Staying calm in the modern world is nigh-on impossible. Every day, we face a constant barrage of pressure and stress from all angles. The traditional time people used to take to relax from this stress has been consumed by technology, with people burying their heads in their phones instead of taking the time to slow down and think things through.
It’s something that’s been bugging me for a while, and until recently I’ve been getting very worked up by the relentlessly fast pace of life. That was until I realised that I do have somewhere to slow down, stop, reflect and relax. My very own Fortress of Solitude: the bathroom.
The bathroom is easily the most relaxing room in any home. There’s no-one to bother you. It’s quiet. You can relax in the bath, or read a book. It’s a sanctuary, a shelter from the pressures of modern living. Five minutes of peace in a lifetime of hustle and bustle.
The relaxing quality of the bathroom is something interior designers have picked up on recently, with the most evident example being the ‘spathroom’. A portmanteau of spa and bathroom, a spathroom is…well, a bathroom that looks like a spa.
While the concept is simple, the benefits are numerous; the neutral tones look incredible, the calm environment leads to a calm mind and, best of all, designing your own spathroom doesn’t cost much at all.
In fact, most bathrooms are primed and ready to be converted into a luxury relaxation utopia. Here are just a few of the ways you can transform your existing bathroom in a spathroom.
Someone incredibly wise once said that a tidy house was the sign of a tidy mind. While I’d dispute that (some of the calmest people I’ve met are also the laziest), tidiness is an attribute you should seek out when designing your spathroom.
Decluttering isn’t so much about chucking old stuff away as it is about repositioning it. Toiletries, for example, can be an eyesore if they’re left on a windowsill but you can’t really do without them. Put them in a cabinet and your bathroom will immediately look better.
Think minimalist and only include the items you need in your bathroom. If objects are essential, then think about how you can reposition them to make your bathroom look a bit ‘cleaner’.
Once you’ve decluttered, you can begin to reintroduce accessories like candles – as long as they serve the purpose of creating a relaxed environment, and you don’t go overboard. Careful placement is key!
Choose your materials wisely
I’ll be honest; the materials I used in my bathroom barely crossed my mind until about a year ago. It’s all porcelain and tiling and whatever coarse material my bathroom mat was made out of, isn’t it?
More fool me, though, because the materials you use in your bathroom can have a massive effect on the overall ‘vibe’ of the room. This extends from the material your bath mats are made from, to whatever your sink is made from.
For a relaxing bathroom, the obvious choice for robes and mats is a soft cotton or fleecy material. Soft on the feet, soft on the skin – perfect.
Fixtures like your sink are slightly more difficult and pricey to change, but should at least be considered. The spathroom material of choice is stone, and the type of fixture preferred is freestanding – a freestanding stone bathtub is more or less the ultimate spathroom accessory.
Colour your mood
The standard tone most people associate with spas is white, but you don’t have to rely on entirely neutral tones to design your own spa.
In fact, I’d encourage you not to – neutral bathrooms have been done to death. Relying too heavily on neutral tones can also make a room look sparse and cold, which aren’t characteristics people tend to associate with relaxation.
Instead, combine neutral tones with the occasional flash of relaxing colour; think light blues or, if you’re feeling a bit brave, yellows. Deep browns are a good compliment too, recreating the warm ‘log cabin’ vibe a lot of spas go for.
Use lighting to relax, not just illuminate
Harsh lighting tends to be the norm in most bathrooms because most people use their bathroom to get ready in the morning. The harsh light allows you to carefully apply make-up and style your hair, and so is a bit of a necessity.
You can compromise on this, however. You could install a dimmer switch to instantly transition from soft to harsh lighting, or install softer lighting away from the main lighting fixture. Some bathroom mirrors also come with a mood lighting feature, which is probably the most cost-effective way of adding mood lighting (check out these mirrors from Illuminated Mirrors, as an example).
Music and other relaxing sounds
Panpipes and whale sounds are two of the biggest spa-cliches, but sound can help to create a sensory relaxation experience (that’s winding down to me and you).
Getting a sound system into the bathroom can be difficult, with most models lacking the water-proof features required for safe playback. There are a number of options on the market, though, with this splashproof iPod dock being one example.
Relaxing in the modern world is difficult, but it’ll be infinitely easier if you decide to build your own spathroom. I hope you found the tips in the post useful; let me know how you get on.
Christopher Smith is a writer who finds solace in his bathroom. When he’s not seeking enlightenment in the bath, he contributes other interior design ideas to Illuminated Mirrors.
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