How to create a relaxing spa vibe in your bathroom
When you can’t go to a spa, create your own at home. These simple tips will help you transform your bathroom into a restful, pampering retreat
Who doesn’t love a spa day? Even better, who doesn’t love the idea of a spa day at home? You get all the pampering without the high price tag and the awkward journey home still covered in oil and wearing toe-separators. Best of all, it only takes a few small touches to elevate your everyday routine and make your bathroom feel like a relaxing retreat.
‘The bathroom is now the place to create wellness at home,’ explains Sarah O’Sullivan, Partner & Designer, Home Design Studio. ‘With an increasing need to revive and restore, we are noticing a move away from polished hotel-style bathrooms towards more organic, calming spaces.’
At a time when we all need more peaceful, feelgood moments, these are the expert tips you can use to create that spa-like experience...
Start with the basics
Creating a relaxed, calming bathroom starts with getting materials and textures just right. If you’re decorating from scratch, opt for natural stone or stone-effect porcelain tiles, rather than high-shine glossy ones – try travertine, limestone or marble. Concrete or rough-plaster effect treatments on your walls can also add to the rustic vibe. We’re not talking hotel-style glossy finishes, rather an organic-inspired, tranquil space that’s made for relaxation. Wood-effect tiles can be a more practical idea than natural wood, while encaustic or zellige ones are a much more textured and interesting choice than uniform white metro tiles.
While we’d all love to indulge in a lengthy soak in the tub, sometimes a lack of space makes a shower the more practical option. Make sure yours has a variety of flow settings and a handset, which can combine to deliver that rainfall effect. Go for a wet-room area if you’re planning a new bathroom – removing the enclosure or glass door will make your bathroom feel more open and help with that spa feel. Make sure there’s a fluffy robe close to hand, along with plush spa-like slippers and plenty of super-soft towels – why not roll some up and keep them in a basket? It’s a space-saving way to store them and it looks stylish too.
Think fluffy – not all towels are created equal
‘Think muted colours,’ says Sarah. ‘Shades of browns, beige and blush, rather than crisp white.’ Dress a wooden peg rail with towels, hang up a basket or two – ideal for storing those bathroom bits and bobs – and display a few treasures, such as driftwood or dried foliage.
When it comes to choosing towels, look at the GSM rating – which is the grams per square metre – generally the higher the GSM, the thicker and more absorbent the towel will be. For the ultimate luxury, try silky Suvin cotton towels, which are made from Indian-grown Suvin cotton. For more information on choosing towels, read our buyer’s guide.
Add interesting texture to bathroom essentials. Soap dishes are tipped to be big sellers as we try to use fewer plastic bottles and gentler, more artisanal products. Kit your home spa out with a soap dish in smooth marble or terrazzo – and buy a matching toothbrush mug or liquid soap dispenser to complete the look.
Natural is the way to go
Wooden pieces are a great way of softening a white bathroom. Bring in a stool – it will not only offer a place to sit and relax, but also an extra styling surface and side table for your candle and glass of wine while you're in the tub. Swap your bath mat for a duckboard, while a wooden bath bridge provides that touch of spa luxury. Use a deep bowl to house body brushes and natural sponges and opt for baskets to keep those necessary but less aethetically pleasing bathroom essentials out of sight. Just remember with any wooden accessories that you'll ideally need to dry them after use to keep them looking their best.
If you have natural light in your bathroom, you can also add a humidity-loving plant on a windowsill or sink side to further soften harsh angles or stark white tiles. You could even hang a bunch of eucalyptus upside down next to your shower head, so you can inhale the beautifully scented, relaxing vapour as you take a hot shower.
Add those indulgent spa treats
And surely the best part of any spa experience… the deliciously scented, spoiling, soothing products that you’ll use. Light a scented candle and treat your skin to scrubs, creams, oils and masks from your favourite spa brands such as Cowshed, ESPA and Elemis. Use a tray to prepare your products in advance so you’re not wrestling with lids and bottles with oily hands. Get a clean, soft face cloth ready and an exfoliating mitt or a natural sponge – anything you love to use to feel at your most relaxed and like you’ve had a proper ‘treatment’.