Many bathroom design trends are beginning to converge: bigger bathrooms, luxury master suites, an emphasis on simplicity and creature comfort. Taken together, they show a clear trend towards master bathrooms strongly influenced by spas and high end hotels. But even with the simple, open floor plan and emphasis on luxurious natural materials in mind, there are more than a few options when it comes to choosing the major fixtures for a spa style bathroom.
Say No To Whirlpools?
One area where spa style bathrooms in a home should differ from luxury hotel bathrooms is in terms of the bathtub. While big, jetted tubs are a popular luxury feature for someone on a weekend getaway, the reality is that people who can afford to have them installed in their homes often don’t have time to use them. But even though whirlpools are going out of vogue, remodeling a master bathroom without a bathtub can really hurt your resale value. Instead, opt for a smaller, decorative soaking tub and expand a separate shower as much as possible.
Frameless Glass Showers
As in a luxury hotel, shower curtains have no space in a spa style bathroom. Shower curtains are a perfectly acceptable (and, in some cases, preferred) option for a smaller bathroom, but large, spa-style master suites are all about open spaces, clean lines, and natural materials. One of the best ways to get this look is with a frameless shower enclosure. Huge, seamless panels of glass connected only by small hinges and brackets make a shower seem huge and open, preventing water from splashing but leaving a full, unbroken view of the bathroom – and of the bathroom’s view.
Taking this desire for open spaces to the extreme are showers that are made with no enclosures at all. This type of shower needs to be part of a total spa style bathroom remodel, as you’ll need to position the shower head and drain and choose your tile to avoid doing damage to your bathroom. But, done properly, the effect is quite spectacular – water is allowed to fall totally barrier free, and drains down into the center of the room. This creates a true, steamy, spa-like atmosphere, but works best if you do the worrying about what will get wet during the early planning stages.
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum are steam showers, which need to be fully enclosed and sealed to work properly. These are an excellent choice if you’re stuck with a recessed installation, as it’s much simpler to seal a single wall than it is to close off two or three. Steam showers are powered by steam generators that fill the closed space with steam, and are often equipped with seats so you can sit back, relax, and let the steam clear out your sinuses before you turn on the main shower. Steam showers are common feature in luxury hotels, but also come with a whole host of health benefits, especially for those with allergies or respiratory problems.
Popular in other parts of the world for thousands of years, saunas are only just starting to show up in spa style bathrooms in the US. Saunas can be small enough to fit in a master bathroom or large enough to act as their own room in your home, and are typically made of wood that stands up well against heat and moisture. Powered with electric (or more modern infrared) heaters, saunas produce a high, usually dry heat that can help promote circulation and muscle relaxation. These work especially well with a very natural spa style bathroom.
Built In Heating
Finally, whatever type of shower or bath you choose, it’s definitely worth considering installing radiant heat into your floors. Heated floors are perhaps the most popular hotel feature popping up in spa style bathrooms, as they can take the chill out of an early morning shower without cranking up the heat in the rest of the house. Other features, like towel warmers and even towel warming drawers custom built into a bathroom vanity are quite popular as well, and heated towels especially can help round out the spa experience without ever leaving your home.
Have you ever been to a luxury hotel or high end spa? If so, what features did you wish you could take home with you?