In our hectic lives, there’s nothing more luxurious than a getaway to the spa. Soaking in a warm bath in a private room allows you to leave the rest of the world on the other side of the door while you rest and recharge.
Finding that relaxation usually means going out and heading to a day spa to pay for a treatment – unless you create that super-relaxing atmosphere at home!
These days, at-home spa treatment products, including bath salts, scrubs, lotions and face masks, can easily be found in stores. And once you’ve created the ideal spa-like space in your home to put all these products to good use, why even leave the house?
A bathroom can be transformed into the perfect spa-like space with the right atmosphere and set-up. Design-wise, you want the room to be uncluttered, with the focus on one main element, and easy to maintain so that you’ll definitely feel like spending a lot of time there.
Bear in mind that a spa-like bathroom doesn’t have to be kitted out with the most expensive things in order to be luxurious, which is especially important if you are renovating an investment property. Keep an eye on your budget and aim for an airy, functional and beautifully lit space, and you will find that you can create a room that you’ll never want to leave!
"Keep an eye on your budget and aim for an airy, functional and beautifully lit space"
STEP ONE: SET THE MOOD WITH TILES
Renovator Shannon Burke tackled creating a beautiful at-home day spa, and her journey began with picking the right tiles. Getting this right is all about the colour, size and type. She says it’s best to opt for classic shades that won’t go out of style easily, like earth tones.
“I used 600mm x 600mm tiles, which give that visual flow for the eye. This also assists with making the space look bigger and the renovation more expensive,” Burke explains. “Full-height tiling creates that expensive feel, but one elegant or well-selected tile used on both the floor and walls gives you the sensation of all-round exclusiveness, calmness and serenity.”
“Texture and colour are a great way to subtly create the desired ambience,” Burke says. Mixing textures is a good idea as long as the tiles come in calming shades. She also recommends using rectified tiles – the straight edges create smaller grout lines.
STEP TWO: MAKE SOME SPACE
The key to a sufficiently relaxing day spa room is space. You want to feel like you have room to stretch, and you can achieve this even if you do not have a lot of room.
“Less is more ... so use your space in a way that makes it look spacious,” Burke says. For instance, if your bathroom is too small for a bath, invest in a spacious shower with a rain shower head. “Make the shower bigger than your standard 900mm x 900mm as this will likely be your focal point, so make it worth looking at and enticing to use.”
A massaging shower head allows for a built-in mini massage right in your own bathroom, and combined with relaxing body scrubs and salts could give you the most comfortable shower you’ve ever experienced.
STEP THREE: DON’T SCRIMP ON SHOWER SCREENS
Once you’ve set up your ideal shower, you need to protect the rest of the room with a good shower screen. A beautiful screen can complement your day spa’s design in addition to having a practical use.
“When it comes to shower screens, frameless always gives the best visual result, especially in smaller bathrooms,” Burke says. “However, if it is the family bathroom, I recommend using a semi-frameless shower unit as they are more durable for family use.”
Installing pre-made shower screens can create challenges that are expensive to overcome, so Burke suggests investing a little extra in a custom-made unit.
Shower screens are a practical and premium alternative to shower curtains because they don’t stick to a surface. A reversible shower screen that can accommodate both lefties and righties could be a good idea.
STEP FOUR: DIM THE LIGHTS
In a space like this, dim, soft lights are best because they establish a relaxed atmosphere.
Wall sconces can create a great mood, and the use of yellow bulbs can evoke warmth. LED lights can give off a diffused glow, while frosted-cover lights make lighting look less stark.
Pendant lights serve as a great focal design element while brightening the room adequately.
Burke recommends downlights or star lights. Ideally, all your lights should come with dimmer switches because being able to adjust the lighting is vital to the purpose of a spa room.
Candlelight is the ultimate mood-setter and can effectively complement the other lights in the room. Scented candles can also add to the ambience of the room while introducing a pop of soft colour.
STEP FIVE: GO BACK TO MOTHER NATURE
To maximise the relaxing feel of your day spa room, look to nature for colour inspiration. Green, grey and brown are calming shades. Light earth colours can help give the illusion of spaciousness in a small bathroom. Neutral tones like beige are also a good idea.
Pick paint that’s formulated to resist water stains and mould, as well as to stand up against heat and steam. Semigloss and satin finishes are durable and easy to clean, although the sheen does highlight any imperfections on the wall surface. After applying paint, make sure to let it dry for at least one whole day so that stains don’t stick.
Go for asthma-friendly and hypoallergenic paint so that your relaxation time isn’t marred by bad reactions to your walls. A lot of paints also provide antibacterial protection to make the room as healthy an environment as possible.
STEP SIX: MAXIMISE NATURAL LIGHTING
Part of the spa experience is reconnecting with nature through sounds and scents. What better way to add to the atmosphere than by incorporating natural light? It also has the benefit of making the room feel bigger and airier.
Large bay windows can let in a lot of sunlight while giving you a wonderful view to enjoy. Wood is a great way to add more warmth to the tone of the room, and white creates a clean, crisp feel. Slatted windows can add a much-needed sense of privacy, as will curtains or blinds.
Roman shades are great for bathrooms because they allow you to control the amount of natural light while softening the look of the space as a whole. It’s important to choose a fabric that can stand up to mildew.
STEP SEVEN: BECOME A MINIMALIST
One of the biggest mood-killers in a spa set-up is clutter – a mess of bath products scattered on the sink can end up making you frustrated rather than relaxed. So instead of putting toiletries on the counter (with the exception of daily essentials like your toothbrush), consider investing in easy-to-access storage spaces. You can use a wicker basket for hand and face towels, a tray for bottled products, or get a spacious medicine cabinet.
This is especially helpful if you have a small bathroom. Keeping the area mostly bare gives the illusion of space, and helps you concentrate on simply relaxing.
Develop the habit of constantly clearing your bathroom of old and/or expired products to limit clutter and free up more storage space. You can also reuse containers and buy refill packs to minimise wastage.
STEP EIGHT: ACCESSORISE RIGHT
A minimalist room doesn’t have to be devoid of sleek design. The right knick-knacks can make the day spa a place you want to be, simply because it’s so beautiful.
Adding indoor plants like flowers is a great way to bring even more nature into the space while making it smell good. Good-quality rugs and fluffy towels in neutral shades go a long way towards helping you feel luxurious. A wood caddy is a great place to put the books and drinks you’ll be wanting to have around for your ‘decompression’ time. To top off your home spa, an aromatherapy diffuser is a perfect accessory.
Good-quality material is an important consideration when you’re buying towels and rugs for your day spa room. Comfort is of the essence, so this is one area where you can splurge a bit on soft, absorbent and durable material like Pima cotton.
Shannon Burke transformed a simple bathroom into something fit for a VIP, elevating the home’s value to $800,000 plus.
With parents who were seasoned property investors and renovators themselves, Shannon Burke has seen (and done) it all. “I have grown up in renovations and have built and created a strong renovation business in Perth,” she says.
One of her recent projects included a fourbedroom, two-bathroom house in an area that was just starting to bloom, as the property is adjacent to some premium suburbs. To add value, Burke decided to strategically transform one of the bathrooms into a ‘day spa’.
“It’s all about the ambience you create in your bathroom renovation,” she says, “and that is achieved through clever design, the right products, and attention to the big picture,” Burke focused on tiling to create an atmosphere designed to help its user get away from it all, as well as put the focus on the bath as the room’s feature piece. “Whilst these colours are definitely in right now, they are classic and won’t date with the fashion changes,” she explains.
“In this project, I featured the backdrop of the bath by using a textured tile to introduce the visual suggestion of that day spa feel. It also brings to mind treatments encountered at a day spa, such as a hot stone massage.” Maximising the available space was another key factor in Burke’s renovation.
“Even if you can’t fit a bath into your day spa bathroom, you can always add a day spa shower. If you have the room, a double rain shower head looks amazing – or in this situation, a double shower head.” A minimalist approach is always best when you’re trying to create the day spa feel, so Burke emphasises keeping it simple.
“Less always feels like more if you are creating a calm environment. Do your research on what works in your space, even if that means you must clear your schedule and try out every day spa near you for inspiration,” Burke says. “It’s all about how it makes you feel.
I have seen [day spa bathroom renovations] achieved by simply using views from a bath and a good use of natural light and accessories.”
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