at the same time.

Personal Privacy

An image of a large master bathroom. The toilet is partitioned off in its own room, visible through an open doorway
Having a separate toilet in a master bathroom increases privacy and allows more of the bathroom to be used at once (by CARNEMARK, photo by Morgan Howarth)

Privacy doesn’t always come up in the design phase for a few different reasons. One big one is that different couples have different comfort levels when it comes to sharing a bathroom. Some couples have no problem using a bathroom at the same time; others would be mortified by the very suggestion. The layout of your master bathroom will likely reflect your and your partner’s feelings on the matter. But if you haven’t given it much thought, here are a few possible layouts that offer varying degrees of privacy.

Simple Barrier

An image of a modern toilet niche, hidden from the rest of the bathroom by an angled half wall.
A small, simple to install wall adds privacy without intruding on the rest of your bathroom design (by AMI Designs)

One of the simplest ways to add privacy to a master bathroom is to install a divider between the toilet and the rest of the bathroom. This can be anything from a 1/2 or 3/4 wall to a small protrusion. This is the most basic form of visual barrier to separate a toilet from the rest of the bathroom. It’s also one of the least expensive; it shouldn’t require any plumbing upgrades or significant alteration to the layout of the bathroom. It also won’t completely close off a portion of the bathroom, making it an ideal option for smaller master bathrooms that might not have space for a more elaborate setup.

Nook It (Or: Play With The Layout)

An imnage of a bathroom. The toilet is located at the far end, and separated from the vanity area by a narrow, full-height wall
A small protrusion or tiled half wall can add basic privacy without significant work or cost – or closing off your bathroom (by Green Works Construction & Design Inc)

For a little more privacy, you might want to place the toilet at the far end of a master bathroom behind a ceiling-high barrier or in a specially created alcove. Like a half wall, these aren’t entirely closed off but offer a greater degree of visual privacy and spatial distance.  For a larger bathroom, it’s entirely possible to use the layout of your bathroom itself to hide the toilet; a dividing wall or cleverly placed fixture or can keep your toilet out of line of sight. If layout and plumbing options are flexible, this is an elegant way to address the problem of privacy without closing off your bathroom.

Add A Water Closet

A Separate Water Closet Can Help Ease Competition For The Bathroom During Peak Usage While Also Offering Added Privacy
A separate water closet can help ease competition for the bathroom during peak usage while also offering added privacy

If you find that you and your partner are often competing for the bathroom, either on your way to work in the morning or while you’re getting ready for bed at night, you might want to consider a rather European option: creating a water closet. Think, a separate room that contains a toilet, either fully enclosed or with half walls. Wall toilets can help save space, and a wall mounted sink or vanity will let you attend to basic toiletries without bumping elbows with your spouse. An American water closet can also contain a small shower separate from the main area of the bathroom. That way, you can both enjoy your morning routine in relative privacy while still sharing one large master suite.

Toilet Compartment

A Fullly Separate Toilet Compartment Offers The Greatest Degree Of Privacy
A fully separate toilet compartment offers the greatest degree of privacy (by Joel Kelly Design)

If you want total bathroom privacy, you have to completely isolate the toilet from the rest of the bathroom. A walled off, enclosed space about 33″ by 66″ with a standard door creates a space similar to a very nice bathroom stall, and allows for some soundproofing and separate air circulation from the rest of the bathroom. This effectively creates a bathroom within the bathroom that affords total privacy when the main bathroom is in use. Of course, this is also a pricier setup. You’ll have to build the walls and separate lighting, plumbing, and ventilation. This project is also a better option for bigger bathrooms, as it can noticeably reduce the size of your bathroom.

Relative Privacy And Resale

In A Large Enough Bathroom, The Layout Itself Can Be Used To Create Privacy
Even a simple divider can make a master bath appealing to some buyers (by Amanda Haytaian)

Even if privacy is an absolute non-issue for you and your partner, if you plan on selling your home within the next five to ten years or less, it’s at least worth considering incorporating one of these privacy options into a master bathroom remodel. After all, most major renovations should factor in resale appeal almost as much as personal appeal. Having a water closet (in some shape or form) is an upscale feature that will appeal to many buyers. You certainly shouldn’t step outside your budget (or compromise your dream bathroom) to do it. But even a simple wall can be that one thoughtful touch that can make the difference to a future buyer.

Sharing a bathroom with another person (especially someone with very different bathroom boundaries!) is a quick way to learn there is such a thing as too much togetherness. Partially concealing your toilet (or even cordoning off) can help improve you or your partner’s sense of privacy, and even help keep the peace!

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