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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 suite. Luxury bathtubs, walk-in showers, heated floors, and the like are all hugely popular – which means a major return on investments. But one of the more important aspects of designing a large master suite is also the least discussed: privacy. A master bathroom is meant to be used by two, and with lots of features designed for long soaks, and leisurely unwinding, it’s almost inevitable that it will need to be used by those two people at the same time.

Personal Privacy

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)
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)

One of the reasons privacy is often only mentioned briefly if at all (beyond the fact that Americans are generally a little squeamish about discussing the bathroom in the first place!) is that every couple has different comfort levels when it comes to sharing a bathroom. Some couples have no problem using a bathroom at the same time, while 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 for different project scopes.

Simple Barrier

A Small, Simple To Install Wall Adds Privacy Without Intruding On The Rest Of Your Bathroom Design (by AMI Designs)
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 simple separator between the toilet and the rest of the bathroom. This can be anything from a 1/2-3/4 wall to a small protrusion separating the toilet from the rest of the bathroom. This is the most basic form of visual barrier to separate a toilet from the rest of the bathroom, and also one of the least expensive, as it likely won’t require any plumbing to be rerouted or any other significant alteration of the layout of the bathroom. It also won’t 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)

A Small Protrsusion Or Tiled Half Wall Can Add Basic Privacy Without Significant Work Or Cost - Or Closing Off Your Bathroom
A Small Protrsusion Or Tiled Half Wall Can Add Basic Privacy Without Significant Work Or Cost – Or Closing Off Your Bathroom

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 without taking up too much floor space or visual space.  For a larger bathroom, it’s entirely possible to use the layout of your bathroom itself to hide the toilet, behind a dividing wall in the middle of the room or simply on the far side of one fixture or another with a small wall in between. If layout and plumbing options are flexible, this is an elegant way to address the problem of privacy without closing off your bathroom space.

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. This means creating a space that has at least half walls or is fully enclosed – essentially,  a separate room that contains a toilet (wall toilets can help save space) and a wall mounted sink or vanity where basic toiletries can be attended to without bumping elbows with your spouse. An American water closet can also contain a small shower separate from the main dressing area of the bathroom (which might have a bathtub, vanity, and makeup station) so 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, because you’ll have to build the walls and separate lighting, plumbing, and ventilation. It’s also a project that should probably be reserved for larger master bathrooms, as it can noticeably reduce the size of your bathroom suite.

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 consider resale appeal almost as much as personal appeal, and 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.

How important is bathroom privacy to you and your partner? Would you rather have a simple barrier or a separate toilet compartment in your master bathroom?

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