Get The Look: Give Your Modern Master Bathroom An Earthy, Spa-Like Ambiance

Modern design is often associated with sterile, artificial elements: plastic, metal, and concrete that are anything but earthy. But while many modern spaces have the posh, hands-off feel of an art gallery, it is possible to design a space that has both a contemporary sensibility and a more relaxed, natural feel. This master bathroom by Geschke Group Architecture pairs smooth, simplified surfaces and basic geometric lines with highly refined wood and stone elements to get the best of both worlds: an updated, stylish space with a relaxed, spa-like feel.

Bathrooms that are natural don't have to be rustic - refined wood and stone elements showcase the natural beauty of the material, without all the rough edges (by Geschke Group Architecture)
Bathrooms that are natural don’t have to be rustic – refined wood and stone elements showcase the natural beauty of the material, without all the rough edges (by Geschke Group Architecture)

Get The Look: Start with a freestanding bathtub and matching tub filler that are all modern: acrylic and chrome in simple but distinctive contemporary designs. Putting these in a prominent spot in your master bathroom will help anchor the style of the rest of the space. For everything else, you want elements that meet somewhere in the middle. Look for a wall-mounted vanity with slab style cabinets and modern hardware, but with a nice rich wood veneer – the more natural-looking the better, but with a smooth, polished surface. The same goes for your floor tile: you want tile that mimics natural stone, but with a smooth, durable finish. Stone-look porcelain tile is a good fit, because it will give you the appearance of natural stone, but with a subtly different tactile feel and a much, much simpler care routine. Finish the space off with an earthy neutral tone – I like an off-white with just a drop of sage green, but a light, sandy beige can work well, too. A few potted plants or slightly rustic elements (like a woven basket or coarse, hand-made throws or towels) can also help round out the look as needed!

Why It Works: One of my very favorite offshoots of the broad category of “transitional” design is the trend towards trying to re-imagine very rustic aesthetics (like log cabins and alpine lodges) for use in clean, contemporary spaces. Traditionally, these styles rely on very rustic natural materials, like quarried, unpolished stone and unfinished or reclaimed wood. But “rugged” anything isn’t a great match for a modern lifestyle, let alone a high-traffic master bathroom; it’s hard to keep clean, and can easily take your design in a bad direction – too dark, too grungy, too cluttered, or too old or dated. Opting for a more transitional take on these designs means doing a lot of streamlining: simple, polished wood and stone, easy to clean elements, and lots of natural light. Leaving most of your surfaces simple (no log or stone walls, for example) helps keep your space feeling crisp and clean, while featuring highly refined wood and stone allows you to showcase something with a “natural” feel in a slightly more controlled way. The result? A clean, usable contemporary master bathroom that has a relaxing natural vibe.

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