5 bathroom design tips to borrow from luxury spas

How to curate a space with mindful designs that prioritize health and harmony

Bathroom design tips to borrow from luxury spas. Three luxury bathrooms.
(Image credit: Roper Rhodes / West One Bathrooms / Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

If there is one design principle that we should all agree on, it is that bathrooms should always be much more than just perfunctory. Bathrooms are spaces that should create a wonderfully indulgent and relaxing feel, and incorporating spa-like features into your design is the perfect way to evoke a heightened sense of luxury and relaxation.

So, if you are designing a bathroom, whether from scratch or as part of a remodel, taking inspiration from spa bathroom ideas will help you to create a truly luxurious, spa-like escape in the comfort of your own home. 

Here, we have spoken with a collection of interior design experts who have shared their top tips for creating a bathroom with a beautiful spa-style appeal. Influenced by the comfort and tranquilly of high-end spas, these design ideas and features your bathroom needs to feel luxurious can make your daily bathroom routines feel like a rejuvenating ritual to look forward to.

Bathroom design tips to borrow from luxury spas 

Regardless of the size of your interior design budget or whether you need design inspiration for a small bathroom, below, we explore how you can give your bathroom space a luxurious spa-like feel.

1. Install spa-inspired amenities

White wet room, bath glass window

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway)

'Prioritizing wellness is a fundamental consideration aimed at creating spaces that go beyond mere functionality to promote relaxation and the highest quality of life,' says Michelle Lauren, architectural designer at Change Your Bathroom. 

'Incorporating features such as steam showers, hydrotherapy bathtubs, saunas and heated flooring not only enhances the physical well-being but also contributes to a lavish and spa-like experience.' 

A steam shower

A steam room is a spa staple, but this can be a costly and intrusive addition to a bathroom. However, you can still get the benefits of a relaxing steam by installing a built-in steam generator in your shower. 

For this addition to work, you will need to create an enclosed shower area with glass panels for your bathroom shower ideas, and add a control panel inside or near the shower enclosure to adjust the generators temperature settings, steam output and set timers. 

You can also add a shower seat to enhance the relaxing experience of your steam shower.

A sauna

Surprisingly, installing a home sauna is an increasingly feasible addition for many homeowners. With proper planning, and if space allows, incorporating a sauna for the ultimate touch of luxury can truly transform your bathroom.

'We are seeing an increasing demand for saunas – even in NYC apartments,' says Alanna Murray, an interior designer with Murray Craft. 'For our clients, it is more about wellness and relaxation, creating a space that feels like a retreat as well as being functional.'

A jetted bathtub

Love the idea of spa features at home? Well another great way to introduce these into your bathroom is by installing a jetted bathtub; a design feature that can have the same hydrotherapeutic benefits as a hot tub.

These are equipped with built-in jets that use pressurized streams of water to create a soothing and massaging bathing experience; perfect for unwinding after a long day or soothing muscles and joints.

Heated floors

Don't underestimate the transformative impact that heated floors can have on the level of comfort your bathroom has. 

Perfect for making your bathroom cozy, heated floors can also be used on wet room or shower floors to ensure excess moisture evaporates more quickly, helping your shower appear fresh and clean for the next user. 

Michelle Lauren
Michelle Lauren

Michelle Lauren of Change Your Bathroom (r) is an award-winning architectural designer. Her designs incorporate the strength of ancient architecture, the beauty of contemporary concepts and the mindfulness of sustainability to create artistic designs with balance and functionality. Michelle's designs are ergonomic, prioritizing health and wellness in the finished space.

2. Choose natural materials

modern bathroom with floating wood vanity and plaster walls by A Naber Design

(Image credit: A. Naber Design)

One of the key elements of luxury spa designs is the use of natural materials to create a calming and organic atmosphere. 

'The Japandi style is very popular in bathrooms right now, and that is definitely influenced by luxury spas,' says Alanna Murray. 'Put simply, Japandi is a combination of Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics.' 

Balance elegant and durable materials – like granite, marble, or travertine for countertops, floors, and shower walls – with the warmth of wood elements – such as wood paneling, bamboo and teak for towel racks, vanities, and accent walls – that are properly waterproofed to ensure their longevity.

3. Implement sensory elements

Bathroom

(Image credit: Roper Rhodes)

When I think of what defines a good spa, after the aesthetics and amenities, my mind instantly jumps to the calming sensory elements that enhance the tranquil and relaxing atmosphere, including aromatherapeutic scents, relaxing sounds, and comfortable textures.

Aromatherapy 

One thing people with nice smelling bathrooms always do for a spa-like space is use aromatherapy to continuously infuse their space with inviting, subtle scent.

'Aromatherapy is a common practice in luxury spas, and you can easily recreate this at home with candles, diffusers, or homemade room sprays,' says Jacky Chou, principal and director at Archute.

'Utilize essential oils known for their calming and refreshing properties, like lavender, chamomile, or eucalyptus oils.'

Essential Oils Set | Was $20.00, now $9.95 from Amazon

Essential Oils Set | Was $20.00, now $9.95 from Amazon

This aromatherapy set is perfect for diffusers and candle making, This set of six includes peppermint, tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and orange.

Soothing sounds

Consider incorporating elements like built-in waterproof speakers to play nature sounds or relaxing music, or a water feature to add some harmony to your space. 

You can link speakers to your integrated home control smart devices, such as Alexa or Google Home, for easy control when using your bathroom.

Additionally, soundproofing is another essential component for enhancing relaxation in your bathroom, allowing you to block out the hustle and bustle from both outside and elsewhere in your home. 

Luxurious fabrics

Comfort is key in any space, and in a bathroom high-quality materials and soft fabrics can introduce touches of indulgence that are the cornerstone of any spa.

'Treat yourself to some soft towels, robes, mats, and slippers. Egyptian cotton, bamboo, or microfiber ones are the best for drying off and feeling cozy,' recommends Jacky Chou. 

'Choose those you can match them to your bathroom colors for a stylish look.'

Additionally, Manuela Hamilford, interior designer at Hamilford Design says: 'It’s always fun putting the finishing touches to a space and in bathrooms we would use monogrammed towels and robes to add that extra element of luxury.'

Principal and Director at Archute
Jacky Chou
Principal and Director at Archute
Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is the Principal and Director at Archute, an editorial magazine about architecture, home and garden. They have been referenced by The New York Times, Bustle, House & Home, Bloomberg, and Angi. Jacky also his own an online interior design company as well called Laurel & Wolf.

4. Create a layered lighting scheme

Marble topped bathroom

(Image credit: Nicole Hirsch)

Proper bathroom lighting can make or break the ambiance of a bathroom. 

'Luxury spas always have ambient lighting to create a relaxing mood, task lighting to ensure ample light where it's most needed and accent lighting to highlight focal points in the room,' says Josie Abate, design director at Ambience Design Group.

'Lighting should be layered for a more luxurious feel. Combine recessed lighting, sconces, and task lighting for different moods and activities.'

Smart lighting controls can allow for adjustable lighting based on your needs, for example, if you want a relaxing bath with dim, warm lighting, or need full visibility at the mirror you can modify these remotely or with voice control.

Additionally, spas often incorporate strip lights to create a sleek, integrated look. Consider installing these in shower alcoves, under the vanity, or even motion-sensor strip lights in drawers. 

'Finally, incorporate natural light sources as well as studio quality, full spectrum lighting to promote visual comfort and support a healthier circadian rhythm, positively influencing overall well-being and creating a more pleasant and visually soothing environment,' advises Michelle Lauren.

5. Add unique decorative touches

White shower with seat, red lap, wooden cabinet

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Finally, the small, decorative touches can make a transformative difference in the overall appeal of your bathroom, after all, luxury design is often defined by attention to detail.

'Adding the best bathroom plants to your space will give it a true spa-like, oasis feel,' says Josie Abate. 'Ensure your bathroom plants love humidity, such as ferns, orchids, or bamboo, or opt for high quality faux plants instead for a similar effect.' Choose plants that banish condensation and improve air quality to rejuvenate your space. 

A heated towel rack can add an extra level comfort to your towels and robes after a bath or shower. Using these to dry used towels and mats will also reduce mildew and lessens your laundry loads, helping to reduce your carbon footprint.

Consider using fog free mirrors to prevent condensation forming on the mirrors surface, allowing for convenient use of your mirror at all times. You can find this anti-fog mirror at Amazon.


'By curating a space with wellness-focused features, premium materials, and mindful designs that prioritize health and harmony, you can ensure your space not only functions well but that it also becomes a sanctuary to unwind, recharge, and thrive,' concludes Michelle Lauren.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.