It’s probably safe to say that the days of excess typical of the 1990s are well behind us. Americans are learning to live well within their means, stretching every dollar right to the breaking point. So when it comes time to remodel the bathroom, austerity forces us to ask whether we want a functional bath or a bathroom suite. To be clear, neither choice is superior or inferior to the other. It’s simply a matter of what your needs are, what you can afford, and what you plan to do with the house in both the short and long-term. To get a better idea of what’s involved, let’s look at both types of bathrooms.

The Functional Bath

The functional bath is just as the name implies: comfortably functional without the addition of unnecessary extras. In a standard two-bath household, the main bathroom is usually designed to be functional only. It is the master bath where the question of functional versus bathroom suite is addressed. Keep in mind a functional bath does not necessarily need to be sparse and utilitarian. It simply needs to contain all the elements necessary to make it usable on a daily basis. The elements of functional bath include:

  • single or double sink
  • medicine cabinet
  • wall mirror
  • tub or shower stall
  • toilet

Within the framework of these components, there is lots of room to move. For example, you could choose between a pedestal sink, a decorative vessel sink, or traditional undermount ceramic model. In terms of showers and tubs, you can select a single stall, a traditional ceramic tub, or even a walk-in or whirlpool tub. Furthermore, within the framework of those choices there are plenty of options to meet your particular decorative style.

The Bathroom Suite

The bathroom suite is intended to offer you comfort and luxury along with functionality. A suite typically includes all the components as a functional bath but with extras like a hot tub/Jacuzzi, walk-in closet, and two-person shower. For obvious reasons, the bathroom suite has a larger footprint. If you are building a brand-new home, it’s easy to work that footprint into your overall design. If you are remodeling an existing home, the space for the suite has to come from somewhere.

Selling Your Home

In terms of resale value, a bathroom suite can certainly garner a higher offer. Statistics show kitchens and baths are the primary selling points for most homes in America. So a modern, updated bathroom suite can go a long way. But only if it fits into the general character of the home. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep a home’s main bathroom as functional as possible — but modern and updated as well. As for the master bath, a suite tends to be a good idea if it is proportional to the overall size of the master bedroom area. If you sacrifice bedroom space for a large bathroom suite it will likely work against you when it’s time to sell.