Bathrooms are increasingly becoming a living space for personal pampering. Get inspired with our tips for creating your own special retreat at home
How to transform your bathroom into a personal sanctuary
We’ve all seen those real estate ads for homes that have garden spaces with pools and areas for lounging that deliver a “resort-like” experience so that owners will feel like they’re on holiday all year round. Our love affair with indulging in a little luxury in our lives is growing in tandem with increased demands on our time and the pressure to multi-task.
As a result everyone craves a little “me” time and it’s no longer enough to enjoy a bit of personal pampering once a year on a holiday get away. Those luxury bathrooms that we all love in upmarket hotels and resorts and the pure indulgence we revel in at day spas is having an affect on how we design our homes.
Enter the bathroom as the new personal sanctuary. Once regarded primarily as a utility space, bathrooms are now coming to the fore as living spaces in their own right. As a result interior design principles once reserved for lounges are now making a statement in a new wave of bathrooms that are places to enjoy some respite from the day-to-day grind in a place of serenity.
Here are some ideas for making your bathroom feel like a special retreat:
The old, practical bathroom vanities have been shunted aside by the trend to “furnish” your bathroom just like you would any other room in the house. Bespoke cabinetry that provides seamless storage and custom-made vanities that bear more than a passing nod to living room cabinetry are increasingly popular. Or steal that antique sideboard from the living room and reinvent it as an upmarket vanity or storage cabinet.
Including a “work space” is also a great way to get that luxury feel: a clear area in front of a mirror with a striking chair to sit on while you do your make-up is a sure way to feel spoiled. And don’t forget to include other items of furniture: an armchair upholstered in a quality textured fabric, a book case for candles, pot plants and perfume bottles, a coat stand for hanging bathrobes, and bath mats that more closely resemble rugs all morph bathrooms from a practical space to a living area for relaxing.
A bath is no longer an optional extra, it’s a necessity in the new wave of bathrooms. Stand alone tubs provide a focal point and are often positioned so that you can enjoy the view while you’re having a relaxing soak.
There are many new designs that double as sculptural statements and oversize tubs are the ultimate in offering a spa-like experience. Stock the storage shelves with fragrant essential oils and bath bubbles. A wired-in music system will help to set the mood of tranquility.
There are some fresh takes on materials used to fit out bathrooms. Formerly taboo surfaces such as wood are increasingly being incorporated and are an effective way to soften harder surfaces such as concrete, tiles or stone. Timber duckboard flooring used in boatbuilding and bamboo can be used as flooring that is pleasant to stand on and adds warmth.
Natural stone for floors and vanity tops and metallic accents bring a natural element into spaces. Feature walls made from river rock or natural stone or a striking wallpaper treatment will add flair without being overwhelming.
The trend is for more timeless choices that won’t date and don’t jostle for attention
The juxtaposition of different materials that will highlight the unique qualities of each element is a must: mixing stone, wood, copper and concrete in various surface treatments is a way to achieve the wow factor without being disruptive. Brass fittings are edging out stainless steel fixtures and add a quiet accent.
Oversized tiles are replacing the small-tiled mosaic look that was popular and in terms of colour, white is king. The trend is for more timeless choices that won’t date and don’t jostle for attention. White, rectangular tiles laid in interesting patterns such as herringbone, basket weave or windmill will all add interest without interrupting a calming aura. Handcrafted tiles are also being used increasingly as part of the trend for all things bespoke.
No more recessed halogen lights please! Ambient light is all the go and statement light fittings formerly reserved for living areas have escaped into the bathroom to become a focal point.
Chandeliers, strings of pendant lights, wall sconces and even table lamps all make an appearance. Candelabras feature by the bath and dimmer switches are a must to set the mood of serenity.
Small touches will make all the difference to creating a feeling of pure indulgence:
- Double shower heads are increasingly popular – not for “his and her” but combinations of a rain shower head and a handset to direct streams of water for a spa-like shower experience.
- Include at least one statement mirror.
- Invest in some top-quality fluffy towels and robes and have plenty of rolled hand towels at the ready. Buy some top-quality scented soaps for the bath.
- Hang a few paintings to add interest and include some ornaments and potted plants in attractive containers. Many plants like maidenhair ferns, orchids, African violets and aspidistras will thrive in the humid environment.
- Edit out clutter. Make room to store items such as electric toothbrushes, razors and hair dryers so they are easy to access but out of sight.
Words by: Sarah Beresford Photography by: Nick Scott, Martina Gemmola, Marie Homer, Nikole Ramsay, Nick Watt/bauersyndication.com.au.