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While December is a flurry of holiday feasting and merrymaking, January is all about relaxation and rejuvenation. With the new year comes the desire to wind down—ideally, while getting pampered in one of the many luxurious spas throughout the city. A thoughtfully chosen facial or body scrub followed by a soak in a vitality pool or under a rain shower can work wonders. But what about the rest of the year? This is where the merit of transforming your bathroom at home into a spa-like refuge via careful design considerations makes great sense.

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The bathroom has commonly been regarded as a place of escape—a space to retreat to after a long day of work or looking after the family. Now, interior design trends seem to be expanding upon this idea by turning towards well-being. The bathroom is no longer simply about relaxing, but about getting in touch with both yourself and your environment.

A window framing greenery helps create a calming atmosphere
Wood and stone, along with matte finishes, are back on the radar
In contrast to straight lines and hard edges, rounded shapes soften your space
A peaceful, and practical bathroom at Villa Roxo in Phuket
Singapore-based Marquis HQO shows that playing around with colours and  textures makes for a warm, relaxing sanctuary
The open-air rain shower with a river stone as a base promises to heal in Hartland Estate in Bali
Rugged walls are juxtaposed against wood floors and sleek partitions in this Dunbar home

Reflecting and focusing on emotional well-being in the bathroom can be encouraged by cultivating a natural, organic aesthetic. Bring nature indoors in the form of plants and flowers, or use nature-inspired prints and tiles. You can even invest in bathroom products that evoke shapes commonly found in nature, such as Kohler’s Beitou faucet and Hansgrohe’s Axor Starck Organic faucet. The Beitou calls to mind streams and rivers with its open shape, while the Axor Starck Organic’s appearance resembles the stalk of a plant or a bamboo shoot.

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“A great way to bring something natural into the space is to use plants, flowers or handmade objects,” says renowned furniture and interiors designer Laura Kirar. “These act as a natural counterbalance to what we normally find in the bathroom: hard, cold materials and surfaces, and geometric angles.”

Aside from creating a soothing, healing atmosphere, an organic design encourages a sense of connection to nature—which goes hand in hand with the desire to feel more in touch with oneself. A feeling of connectedness can also be achieved through the use of texture. Glossy finishes used to be the standard but there is a growing desire to use materials that are warm, tactile and welcoming.

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Indeed, considering all the five senses is essential when it comes to designing the bathroom, where scent and sound contribute to the experience as much as beautiful visuals and comfortable products. “I make a practice of addressing the senses in my designs, particularly in bathroom design,” says Kirar. “The elements should be soothing and meditative. The colour and patterns of surfaces is important, but also whether a room feels warm or cold, whether it absorbs sound or resonates it, and whether it’s well ventilated with windows or orchestrated with scented products. All of this is important to creating an experience.” With this in consideration, pale pastels and bleached neturals are the ideal colour choice.

For those not looking for a full overhaul, simply employ clever techniques and add spa-like accents to the space. For instance, pick nature-inspired accessories—a botanical print or a soap dish crafted out of stone—to humanise the space. “I think a spa-like atmosphere can be created with a little imagination and good products,” says Kirar. “Great towels, soaps, incense, music, flowers and, of course, beautiful bath fixtures and tiles make it complete.” With a little creativity, your bathroom might become just as special as your favourite spa.

Tags: home, spa, interiors