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8 Best Spa Bathroom Ideas and Designs

Transport yourself to a soothing, peaceful spa — right in your own home.

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High-Tech Touches

The latest innovation in spa bathrooms? Controlling everything with the touch of a button or touchscreen.

Architect Betsy Vohs wanted a retreat away from her busy days running her firm. That meant incorporating all the upgrades her bathroom could accommodate: A steam shower, salon-grade tub with light therapy and water and air jets, remote-controlled Toto washlet toilet, heated floors (including the shower and bench), an iPad in the shower to control the steam, and multiple shower heads (rain, handheld and steam).

“Everything is app–based,” she says. “There is a TV above my tub as well as Sonos in my bathroom and shower. This is the new way — it’s all about well-being. Also, people are designing for their life, interests and passions, not resale.”

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Color

Spa-like palettes usually feature sea glass green, sky blue, white or other pale, cool tones, but not Kate Shaw’s retreat. When she designed this Joshua Tree-adjacent space, she echoed the soothing tones of the desert in terracotta tile.

“It’s a very on-trend color, especially for the desert, where it pulls in a natural hue,” Shaw says. “It captures the vibe people want when they’re coming to visit.”

Bolder colors in bathrooms can still feel soothing and gentle, especially when they echo nature. She says they stacked the tiles vertically instead of horizontally because it’s a fresh, trendy take on a classic tile shape.

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Freestanding Tub

This black freestanding tub overlooking a mountain scene is about as serene a soak as one can get. If you have the square footage and plumbing setup (and the budget), a freestanding tub looks beautiful as a centerpiece.

“We’re doing a lot of freestanding tubs,” says Jen Ziemer of Fiddlehead Design Group. “We’re seeing a lot of luxuries — the tubs, high-end plumbing fixtures, heated towel warmers. It’s luxe, luxe, luxe all the way.”

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Frameless Shower Doors

Frameless shower doors are perfect for showing off oversized showers — plenty of people are pulling their tubs from their principal bathroom and blowing out a big, luxurious shower. Besides creating airiness and visual space, they’re all the better to see beautiful statement tile.

“Even the last two years, this whole sense of home really evolved even more,” says Bonnie Kespohl of Kasa Interior Design. “We live in our homes, we work in our homes and we want to put our money in our homes. It’s very different than it used to be.”

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Bathroom LightingCourtesy Erinn Faith Farrell

Lighting

Standout sconces or over-the-top lighting can make a huge impact in a small space, and these oversized globe lights with a glam gold finish do just that. Designer Erinn Faith Farrell says her clients wanted to transform a dated basement bathroom into an escape from the world. It reminded Farrell, a London expat, of swanky tea rooms back home.

“This room really took on a special jeweled vibe,” Farrell says. “We used LED lighting and great lighting behind the mirror, because after seeing our faces so much more on screens, we want them lit in a flattering way.”

Just remember: Those lights need to pull double duty as task lighting (bright and directed enough) or layer lighting for shaving, applying makeup and other detail-oriented duties.

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Small Space, Big Details

Even powder rooms can feel like a spa-like retreat. In this case, the statement wallpaper and standout door transport you from the everyday world. Kespohl says earthy, natural and organic colors and patterns can still really pop.

“This is a great example of making a small space an extra special experience,” she says. Fun wallpaper, beautiful fixtures and lighting and an arched orange door with sconce really deliver, she says.

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Bathroom Feature WallCourtesy Stephen K. Johnson

Feature Walls

To avoid too much visual clutter — remember, we want the experience to be like a spa — use restraint and let one wall or area shine, like this incredible mosaic tile wall. “We try to create visual interest by doing feature walls, rather than having the whole thing be visually too much,” says Francis Nicdao, principal and chief creative officer at Pembrooke & Ives.

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Bathroom Shower TileCourtesy Erinn Faith Farell

Tile

The tile in this shower designed by Farrell inspires a double-take — the bold color and pattern feel fresh, new and drop-dead gorgeous. Though marble is back in a big way and can be really spa-like, homeowners are taking big design risks on all kinds of tile, from ceramic to mosaic to porcelain slabs made to look like stone tile. And it’s paying off.

Printed tiles are still huge. So is mixing and matching different tile shapes in the same medium. like large rectangular tile with herringbone tile floors, or offbeat colors.

Katie Dohman
Katie Dohman is an award-winning freelance writer who has written about home, design, and lifestyle topics for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured in Artful Living, Midwest Home, Star Tribune, and Teen Vogue, among many others. She is currently living her own how-to story as she and her husband work through a complete gut remodel on their 1921 home—while parenting three tiny tots and dodging their dog and cat, who always seem to be underfoot.

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