Traditional Master Bathroom Remodel for LuxuryLuxurious master bathroom seen from entry

Are you planning to remodel a traditional master bathroom? To achieve the luxurious look, feel, and function you desire, I’ve got some great ideas for you, and I’ll share the story about one luxurious master bathroom.

Color Scheme for a Luxurious Master Bathroom

Select a neutral color palette that complements the colors and textures used in the adjacent bedroom. Consider how you feel as you move from one room to another; the transition, especially in a traditional home, should be smooth and non-jarring. It’s best to err on the conservative side for permanent features like plumbing, tile, countertops, and cabinets. Conservative doesn’t have to be boring! Painted walls can be any color you choose, although it’s wise to stay away from jewel tones and highly-saturated colors like burnt orange, daffodil yellow, or kelly green. Consider how easy (or difficult) it will be to coordinate the paint color with decorative tiles and accessories. Paint can be easily changed, but tiles cannot. If you have a favorite painting or framed poster that you want to display in the bathroom, select colors to help you create the scheme.

Homeowners wanted to update their timeless traditional master bathroom with clean lines. They selected a pastel color palette of sage green, beige, and a warm off-white.

Luxurious master bathroom waterfall edge between cabinet and tub deckTraditional Plumbing Fixtures and Fittings

Fixtures are vessels that hold water. Fittings are valves and pipes that supply and drain water. All plumbing manufacturers support saving water without compromising the users’ experience or the unit’s function. Plumbing includes:

  • Toilets (1.0 to 1.6 gallon per flush). Optional feature: bidet seat.
  • Lavatory sinks and faucets. The most popular configuration is an under-mount sink with a single-handle faucet, although other configurations are readily available.
  • Tub. It may be part of a shower system or separate. Entering and exiting a tub safely is very important. It has a tub filler, a valve, a diverter (part of the filler or valve), the drain and overflow, and a showerhead. The showerhead may be fixed, or it may be an adjustable hand-held shower, or a combination. Access to the fittings is essential.
  • Shower. It may be separate or combined with a tub.

The homeowners selected a toilet and a bidet seat. Their lavatory sinks were rectangular, and they chose single-handle faucets. They replaced the existing soaking tub with an air bath with whirlpool jets and purchased a tub filler with a separate body spray. Their shower has a fixed showerhead and a person hand-held shower. There’s a single valve and a multiple-choice diverter where they can have either showerhead or both showerheads operating simultaneously.

Luxurious Wall Tile Ideas

Ceramic or porcelain “subway” tiles look great in traditional bathrooms. They can wrap around the room as a wainscot (usually 36″ – 42″ high) with a detailed cap. Although subway tiles are available in small sizes, select larger ones for fewer grout joints — 3″x6″ up to 12″x24″ or larger. There are many possibilities for the layout and installation of a square and/or rectangular wall tiles:

  • Install a coordinating or contrasting feature stripe, often 4-5′ above the floor in a shower, or 3′-6″ above the floor for a backsplash.
  • Insert random coordinating or contrasting 2 – 3″ square tiles (these can be straight or diagonal) or glass-tile liners.
  • Mix “same” tiles of different shapes and sizes with a border to create a specific focal point.
  • Install rectangular subway tiles in a “running bond” (horizontal brick pattern) or vertically.

To ensure that you get the look you want, large-scale details should be created by a professional designer. For this master bathroom remodeling, the homeowners selected a rectangular porcelain field tile and 2×2 crackle-glass tile inserts. The tile setter was masterful in cutting the backsplash tiles for the 2×2 inserts, exactly what my plan elevations showed. The backsplash wrapped from the lavatory area down to the tub deck and back up to the makeup area. All the corners were mitered. The 2×2 crackle-glass tiles line the middle of the tub face and frame the perimeter of the built-in shampoo-soap niche in the shower.

Countertop Ideas

The material you choose should blend with the wall tile and the cabinets. It can successfully merge all of the major surface colors, including the walls. It’s a blessing (and a curse) to have such a broad selection of materials, colors, and patterns. We were fortunate to find an engineered stone that blended with the sage green that the homeowners like. A detail that they love is the “waterfall” edge between the countertops and the tub deck. This creates an uninterrupted flowing effect.

Luxurious master bathroom wall cabinet and lavatory sink + mirror and sidelightsTraditional Cabinets

Natural maple, birch, and cherry are still popular. White cabinets are also fashionable, but the finish can be less forgiving of daily-use dings, scratches, and stains than natural wood. Square raised-panel doors and drawers that have inside- and outside-edge details look best in a traditional bathroom. Your master bathroom should have ample towel storage and a place for your personal care items. There was an existing linen closet in the bathroom (which I don’t see in many homes!). The lavatory cabinets provide ample storage with alternating drawer units and sink-base units. There is a tall wall cabinet between the lavatory sinks with light-bridge soffits above the sinks. There’s also a dedicated makeup area with a pull-out pantry for hair-care products and makeup. A custom medicine cabinet was built for hand and nail care products. There’s a lit makeup mirror attached to the front of the medicine cabinet.

Mirrors Create An Ambiance

Large expanses of mirror have been replaced with individual framed mirrors that match the cabinet finish, blend with the metal accessories, or contrast for emphasis. Framed mirrors are a great focal point in traditional bathrooms, especially if you have inherited an antique or discovered a flea market treasure. All three mirrors have custom frames that replicate the doors and drawers.

Lighting Ideas For A Luxurious Traditional Master Bathroom

Sidelights enhance the appearance of framed mirrors, and they’re the best source for task lighting because they light our faces evenly, without artificial shadows that create premature aging. It’s all right to use recessed lighting in a traditional bathroom, especially in the tub/shower area and over the toilet. Aimable fixtures are great to enhance artwork — best to use two rather than one, aimed at the center of the picture, to avoid glare and harsh shadows. Dimmable LED fixtures are available in a wide range of color temperatures to create the perfect environment. In this bathroom, there are sidelights at a custom height by all three mirrors. Because the ceiling is sloped, aimable fixtures were chosen to prevent direct or reflected glare.

Luxurious master bathroom makeup area

Metal Accessories Are Very Important

Cabinet knobs/pulls, towel bars, tissue dispensers, and robe hooks are like jewelry for your bathroom. Like jewelry, they can be costly. This is one area where price shopping can reap major benefits. One of the metal accessories that should be included in every remodeled bathroom: Grab bars. Manufacturers have worked hard to make grab bars safe and beautiful! The homeowners selected comfortable pulls that easily allow all four knuckles to grip the handle without being pinched. They are the same finish as the plumbing fittings and sidelights. There are grab bars in the shower.

Artwork and Accessories Complement the Look and Feel

A long wall opposite the toilet and cabinets is the perfect place for a beautifully-framed picture centered above towel bars. Artwork doesn’t have to be placed on every bare wall! Other accessories include Elegant containers, small pictures of loved ones, plants and/or flowers (silk is fine if it looks natural!), a beautiful jewelry box, LED pillar candles, etc. Whatever makes you happy and complements your room. The homeowners had Nature prints with dark frames. The contrast is needed so the look doesn’t appear to be contrived.


The homeowners achieved the timeless, luxurious traditional bathroom they desired, without feeling overwhelmed, fearful, or frustrated.  Their remodeled bathroom has all of the amenities they requested:

  • Function and safety while maintaining a luxurious traditional appearance.
  • Great storage for towels and personal-care paraphernalia.
  • A two-person shower.
  • A two-person lavatory.
  • A dedicated makeup area.
  • A hydrotherapy air bath.
  • A color scheme that blends with the master bedroom.

“See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”

Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.

Are you thinking about remodeling your master bathroom to improve function, safety, and appearance? D. P. Design can help you! To get more information, please send an e-mail or call  Diane.

© Copyright 2015 D. P. Design; revised 2021