The decorative elements that prompt relaxation are most often related to your senses. For sight, it's a color palette that you enjoy—whether it's warm neutrals or bright tropical hues—as well as a clutter-free vanity and splatter-free mirror. For smell, it might be an aromatic candle or the faint whiff of bleach that signals a clean shower. For sound, bring in a tabletop fountain that burbles happily, or add a speaker dock so you can play your favorite tunes. For touch, choose pillow-soft towels and warm rugs underfoot. Finally, taste: If you like to wake up with a strong cup of joe or drift away with soothing chamomile tea, incorporate the equipment you need. It can be as elaborate as single-cup coffee pot, or as simple as a heating coaster to keep your cuppa warm.
Above all, a master bathroom should look like a grown-up space. Whether it's a hall bath you share with other family members or a secluded space you can call your own, the master bath should not be a room ruled by colorful toys, neon nail polish spills, or smelly baseball socks. By all means, play with fun colors or energizing patterns if you wish, but keep the cartoon characters under wraps. If the space is shared, devote cabinet or linen closet storage to toys and teen products to keep them out of sight. If the space is your own, declare it a kid-free zone.
To truly enjoy your master bathroom, reflect your personality and passions in the decorating. Do you relish visits to the spa? Replicate the colors and decor of your favorite spot. Inspired by fashion? Install a full-body mirror on the door so you can try on outfits. Do you have the travel bug? Frame travel snapshots or posters for the wall. Can't decide on one thing? Use the walls like a gallery space and rotate items such as family photos, black-and-white nature scenes, or prints from a museum exhibition. Hanging something for a brief time will also lessen the effect of the moist environment on any wall art. It's a good idea to run the exhaust fan for up to 30 minutes after a steamy shower. And naturally, a bathroom is not the place for precious or one-of-a-kind items.
One of the strongest ways to reinforce a master bath's sophistication is to link it to the grown-up feel of the master bedroom. Whatever scheme you develop for the bedroom through linens, paint colors, pattern choices, or artwork, repeat elements of it in the bathroom. This is often easily laid out for you in packages at big-box retailers, where a collection might include a toothbrush set as well as a duvet. You can link the spaces through a less prescribed manner, too. Use the bedroom's accent color for the shower curtain. Or pick a motif from the pattern in the comforter, and use it as a stenciled border on the bathroom wall. Another idea: Cover throw pillows for the bed in the same fabric as the bathroom window treatment.
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