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Master Suite Addition: Top Features

A master suite addition is limited only by your imagination and pocketbook. Here’s a look at master suite must-haves.

Features For Suite Additions Master Suite Upgrades
This stylish master suite addition includes a sitting area with built-ins and a fireplace. Image: Gene Agress/Berkeley Mills

Options for a primary suite addition are limitless. Your budget, not so much. Indulge yourself, express yourself, but control yourself, too. Here is your guide to the master suite features that matter most.

Primary Suite Basics

With midrange finishes, such as ceramic tile and solid-surface countertops in the bathroom, a master suite has a national median cost of $172,500 and you'll recover about 56% of that at resale, according to the "Remodeling Impact Report" from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Payback, however, is only part of the story. Among homeowners, the project returned a healthy 9.5 joy score -- a rating based on those who said they were happy or satisfied with their project, with 10 being the highest rating and one the lowest.

Start with a Good Layout

When you dream about a primary suite addition, drool over a deep soaking tub. But when you plan, think about privacy, convenience, and view -- the gifts to yourself that keep on giving.

  • Privacy: Create a space that feels like an escape from life: OK, escape from the kids. For that, you’ll need privacy, so place closets -- they’re sound barriers -- between you and the hubbub of the house, or on walls shared with other bedrooms.
  • View: Give your primary suite addition the best view through the biggest windows. If neighbors are nearby, place windows at about 5 feet above the floor so you can enjoy the view, but your neighbors can’t (if you know what we mean).
  • Separation: Think also about whether you’d prefer your bedroom and bathroom separated by a door or small hallway. An open plan can make the primary suite feel bigger and more luxurious -- but it can also invite humidity and odors into the bedroom, so you’ll want an extra-powerful ventilation system if you go this route. It’s also a good idea to isolate the toilet in its own room or alcove so two people can use the space at the same time and still retain some privacy.

Primary Suite Must-Haves

  • Large shower: An enclosure of 4-feet-by-6-feet is ideal for two. It should have a bench and a few body sprays at different heights to sooth aching muscles. Cost: $3,000 to $5,000.
  • Big walk-in closet: Make it at least 7-feet-by-10-feet if it’s just for her; 10-feet-by-10-feet if it’s shared, which gives enough room for clothes plus a spot for a dressing chair. You’ll want built-in organizers with well-designed compartments for easy access to your wardrobe. Cost: $3,000 to $8,000.
  • His and hers grooming stations: Each with sink, mirror, and counter space. Cost: $2,500 to $5,000.
  • Radiant floor heating in the bathroom: Hot water circulating in tubes or electric heating mats under the tile or stone is an efficient way to heat the space, and you’ll never have to put your bare feet down on a cold surface again. Cost: $1,500 to $3,500.

Love-to-Haves -- Won’t Use Much

  • Deep soaking tub: The idea of a jetted soaking tub in a master suite bathroom is often better than the reality. It takes up lots of room, requires lots of water, costs lots of money; but it’s used rarely. Unless you have a tubbing history or need, reconsider the soaking tub. Cost: $3,000 to $5,000.
  • Private patio or balcony: A secluded outdoor room off your master suite for watching sunrises, sipping champagne, sunbathing nude, and other things you’ll never do. For privacy screening, use evergreen shrubs, lattice, or fencing. Cost: $3,500 to $6,000.
  • Sitting area with fireplace: The ultimate indulgence, your own cozy spot to read or meditate. Also good for watching TV while folding laundry. Cost: $3,000 to $6,000.

Oliver Marks

Oliver Marks A former carpenter and newspaper reporter, Oliver Marks has been writing about home improvements for 16 years. He's currently restoring his second fixer-upper with a mix of big hired projects and small do-it-himself jobs.