Privacy Is Important in Your Home. Here’s How to Maintain It
Imagine you like to go to bed early – and get up early – but the teenage kids prefer to stay up later and inevitably wake you up when they go to bed. Or you work nights and need to sleep during the day, but the kids make noise playing in their bedrooms or going from room to room. You need privacy and need to be separate from those secondary bedrooms.
There are two main ways to group bedrooms when constructing homes. In one way, all of the bedrooms (including the master) are grouped in one home area.
In the other (the split bedroom layout), things are a little bit more spread out.
What Is a Split Bedroom Layout?
In split bedroom house plans, the master suite is separated from the other sleeping areas instead of right next door. This occurs in contemporary interpretations of traditional house styles.
In strictly traditional houses, the home’s master bedroom might typically be in the same part of the house as the other bedrooms, either grouped on the first floor as in a Ranch style home or grouped on the upper floor in two-story homes.
You’ll often notice groupings like this when you tour historic houses or if you plan on purchasing a home in areas of the country with a large number of older homes, like New England.
There are plenty of ways to “split” the bedrooms in a home; however, even with homes with four bedrooms or more, there are still just two main ways to split a house. This depends on how many stories there are in the house that you want to create. In a one-story house, you put the master on one side and secondary bedrooms on the other, separated by living space. You put the master on the first floor and the secondary bedrooms on the upper floor in a two-story house.
This modest 3-bedroom, 2-bath transitional Craftsman style home (top) displays a classic split-bedroom layout in the floor plan (bottom), with the general living areas creating a buffer zone between the master suite and the secondary bedrooms (Plan #142-1067).
1-Story: Master Bedroom on the Opposite Side of the House
If you plan to build a one-story home, then your floor plan will tend to look similar to this:
This floor plan of a 1300-sq.-ft. 3-bedroom Ranch style home shows the living area splitting the space between the master suite on the right and the other two bedrooms on the left. By occupying opposite sides of the house, the master maintains its privacy from the family bedrooms (Plan #142-1046).
This is the most common layout for homes that have only one story.
By placing the master suite on the opposite side of the house from the other bedrooms, homebuilders can ensure that the master suite still feels private. This is especially true even if the home’s square footage is on the small side.
Because the master is set apart (often by the living and dining areas), the home has the illusion of more space and therefore feels more practical.
Wings or no wings: Some architectural designs, like Georgian, Colonial, and other traditional styles, make use of "wings" on the sides of the house, which give the structure a formal, symmetrical appearance. As in the white-sided house in the top image, these wings are ideal for housing the master suite and secondary bedrooms on opposite sides of the house, as seen in the upper center floor plan of the home (Plan #142-1131). Other more modern house styles, like the 1-story European home lower center, have an asymmetrical appearance that conceals the placement of the bedroom areas on each side of the house – seen in the bottom floor plan – within the overall design (Plan #142-1043).
2-Story: Master on Main
If the home you want to build will be two or more stories, however, then it’s likely that you will be looking at having the master suite on the main level, separated from other bedrooms on the upper level, as in the following floor plan.
This 2-story Rustic style luxury home has a typical modern/transitional floor plan with the master suite on the main floor and secondary bedrooms remotely located on the upper level, affording the master ultimate privacy during sleeping and wake-up times (Plan #161-1076).
This is the most popular setup for multiple-story homes because the master suite remains very accessible from the eating and living areas of a home; due to its location away from where the rest of those in the home sleep, it also remains very private.
This idea works well for four-bedroom house plans because the “stacked” concept of the main sleeping spaces allows for multiple bedrooms to access great amenities, like natural light from the sunrise in the mornings or a great view of mountains and other landscape vistas.
Six Reasons Why You Should Consider a Split Bedroom Layout
There are many reasons why more and more future homeowners choose to build their dream homes in the split bedroom style.
Here are just six of our favorites:
1. More Privacy
It’s simple: if you want a four-bedroom home (or even one with three!), your children will likely inhabit the other bedrooms in the house.
If your children are grown up already, or you haven’t started a family yet, then those rooms will still likely be filled with visiting friends and family.
Because of this, most modern house plans choose to separate the master suite from the rest of the bedrooms so that mom and dad (or grandma and grandpa!) can enjoy a little bit of privacy away from the rest of the family (or their guests).
The huge master suite, which takes up the front to the back of the left side of this 4-bedroom, 4-bath Florida coastal style luxury home (top), is in a private oasis with a koi pond and pool/spa within view and only steps away (floor plan, bottom). Perfect for owners' away time (Plan #175-1086).
It’s always easier to relax when you truly have your own space. Homes with a split bedroom layout make this significantly easier because you don’t always have to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, blasting music, or even your brother-in-law snoring when he visits for the holidays.
This floor plan of a 1900-sq.-ft. 3-bedroom, 2-bath Acadian home shows the master suite occupying the left rear corner of the house. Although the master and secondary bedrooms are located on the same side of the floor plan, the layout shows that the master is isolated at the rear. Access to the secondary bedrooms is limited to the very front left of the home. The entrances are separated by the living space (Plan #142-1048).
2. Better Work/Life Balance
Keeping work and home life separate is important but can often be difficult. This is especially true if you have a home office.
Most folks who work from home prefer to have their commute a little bit longer than three steps away from their bed. It doesn’t matter if you work completely from home or use your space for personal projects – this is true for everyone.
Having space completely dedicated to productivity makes you, well, more productive.
When the master suite is in a completely different home area, many homeowners find it easier to dedicate themselves completely to their projects and relax when the workday is over.
A 6-bedroom, 6-bath traditional European style luxury home (top) has this main-level floor plan (bottom), which shows the sumptuous, isolated master suite on the left, with its large split-vanity bathroom his and her closets. Next door is a large office for work-at-home days or just getting projects done in your own time. Except for the guest suite on the other side of the foyer from the office, the rest of the bedrooms are on the upper level (Plan #153-1945).
3. Larger Feeling
Homes with split bedroom layouts tend to use floor space more efficiently than homes with grouped bedrooms. This is because large or multiple hallways are not always necessary in these home design plans.
Because instead of a hallway, a living room or a kitchen can separate the two sleeping “zones” instead.
Without the need for these hallways, homes with split bedrooms can allot square footage to the home’s living areas. These bigger rooms usually mean higher overall value for the home.
And, even if the split bedroom home has the same square footage as a “grouped bedroom” home, the split bedroom home will still feel larger because of the illusion of space created by removing a harsh divider, such as a hallway.
This floor plan of a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath rustic style home shows the master suite and family bedrooms opposite the house's corners. The layout displays extremely efficient use of space, with living areas at the center and other rooms strategically placed around the circumference with almost no hallways – providing a more spacious feeling (Plan #117-1092).
4. Multiple En Suites
Often, when all the bedrooms in one home are grouped, there will be a shared bathroom in the hallway instead of an en suite for each room.
Any master bedroom floor plans that DON’T has an en suite included are immediately binned for most modern homeowners. This is because the level of comfort and privacy that comes with an en suite bathroom (especially for the homeowners) has come to be expected.
With the split bedroom concept, the square footage saved by nixing clunky hallways can be reallocated to spacious walk-in closets and larger bathrooms.
It even provides an opportunity for guest or children’s bedrooms to have en suites, perhaps linking two of the bedrooms in a larger home.
5. More Creative Floor Plans
When you don’t have to group all of the bedrooms in a home, you really have a lot more freedom in how you will end up designing your home.
We’ve already touched on this a little bit, but separating the various sleeping spaces in a home can do many things for you.
Here are just a few of them:
Allows you to use a second or third bedroom as a home office, gym, or creative space
Have larger, more inviting living and eating areas
Creates the illusion of square footage through a more open floor plan
Gives you more flexibility on en suite and closet features
Allows you to work around lot-specific features, like a mountain view or natural light in the morning
With the left and right exterior walls lined with bedrooms and bathrooms, the center of the transitional Craftsman style home is mostly open, with a roomy kitchen/dining area, spacious powder room, and mudroom-laundry, and flex space that is left to the creativity of the homeowners (Plan #142-1168).
6. More Desirable
When you build your dream home, the plan is usually to stay in it forever. After all, you’ve poured your heart into it!
However, plans often change. Because of this, when building, you need to consider at least somewhat the types of features a future buyer might be interested in.
So, we offer you this advice: a home with a split bedroom layout may sell for more than a home with all of the bedrooms grouped – and is generally more desirable.
This is mainly due to the reasons listed here! Buyers can know that their lifestyle changes can be easily accommodated – that is, when the master suite sits away from the rest of the rooms, it’s easier for buyers to imagine them as a nursery, office, or home gym – with minimal disruption to their sleep.
With its two secondary bedrooms far removed from the master suite with separate his and her closets and spa-like en suite bathroom, this floor plan of a brick-sided Ranch style home is laid out with an open floor plan central space that continues to be highly appealing to today's home buyers (Plan #153-1432).
If you’re looking for a home with more privacy, more livability, and more functionality, you’re looking for a split-bedroom-layout home. It’ll be home with plenty of space, as well as one that can seem significantly larger than its declared square footage.