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The origin of the word “spa” is said to come from the town of Spa located in Belgium which has been known since the times of Julius Caesar for its deep soaking baths and relaxing atmosphere. In fact, the modern spa can be considered a direct descendant of the act of bathing in hot springs by as far back as the Babylonians.
Visiting a spa is very much a sensory experience, the feeling of tranquility and relaxation that one gets when entering a spa is directly related to the synergy of the atmosphere. Flooring, wall décor, furniture and fixtures made of natural materials are most prominent in high end spas. Wood and natural stone including granite, marble and soapstone are perhaps the most used materials in spa design. These materials along with proper lighting and layout all contribute to the Zen like atmosphere of your favorite spa. So, what is to stop you from recreating this in your own home?
In creating a bathroom spa the sky truly is the limit, however most homeowners should be able to create a relaxing spa like retreat without breaking the bank. There are many important design elements to consider when planning for your bathroom spa renovation.
Choose a Warm Color Scheme
This is by far going to have the greatest impact on the overall look and feel of your spa. A color palette of calming, warm neutral colors create the most ideal atmosphere. Shades of chocolate, tan and mocha will enhance the furniture and fixtures in your bathroom while providing depth to the space. Anyone who regularly visits a spa will immediately notice the extensive use of this color palette.
Keep an Open Concept and Let Nature In
Ensure that your bathroom is an open, airy space. The use of large windows and frosted glass will allow you to bring in a lot of natural light, which can only have a positive effect on the space. If you are building a new home or plan on completely demolishing your old bathroom this will obviously be easier to do. Another change you can make to bring nature in is to use a frosted glass door in order to let the light from the connecting room or hallway to enter the bathroom.
Use Natural Materials
As previously mentioned, wood and stone are the most prominent materials used in modern spa construction. Vanity’s made of wood should feature deep and rich tones, while the countertop should be a welcoming contrast of lighter tan or very pale green. If your budget allows, a countertop made of granite, marble or Corian is most effective in adding to the natural look of the space.
One of the most recent trends in luxury bathroom design is the use of vessel sinks. The vanity is the focal point of a bathroom so it only makes sense to put forth the extra effort into making it really stand out. Vessel sinks are reminiscent of the old countertop wash basins used in the 18th and 19th century. These sinks are available in many different types of natural materials including marble, granite, travertine, copper and wood. BathroomVesselSinks.com has a particularly nice collection of vessel sinks made out of natural materials that would fit nearly any spa bathroom design.
If your bathroom is large enough, consider adding a small bench seat with a dark leather cushion, or if leather is not in the budget, a modern dark wicker seat with appropriately colored pillows. The seating area should be large enough for you and your significant other and will act not only as a decorative element but a functional one as well.
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Create a Welcoming Floor
The floor of your spa bathroom will occupy a significant portion of your field of view, so be sure to spend the extra time picking flooring that works with the rest of your motif. The two most popular materials to be used in spa bathroom floor construction are ceramic tile and laminate wood flooring. Ceramic tile is available in a wide variety of sizes, textures and colors, just be sure to stick to a neutral color that accents your wall color. If you have dark walls, choose a lighter colored floor or vice versa. Laminate wood flooring, although less exotic looking that its natural hardwood counterpart is better for a bathroom because natural hardwood tends to expand and contract more with temperature and humidity. It addition, it will as absorb more water than comparable manufactured flooring such as laminate. If your budget allows for it, you may also consider natural stone flooring such as marble or travertine. Whatever you do, please do not use vinyl flooring, it may be more cost effective to do so but it definitely will be reflected in the end result.
Get Rid of the Clutter
Bathrooms are infamous for being makeshift closets. Clutter not only takes away from the peaceful look of your bathroom but can also induce anxiety. There is nothing worse than walking into a beautiful new bathroom and seeing hair products, ten varieties of soap and various other trinkets spread throughout. There is a wide variety of furniture, baskets, containers and bathroom organizers on the market today which will provide ample storage for bathroom and hygiene related items.
Upgrade Your Lighting
Lighting has a big effect on the atmosphere of your bathroom. Be sure to spend a little extra money on quality fixtures and avoid those globe shaped vanity light bars. I have always loved the natural look of halogen lighting, and have found that many spas also take advantage of the benefits of halogen bulbs. Halogen lights produce a wider color spectrum, much like the sun, allowing for the true color of natural materials to really glow. Whatever lighting you choose, be sure to install a dimmer switch so you can adjust the lighting level to reflect your mood. The use of candles is also common in many spas and should be no different in your bathroom, just make sure they are used safely and are out of the way of anything flammable.
Consider Upgrading Your Tub or Shower
If your budget allows for it, consider a luxury jetted tub or high end shower. Tubs are available in many different configurations, whether you want something freestanding and modern, or a tub that is flush mounted into an enclosure there is certainly something out there for you. If you are designing a more rustic bathroom consider a claw foot tub, it will surely become an important centerpiece of the room. In the rare case that there really is no limit on your budget, you should consider a natural stone, copper or wood tub. If you go with natural tub be sure to pair it with a vessel sink from a company like BathroomVesselSinks.com.
If you are more a shower type of person, never fear, there are plenty of choices available for you as well. Some of the most recent advances in shower fixtures include integrated massage jets, rain shower heads and even steam nozzles. If you have the space, consider a two person shower with dual heads and control valves, it will become an intimate place where you can thoroughly enjoy your new spa bathroom. If you do end up installing a new shower stall, be sure to continue the use of natural materials by using stone wall tiles within. To keep the open feeling of the room, consider using a clear glass shower enclosure with a swinging glass shower door.
Add Quality Accents
To finish the overall look of the space, bring in quality decorative accents. Luxury towels and linens can add an extra feeling of welcoming, so be sure to display them proudly. Candles, rocks, bamboo and clear glass vases can also lend themselves to giving your bathroom a serene and peaceful feeling. It really is the little things that can make or break a quality spa oriented bathroom design.
It might be in your best interest to visit your favorite spa and take note of what you like and dislike about it, and try to integrate your favorite elements into your own bathroom. If you take your time, do a little research and consider the suggestions and guidelines above you can create a relaxing stress relieving environment in your own home that will provide you with enjoyment for years to come.