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What's a Primary Suite and Why Would You Want One?

photography by Christina Kiffney Photography

What is a Primary Suite?

Ever heard the term ‘primary suite’ or ‘primary bedroom’ and wonder what this means?  This blog post focuses on the Primary Suite and all its virtues.  We’ll also consider some design ideas for your next primary suite project.

The ‘primary suite’ used to be called a ‘master suite’.  We now use the term ‘Primary’ in lieu of ‘Master’.  You can search the internet and talk with your friends as to why this is.  Rather than get into the social and political reasons why we’ve moved from ‘master’ to ‘primary’, I want to focus on what this means for your home.  

A primary suite is the private sanctuary of the home.  It generally includes a:

  • Primary Bedroom:
  • Primary Bathroom: 
  • Primary Closet:

And I’d like to add a 4th consideration for the primary suite:

  • Primary Foyer.

Why would you want a primary suite?

The short answer as to why you would want a nice primary suite is because it is a private lovely space just for you and perhaps a significant other(s) to rest, relax, restore, and prepare yourself for daily life.

The primary bedroom is usually the biggest and nicest bedroom in the house.

The primary bath is an ‘en suite’ bathroom that’s meant for the sole use of the people that use the primary bedroom.  It is generally only accessible through this bedroom.

The are a bunch of awesome bells and whistles you can add to your primary bathroom:

-Dedicated, nice, soaking bathtub.

-Steam shower

-2 sinks, counterspace, perhaps a vanity seating area.

-separate room for toilet, aka water closet.

Similarly, the primary closet is a larger closet dedicated to the primary occupants of the home.

Some nice bonus amenities include:


-Vanity/makeup area

-Bench and/ or dressing area.

-Full height mirror, to be able to check out your look (wink emoji.)

The Primary Foyer:

One design idea I love to pitch to our clients is the idea of the primary foyer.  The idea of the primary foyer is that it’s an anteroom that has access to the 3 main rooms of the primary suite: the bedroom, closet, and bathroom.  The key thing here is that you don’t have to pass through the bedroom to get to the bathroom or the closet.  This makes your primary bedroom a true sanctuary.  Let’s look at 2 floor plans to help illustrate this:



This first floorplan shows a classic layout with a nice big primary bedroom.  You pass through this large room to access the closet and the bathroom.



Note in the 2nd floor plan with the Primary Foyer, that the bedroom only has 1 door.  This is a great feature for couples that sleep/wake at different times.  Imagine: you can get up, slip out of bed, close the bedroom door, and leave your partner alone while you prepare for the day.  The same logic works if one of you is a night owl: you can prepare for bed without disturbing your partner.  Then come to bed super quiet when you're ready.  

So, to conclude, primary suites are great.  Even the concept of a place that’s just yours, where you rest, prepare, gather yourself, is inspiring.  

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