In our last post we talked about the bedroom we live with, as opposed to the one we’d like to live in. Now, on to the master bath. At Madison Lighting there’s probably no room that frustrates customers more than the elusive “beautiful” master bath. Why’s it so hard to get it right? And, as we’ve been asked a million times, when you live in an average-sized Madison area house can you even accomplish this? Why, yes. Yes, you can.

Ok, you’re thinking, I’ll bite. Yes, many customers have failed at making over this simple little room and now suffer from reno burnout. How did your sister create that plum colored dream of a bathroom that’s no bigger than yours? Simply said, it starts with ideas, photos of pretty master baths, room measurements, and a budget. Here’s a simple plan for creating a beautiful master bath.

Just like you did with your bedroom that adjoins, define your space- Do you love long baths or are you and your mate shower people? Do you apply makeup at this vanity? Do your hair? Do you share your bathroom with the family? Figuring out all the things you use this bathroom for is part of forming a design that works. Just like we did with your bedroom we’ll make a list:

  1. A pretty tub might be your focal point. Dream with me here, would you love a small chandelier for a bit of sparkle over the bubble bath? Or maybe something a bit more tailored like a drum shade, but still special with a pretty pendant or crystal accent? Don’t forget to add a dimmer switch so you can have candlelight with or without the candles.
  2. A vanity that actually holds your stuff, beautifully. Make up, skincare, blow dryer, curling iron, flat iron, round brushes in 2-3 sizes… right. You need it all. Because as one friend says, THIS doesn’t just happen. Sometimes we need to zhuzh a little, in the perfect light with no shadows, no glare, just clear light.
  3. Sharing your bathroom with your partner? Then double that space. And light.
  4. For the Goop girl, if you dry brush or like to sit down while applying self-tanner, you may be pining for an upholstered chair next to the tub if you’re lucky enough to have the space.
  5. A mirror. A beautiful mirror that doesn’t add pounds hangs over the vanity. And it can go to the ceiling, because we can mount the fixtures over the glass to make the room feel expansive. And add a bit of sparkle, too.
  6. The recessed light. We’ve mentioned the ambient light, that chandelier over the tub, for example. But a great bathroom needs a lot more special lighting than that. Recessed lighting near the shower (and a sealed unit in the shower) plus a bit more over the front edge of the vanity is especially appealing during those dark winter mornings when you’re getting ready for work before the sun comes up. 
  7. Vanity lights. This is critical. Combining recessed lighting with vanity lighting is how you achieve the “no shadows, no glare,” see #2. If you decided to run the mirror up to the ceiling, mount a bar of light over the glass, across the vanity, above your line of sight. This will give you beautiful light.
  8. Another take on vanity lights. Light the mirror with wall sconces, mounted on either side of your reflection. You can mount these on the glass, or on the wall on either side of the mirror.

Once you’ve sorted out the size and style of the vanity and mirror and selected a tub, pull a color scheme from the master bedroom. Perhaps pull an accent color from the bedroom wallcovering or a shade of the color you painted the walls. Stick with the same stained, painted or oiled wood finishes for consistency. Now pull that soft artisan gold finish or chrome from your lamps and bedroom lighting into sconces and vanity lighting for the bath. If it forms a pretty palette of color and pattern, you’ve found your groove.

Recently, a builder we often work with told us that his newest client will do mostly recessed lighting in their new home. This is precisely the thing you want to avoid. Lighting from one direction never works especially in a bathroom. And lighting only from recessed cans instantly makes you look tired. That’s where we come in. We are Certified Lighting Specialists trained to create beautiful spaces with light in every taste and style. We carry nearly 100,000 fixtures in every finish you can think of. You dream it, we’ll find you some options, help you select the size, the finish, and even the light bulbs. Shop and create your own retreat. Or make an appointment with one of our designers, bring us your bath and bed project, and we’ll help you create the perfect space with light.