Friday, October 28, 2011

Pamper yourself this autumn with a spa-like bathroom space

Our lives are increasingly busy and stress is on the up. Creating a bathroom that can be a space to relax and pamper yourself, rather than just a practical place for cleaning and grooming, has never been so popular. And as the evenings close in and the mornings become darker and chillier, imagine a cosy home spa filled with the warm tones of wooden bathroom furniture, luxuries such as a steam shower and freestanding bath, and soothing decor.

When you take a trip to a hotel or leisure club spa, you can enjoy the facilities there to the full because you never have to use them when you’re in a rush for an early morning meeting, when the dog’s rolled in something stinky and sticky again, or when the kids are fighting over who goes first at the bathroom basin. In a spa, you’re away from the stresses of home and are free to indulge.

So how do you go about creating such a space in your own home: how do you design a truly relaxing haven for pampering, while balancing your family’s need for practicality?

First, think about your needs. Draw up two separate lists: one for your practical bathroom; one for your haven. This way, you’ll spend time thinking about your priorities, the way your current bathroom’s used, what could make it easier in the morning, what could make it more soothing and relaxing in the evening. Think about your two ideal bathing spaces now – but remember you’ll need to be prepared to compromise later on.

Next, measure your bathroom and assess its suitability for your preferred fittings. Map out the location of your current plumbing, your doorway and window opening, and measure your walls and alcoves. Use a scale drawing with cut-out bathroom fittings that you can slide around the paper as you try out different ideas, or investigate websites such as the virtual bathroom designer at

This is the point where you’ll have to think about where your priorities lie; you’ll also find it helpful to look out for items that have a dual purpose or a space-saving aesthetic. Bathroom furniture, with its spacious cupboards and drawers, is likely to be a good option for your spa-bathroom: it looks good, it hides away all the practical items that need to be there but that will distract you as you try to relax, and it can be really compact so that you gain more space for the features you love, such as a whirlpool bath or steam shower cabin.

Finally, when your layout is all finalised, think about your decor. Warm neutrals and natural materials such as natural stone tiles, soft paint shades and wooden bathroom cabinets are timeless and soothing, and can be combined with accent colours and accessories to bring you a bathroom that’s of the season, this season – and easy to adapt for the next season, and the next, and the next....

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