Our environments affect our experience of life. Although each space in the home is important, from the foyer to the kitchen, many of our most personal practices happen in the bathroom. It’s where we wash and assemble ourselves to present to the outside world, and it’s where we should feel the most relaxed, and most comfortable in our skin. Here, Dering Hall designers, architects, and builders offer their best tips for creating a peaceful, intimate bathroom that helps us recover from the stressors of modern life.
Put Function First
The importance of function comes as no surprise to experienced designers. However, as architect Mark. P. Finlay suggests, well-planned, efficient designs are also key to creating a relaxing bathroom. “An easily maintained bathroom is truly a lifesaver,” says Finlay. Morning routines become infinitely easier with segregated spaces for the various rituals of getting ready. At night, if you love to soak in the tub, a large bathtub should serve as the centerpiece of the space, according to Finlay, and if you prefer long, hot showers, the shower should include many shower heads that can vary the water output. “There’s nothing more luxurious than a space tailored to your preferences,” Finlay says.
Make the Most of Materials
In a bathroom, large, uninterrupted walls of stone, plaster, or concrete can offer a sense of permanence. “We are noticing cleaner, more modern finishes with larger slabs on walls and shower walls as opposed to subway tile,” says Kyle Stokkers from Stokkers & Company, a building company based in Huntington, New York.
Slabs are often characteristic of minimalism, too, which tends toward uncluttered spaces, with each object of the design carefully selected for beauty and function. “Stick to a limited palette of materials and make them luxurious,” recommends architect Blaze Makoid.
Find Inspiration in the Environment
Context is rarely overlooked in the best designs, and bathrooms are no exception. Whenever a space achieves cohesion between its design and surrounding environment, it becomes a little more relaxing.
BAMO, a firm based in San Francisco, designs luxurious hotels in far-flung locales, from Milan to Dubai to Bora Bora, and their clients often come to them after staying in one of their hotels. This bath is one aspect of a resort they designed in Cabo that “invites guests to effortlessly experience the relationship between indoor and outdoor living,” says Janet Mercier, the BAMO project designer for the resort.
Decide on a Hardware Style
Hardware offers an opportunity to enhance the experiences of the design, offering contrast against softer stones or other materials. Of the design to the left, Douglas Wright of Douglas C. Wright Architects in New York City says, “I wanted to create a warm, enveloping, soothing space in a rich surrounding. The golds and deep browns/blacks of the metal and stone reinforce each other, while the gentle, flowing lines of the stone contrast with the hard lines of the metal.”
Keep it Curved
Curved architectural details communicate relaxation. In a room, a curved wall can provide unexpected softness, bringing a new layer of tranquility to the ambience. For the space pictured above, one of the most unique details is “the curved wall behind the freestanding tub that features a chevron pattern stone tile inlay,” says Roger Owen of BGD&C Custom Homes, a home builder in Chicago.
A curved space for the tub can also enhance privacy and connection, as Finlay suggests. In the bath he designed (pictured earlier), he was partially inspired to create curved walls around the tub to enhance the intimacy of the space. “Another motivation for the curved walls was so that the tub wasn’t floating in the middle of the room by itself and was instead being ‘hugged’ by the curved walls,” he says.
How can I make my bathroom more relaxing?
Incorporate natural decor. Incorporating plants is one of the easiest tricks for making your bathroom feel like a spa. ... Declutter your bathroom. ... Stock plush bath towels. ... Install a new showerhead. ... Use color to create calm. ... Upgrade your toiletries. ... Incorporate plenty of bathroom storage. ... Soften floors with rugs.
What Every master bathroom should have?
Dual-sinks, open shower, and deep soaking tub: all the must-have features for every modern master bathroom by MOMA Design.