Thanks to good and plentiful spas, more people are being exposed to their wonderful charms. Builders have been quick to offer some options to replicate the experience at home, and homeowners are renovating their bathrooms with a spa in mind.
Regardless of how much space you have it is possible to inject your bathroom with some spa elements. Whether you’re renovating your bathroom, choosing finishes and upgrades in a new build, or just trying to infuse your existing bath with some spa elements, consider the following.
At the very least, switch up the regular showerhead for a massaging showerhead. These are relatively inexpensive and provide pulsing and jet sprays. There’s also one on the market that sprays vitamin C and aromatherapy via canisters inside the showerhead or handle – it’s about $100 from AromaSenseUSA.com. The Delta Temp20 6-Spray LED Digital Temperature Display Showerhead ($89) regulates the temperature.
If you’re renovating, and you have the space, you can really create a sauna or steam room experience with shower packages that include jet streams and sprays. You have to be careful in the construction phase, however, to make sure the bathroom is waterproofed in order to counteract the increased moisture you’ll be accumulating. That means upping the efficiency of the fan and the materials used so you’re not dealing with mould down the road.
Small bathrooms often mean combining tub and shower. This isn’t a bad idea in terms of a spa experience, however, because you can splurge on pulsing showerhead and you can have a deep soaker tub. The Japanese soaker tub is so deep you can submerge to your neck, but check dimensions before purchasing to make sure it will fit up your stairs.
For something that will work over your muscles, consider a Jacuzzi or whirlpool, but remember that the more elaborate the equipment, the more that can go wrong. You can purchase individual bubble and jet makers that fit on the side of the tub and plug in to an outlet. They can be effective and cost anywhere from $150 to $600.
For heat retention, nothing compares to the old cast iron claw foot tubs, but they are heavy and may require reinforcing the bathroom floor. There are tubs with heating built in including one that circulates water through an inline heater (somewhat like a Jacuzzi) and another with heated panels integrated into the bathtub structure.
As necessary as it is, the commode can be a bit of a wet blanket on the spa experience, so if you are renovating and can swing it, consider a separate water closet.
HEATED TOWEL RACK
There is nothing like warm towels after a shower or soak. There are a few kinds of heated towel racks; the permanently installed are durable but pricey, but I’ve seen some freestanding ones for about $100 that simply plug in. Bathroom vanities can be custom ordered with towel warming drawers in the bottom and you can infuse them with lavender or any essential oil. (These vanities can also be ordered with a refrigerated drawer for cosmetics.)
Dimmers will give you the subdued lighting you want for soaking in that tub. Candles will enhance the effect, although a safer bet would be to invest in some battery powered oil diffusers, which give off the same great scents but without the danger of catching fire. On either side of the mirror, sconces are most flattering; pot lights overhead will give good overall task lighting and, if they’re on dimmer controls, easy to turn down.
A necessity for every bathroom, but don’t settle for builder-grade options from the hardware store. Check out vintage shops and second-hand stores to find unusual mirrors, or even unique frames and have them fitted with a mirror. It also depends on your decor; slim frameless mirrors complement modern design, for example.
REDUCE CLUTTER, ADD STORAGE
The whole point of a spa is to relax and unwind, so you really need a setting that has no clutter. In a really small bathroom, exchange the pedestal sink for a vanity. Shelves installed under the mirror are fine, but line them with pretty jars for those everyday items.
Aromatherapy isn’t just a pretty smell, it’s considered a benefit for boosting well being and mood. For example, peppermint-scented soap will help wake up your brain in the morning, while lavender, neroli, chamomile, bergamot, and jasmine are good sleep aids.
You’ll want to designate a basket with favourite spa essentials, such as Moor mud, which has antioxidants for softening the skin and opening the pores. Consider a jar of dried eucalyptus leaves, lavender, thyme, or scented potpourri for scattering inside the shower — they leave nice lingering aromas. Add soothing ocean sounds to your playlist and a bowl of fruit and a jug of water with lemon wedges and rosemary sprigs to sip on.
Bath trays, as pretty as they are, can be difficult to store when you’re not in the tub. I prefer to have my stuff close to the tub in an étagère on wheels to hold my big sponge, candle or diffuser, a towel to dry my hands (so I can turn the pages of my book), as well as a great place for my glass of wine to perch. (Most tub trays now come with a wine glass holder.)