Private Spaces Deliver to Buyer Definitions of “Wellness” and “Zen”

By Beverly Smirnis

A home’s “wellness” or “zen” factor tops the list of buyer must-haves. When it comes to homebuyers’ wish lists, it’s all about the essentials and a sprinkle of luxury.



Farrey, a South Florida-based premiere resource for lighting, bath, and hardware, understands the impact lighting and bath fixtures can have in a home.

Buyers seek not just a house but a sanctuary that supports their well-being from the moment they step through the door.  Spaces designed for wellness have natural light pouring in and uuse eco-friendly materials that promote clean indoor air quality. Layouts that encourage movement and flow are the key selling points. This desire for home wellness and zen atmosphere puts a heightened emphasis on the private spaces of a home.  Personal retreats are a sanctuary within the home sanctuary.

A ceiling mounted faucet and leather wall-coverings yield a one-of-a-kind poweder bath. Photo, courtesy of Farrey.


Instead of attempting to conceal or the functional components of shower enclosures, the SHOWER G collection by Italian manufacturer, Gessi, choses to celebrate them.

A Bathroom that Exudes Wellness is a tipping point for the emotionally-motivated buyer.

Certainly, the owner’s suite is a selling point for any home.  And the hallway powder bath is a space that gets a lot of attention.  But often-overlooked secondary bedrooms and bathrooms deserve some attention too! And the allure of an outdoor shower lends a pure zen experience.

When designing or updating a home bathroom, the plan usually revolves around the ultimate shower.  It’s not just a shower; it’s a zen experience, a daily ritual of indulgence and rejuvenation. People seek to start or end their days experiencing the sensation of multi-sprays from a combination of rainfall and body jets, all adjustable to their preferred pressure and temperature. Aromatherapy, chromotherapy, hydrotherapy and audiotherapy functions all contribute to wellness. Smart home technology takes it up a notch, allowing you to control everything from lighting to temperature with a touch or voice command.

The Delta® ShowerSense ® Digital Shower has customizable presets, precise temperature and flow control with built-in Wi-Fi and connectivity to virtual assistants


Wet rooms entail a completely open plan with floors and walls waterproofed and tiled.  Floors are sloped so water can drain through a high-performing linear or center drain. And a wet room allows the shower space to be larger without increasing the footprint.  The need for an enclosure is optional, though most people prefer to install some kind of glass wall to control water splash. Wet rooms are the solution for accessibility, and they are easier to maintain and clean than the usual walk-in shower.


Best of KBIS 2023 Finalist: Sebastian Herkner’s Zencha Freestanding Tub from Duravit North America


Wet rooms are open, barrier-free and easy to clean giving rise to architectural and decorative linear drain such as those offered by Infinity Drain. Photo courtesy of Maplewood Senior Living/Inspir.

Where space allows, many buyers still put a value on a separate deep soaking tub. And health professionals tout the wellness benefits that a tub offers above and beyond a shower. Freestanding models remain most popular.  Whether you’re specifying a classic clawfoot tub or one that’s elevated on a pedestal base, some of the various materials to choose from are cast iron, copper, wood, stone, concrete, stone resin, acrylic or fiberglass.

Painting the Picture of Tranquility

Designers recommend the use of soft, muted colors like soothing blues or earthy tones.  Natural materials like wood and stone are used to further create a calming atmosphere with that all-important connection to nature. Add a touch of character with statement tiles or a unique backsplash. And be sure to include dimmable, warm lighting to enhance the serene ambiance.

How about sleek marble countertops, focal point sinks and faucets or heated floors for a touch of zen. Add smart mirrors that not only reflect your flawless self but also display the day’s weather and your schedule. And be aware that the quality of lighting can have a significant impact on mood, productivity, and overall well-being. 

If you’re building a spec or model home, staging the bath can pay dividends. Use plush, luxurious towels, plants, scented candles, and the perfect piece of art to lure the buyer. Don’t forget to tune the built-in sound system to the spa channel. When they begin envisioning living in the space, you’re one step closer to a sale.

photo, courtesy of Infinity Drain

What’s Trending in Surface Selections? Read our recent article.


A new collaboration between Watrline and LB Outdoor Showers brings a touch of the Netherlands’ to your outdoor spaces!

The Practical Side of the Equation

Homes with EPA’s WaterSense label are at least 30 percent more water-efficient than typical home construction.

Niagara Conservation’s Stealth toilet is a high-power, low-maintenance, no-waste product that disposes of liquids and solids with just 0.8 gallons of water per flush.

Privacy is crucial.  And a clean and hygienic bathroom is a still the top priority. Easy-to-clean surfaces, ample storage space, a thoughtful lighting design and good ventilation don’t go unnoticed.

For people with mobility issues, some common bathroom elements like curbed showers, tight layouts and hard-to-reach fixtures can be difficult to navigate.  HOUZZ reports an increase in searches for features that enhance accessibility and address the need for homes to be adaptable for people of all ages and abilities. 

Selecting the Right Toilet

You’lll first have to decide if you want something basic or a “throne” with full-on luxury features such as heated seats or a bidet function. Elongated bowl shapes are generally considered the most comfortable. Skirted toilets with a smooth surface that extends to the floor and wall-mounted toilets are both stylish and easier to clean. Check product reviews and ratings for the specific toilet models you are considering. Additionally, local building codes and regulations, rough-in measurements and budget will influence your choice.

Sustainability is the New Chic

Water-efficient faucets and low-flow toilets not only contribute to environmental conservation but also reduce your water bills. The current federal standard is 1.6 gallons per flush, although “recent advancements” have allowed many toilets to use 1.28 gallons per flush with equal or better performance.  You can go even further with sensor-activated fixtures that only release water when needed, ensuring no drop goes to waste. The EPA promotes WaterSense labeled products and recommends taking a whole-house approach to water efficiency.

The Bottom Line:  When designing a home’s private spaces and making product selections for them, the list of considerations must include privacy, functionality, comfort, storage, ventilation, lighting, materials and finishes, color scheme, accessibility, and technology integration.  Stay within your budget but get clever in making every room in the home a space that evokes a sense of relaxation and wellness.

Beverly Smirnis is the co-founder of Building Savvy magazine and publishes its flagship Dallas/Fort Worth edition.  She and her business partner and husband, Steve Smirnis, have served as judges for the International Builders’ Show Best of IBS Awards and judged numerous homes for builders association parade events across the country. 

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