Your new home’s owners retreat ought to be a place that’s cozy and comforting. It’s your personal space where you recharge and relax at night and the place where you begin your days. For these reasons, it’s critical to design a room that you enjoy being in.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “By the mid-20th century, larger suburban-style homes gave rise to owners suites with private bathrooms and larger closets. Architects say the space started to become more luxurious in high-end homes in the 1980s and ’90s, with grander closet spaces and spa-like bathrooms.”
Your owner’s suite is an investment in not only your home, but your happiness. When choosing your new construction home and planning your owners retreat, “Put all of your money into your kitchen and to your owners suite because that's where you're going to spend the majority of your time,” says Donnna Seighnan, Kolter Home’s Design Consultant.
'Kolter Homes - The Ponds'
Owners retreat up or down? What’s your preference?
As you’re visiting builders’ model homes, evaluate your preference for the location of your owner’s retreat. You may want it right off the family gathering space, or you may want it to be located at the opposite side of the house from the other bedrooms. Segregating the owner’s suite away from the family bedrooms allows for more privacy, and quieter nights. Plans with this layout are frequently referred to as split plans. If you have young children, you may wish to have the owner’s suite near them so you can respond more quickly to them at night.
Two story home plans can have the owners retreat on the upper level or on the lower level. According to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), “Nearly half (48 percent) of buyers who want a 2-story home want the owners suite on the second floor.”
Space is important to buyers
Large owner’s suites have been the trend in new home building for quite some time. Though larger owner’s suite space is still not as important as more space in the owner’s bath. Sixty-eight percent of home buyers surveyed for the NAHB 2013 study, “would be willing to sacrifice space in the owner’s bath for a larger owner’s suite.”
Owners suites typically account for twelve percent of the total square footage in a new home and have an average square footage of 309 square feet as reported by NAHB. Homes between 2,000 and 2,999 square feet have owner’s suites that total an average 271 square feet and homes less than 2,000 square feet have average bedroom square footage of 231 square feet. Big bedrooms are desirable, because everyone prefers a room that doesn’t feel crowded.
Consider floor plans and furniture placement in the owner’s suite
Regular bedrooms need room for a bed, a dresser or two, and night tables. Beyond space for these essentials, owner’s suites frequently include more area to allow for the placement of a sitting area. The larger the bedroom, the greater space you have to create a private sitting area.
When visiting model homes, consider your furniture, it’s size and scale for the room relative to the home plan you’re considering. If you want a sitting area in your retreat, be sure to determine the bedroom’s square footage and figure out if it will allow for one. Also, take note of the window placement. You need enough space between windows to easily accommodate your bed on the wall opposite the entry into the bedroom.
The largest piece of furniture in your owner’s retreat will be the bed. “In the owner’s suite, you want to be sure that you can see the foot of the bed when you're walking into the room. This makes the bedroom feel bigger,” shared Seighnan.
Centering your bed in the floorplan will make your room look symmetrical, but dodging windows or closets may be what pushes your bed to one side of the room. Envision your bed in a couple different places to help determine which builder’s floor plan will suit you. Remember to ensure there will be enough square footage in the room to allow you to walk easily around your bed.
Plan your furniture arrangement, “So when you walk into the room, your eye is immediately drawn across the room. Placing the tallest object in the room at the room’s furthest point draws the eye towards it, and gives you a sense of visual distance and length in the room,” shared Kolter Home’s Seighnan.
Walk-in closets are included in most all new homes constructed today
Ideally the owner’s suite will have ample space for you to keep all your belongings. A highly-desired feature for an owner’s retreat for most is a walk-in closet. NAHB reports “builders are most likely to include...a walk-in closet in the owner’s suite.” Millennials home buyers, especially, prefer a walk-in closet.
When it comes to fitting out the space in your closet, include room for a shoe rack, multiple height hanging areas, and built in drawers and storage space. During your design center appointment with your home builder, you can choose the arrangement and fittings for your owner’s closet.
Designing the interior of your owner’s retreat
While square footage, window placement and other architectural details can get boring, the aspect of planning an owner’s suite which most people look forward to is the room’s interior design. Your interior design for the room includes paint or wall covering selection, flooring, and window dressings — curtains, shades, or shutters.
For your owner’s retreat, you may wish to choose a color scheme which creates a relaxing atmosphere. When selecting wall color or wall coverings, it is also important to consider the quantity of natural light your room receives. Keep in mind, light colors will open the room and reflect available light, while dark colors will absorb light, making the room feel more closed in.
What type of flooring should you have in your owner’s retreat?
The great majority of home buyers want hardwoods in their homes. There is a split among buyer preference between hardwood and carpet in the bedroom. Stepping out of bed onto a nice plush carpet can make any morning better. However, others prefer stepping onto a nice cool tile or hardwood floor. If you choose hardwood or tile for your owner’s retreat, you can add a touch of comfort by including an area rug that matches the color scheme for your owner’s retreat.
Curtains in a bedroom help ensure privacy and control light. If you work the third shift and sleep during the day, or if you simply don’t want the sun shining in your eyes at dawn, light control is essential. Lined curtains or draperies are the most common choice for window coverings. There are many types available from many sources. Shutters, such as plantation shutters, are also popular and may be installed during the construction of your home. Other, more technologically advanced window coverings, include curtains which open and close via Bluetooth apps and pleated shades which raise and lower using an app on your phone or iPad. Many home builders’ design centers offer this type of smart home technology that includes window coverings. As with any of the design choices, your budget, taste and needs must be considered when making decisions on these items.
Light fixtures and electrical outlet placement
Building codes require and specify how many outlets are placed along each wall in your home. In the bedroom, you want ample outlets placed on either side of the bed and where you will be placing floor or table lamps atop dressers. You might ask your builder to include outlets which include USB connections to allow you to charge your cell phone, tablet or other electronic device.
Recessed lights can be included in your bedroom design to focus light in specific places or to provide overall light to the room. Recessed lights may be a builder specification or could be an upgrade. Ask your design center consultant.
In the last few years, home owners have been including chandeliers in their owner’s suites. These decorative fixtures allow you to add personality and style to a bedroom. Most builders include standard ceiling fixtures in bedrooms, and if you want to personalize your fixture, you’ll probably do this after you move in.
Television or no TV in the bedroom?
A highly personal choice, is the inclusion of a television in the owner’s suite. Some like them and some hate them.
If you have a sitting area in your owner’s retreat, you can place the screen in that area, keeping it out of the sleeping zone. But, lots of people enjoy snuggling in bed, watching movies. If that describes you, consult with your designer to make sure you have wiring run for cable, electric, and have the builder include structure to mount your television bracket to.
Sweet dreams, sweet life in your owner’s retreat
After all your decisions are made and all your plans are complete, your builder’s construction team will take it from there to build you the sweet retreat you hoped for when you began the design process. Each day, you will be comforted and rejuvenated starting and concluding your day in your personal oasis.
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