Q.When I read about master-bathroom designs, one new phrase that keeps showing up is “grooming area.” What exactly is a grooming space, and wouldn’t a regular bathroom already have a grooming area?

— Nancy, Rhode Island

A. In decades past, if you had a little space off the master bedroom where you could fit a toilet, sink and shower, you were a trendsetter. But, over the years, master bathrooms have become larger and have continued to grow in size.

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Now it seems bathrooms are becoming so large that designers are starting to create new bathroom areas. These separate spaces can include:

•A toilet area where the toilet is in a smaller private room.

•Tub and shower areas that can include steam rooms.

•And grooming areas, where the vanity, medicine cabinet and sink are located. Many hotel rooms use grooming areas to allow one person to get ready, while another person can use another bathroom area.

Also, since most grooming areas are separated from the wet shower areas, more traditional furnishings can be used.

Bottom line: A beautiful grooming area can let you take your time without taking up all the bathroom space!

Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write Sorry no personal replies. Always consult local contractors and codes.