Not so very long ago, immersive, luxurious, total bathing experiences were the sole realm of spas and swanky hotels. But with the price coming down on luxury bathing equipment across the board, home spas are becoming increasingly prevalent. From custom showers to deep soaking tubs and even home steam baths, it’s entirely possible to get all of the equipment to need to enjoy every day what you’d otherwise have to pay out the ears to experience for just a few hours. But showers, bathtubs, and steam baths do not a spa experience make: you also need spa style bathroom vanities to not only complete the ambiance, but to enjoy the truly cushy aspects of a spa.
First and foremost, if there’s one thing you always have on hand in a spa, it’s towels. Big, cushy, squishy, white towels all rolled up and stacked and stuffed in and on every available surface. And if you’ve ever been to a really nice hotel, you know those towels are totally theft-worthy; it’s not just about getting dry – good towels make drying as important a part of the experience as getting wet. As such, many spa style bathroom vanities have an open shelf design. More specifically, many of them, like this Exhibit Vanity from Pegasus, have several smaller boxed-off shelves that are perfect for stuffing plushy spare towels so you’re sure to always have plenty on hand.
If your spa is part of a master suite and you want his and hers bathroom vanities instead of a double vanity, opt for ones like these Double Wall Mounted Spa Vanities from Bellaterra that have lots of towel storage. It will not only give your bathroom an elegant, symmetrical, spa-like look and feel, but it’ll ensure that everyone always has all the towels they need… though I can’t promise you won’t end up fighting over your towel warmer!
In addition to leaving lots of room for towels, having an open shelf bathroom vanity is important to a home spa because it makes the space feel open and airy. While large, cabinet style bathroom vanities have a certain indelible heft to them that works well in a grand, decadent bathroom, spa style bathroom vanities are beautiful in their simplicity. Home spas really thrive on being light, airy, and inviting, and adding a lot of white space in place of cabinets can go a long way towards creating a zen sort of atmosphere. This Light Maple Spa Vanity, for example, leaves the bulk of the vanity open for towels, scented soaps, or just a lot of natural light – a great way to make yourself feel pampered and provided for (even if you are the one stocking the bubble bath!)
Spas are WET places, and a well designed home spa will be, too. More to the point, home spas have to be very well waterproofed to stand up to all the steam and splashing a huge volume of very hot water can throw at it: tile walls, well drained tile floors… and a very well waterproofed bathroom vanity. Where a typical solid wood bathroom vanity might not stand up well in a very humid environment, this Abba Vanity from the Wyndham Collection undergoes an 8 step painting and finishing process to ensure that the wood is superbly sealed and able to stand up to heat, moisture, and constantly fluctuating conditions. Plus, it’s got space for four spare towels!
Many of the features that define spa style bathroom vanities are part style and part practicality. For example, you see a lot of slat-bottomed bathroom vanities, like this Loft Vanity from Avanity, in spas and home spas alike. For one, it’s part of the vibe – the wood slat construction is reminiscent of traditional wood saunas. There’s something about the simple plank style that simply suits a lot of steam. But that’s also because it helps everything drain more easily downward and lets the wood breathe, helping to avoid some of the common problems caused by wood expanding and contracting or warping when heated and cooled.
Light, unfinished looking wood (typically light maple or oak) is also very common in home spas, again in large part because of the influence of Nordic style saunas. Aspen, spruce, and cedar are all commonly used to build saunas, and are frequently a choice for spa style bathroom vanities, but not without reason. All three types of wood are naturally highly heat, water, and warp resistant, which means that once again they’re very well suited to the steamy task. This Bamboo Vanity from Legion Furniture is perhaps best suited for a smaller home spa, but the rugged bamboo wood is light, airy, and built to handle the harshest bathroom conditions.
That said, light colored spa style bathroom vanities are also nice because they help emphasize that light, airy feeling you want to have in a home spa. Like white bathroom vanities, one made of a light wood like this Light Maple Vanity can help enhance and reflect your bathroom’s natural light, brightening and expanding your space and giving it a natural look and feel. Especially if you’re emphasizing the natural, zen aspect of a spa, even if it’s finished, a light wood has a “raw” feeling, and pairs well with natural fibers and leaf-greens. Together, that makes for an utterly relaxing palette that can help you get in tune with nature, or at leas help you clear your head.
So if you’re in the market for spa style bathroom vanities, keep in mind: you want a bathroom vanity that looks light and airy, but is built ruggedly enough to withstand the rigors of a daily steam bath. What are your must haves for your home spa? Any particular look you’re aiming to emulate in your own bathroom? Let me know in the comments!