CREATING AN AT-HOME SPA FOR THE SENSES
WRITTEN BY KATHRYN O’SHEA-EVANS
Do you tend to find yourself desperate for some much-deserved R&R after a long, hectic workweek? Or do you simply want to treat yourself and indulge without having to drive to your nearest day spa (or pay day-spa prices)? Plenty of calm is possible in your own home bath—especially with a few serene DIY design choices and “spa treatments” you can pick up at your nearest grocery store.
“Aim to keep things simple and serene to encourage relaxation,” says Leah Tuttleman, allied member of ASID and corporate designer for Re-Bath. “To create a sanctuary where one can begin and end the day with a spa-like retreat, peace, and mindfulness, choose a subdued, neutral soft-toned palette.” Painting your bathroom’s walls in, say, a powdery sky blue, is often a one-day project can yield years of tranquility.
Fluffy bleach-white robes and slippers don’t cost a fortune, but they can make you feel like you’re ensconced at Canyon Ranch. “Even something as simple as investing in luxurious plush white towels and a plush white floor mat will transform your bathroom into a home-spa bathroom,” says Tuttleman. “Towel-warming racks are another way to wrap yourself in your cozy towels.”
Reducing visual clutter by limiting yourself to one shampoo and one conditioner bottle, plus one type of soap, will keep your shower looking chic. Tuttleman’s other presto chango upgrades for a spa-like feel? Install a slip-resistant shower floor resembling ocean pebbles, replace any existing shutters over your window with sheer curtains that soften light, and install a few living plants to add a lush rainforest feel. You can also quickly, easily screw on a rainfall showerhead, whether your shower is on the ceiling or wall. The result? “An immersive sensory experience,” she says.
Soft lighting can create a spa-like atmosphere, says Tuttleman. And while sconces placed on either side of your above-sink mirror are ideal for a flattering view of yourself, what’s more important is the quality of the light bulbs themselves. Opt for bulbs with a warm glow (typically 2,700 to 3,000 Kelvins) that’s the opposite of those cold, unflattering overhead lights at the office. And be sure to put it on a dimmable switch for instant ambience. “Even natural LED task lighting can be dimmable,” says Tuttleman.
Willing to invest in a more substantial life-changing update? Tuttleman advises putting in as much natural light as possible. “If you don’t have a large window to allow for natural light, no problem—add a large skylight to the bathroom.” Solar-tube skylights can be added quickly and relatively affordably, with prices (including installation) often hovering between $500 and $1,000 USD.
A quick meander through your grocery store’s bath-product aisle is typically all it takes to pick up some major “me moments.” Look for sheet masks that will leave your skin practically dewy, scented Epsom salts worthy of a soak, calming essential oils—like lavender—to drop into your bath water for a restorative steep . . . the list goes on. While you can seek out on-trend home treatments, what’s most important is opting for whatever makes you feel most pampered . . . even if that’s soaking in whole milk and honey (hey, it worked for Cleopatra).
leaf it to
For centuries, the leaves of this Australian native tree have been a go-to for relaxation and healing alike. Here, three ways to use it in your home spa.
Hang bunches of cut eucalyptus from your shower, where steam will release its herbaceous scent into the air—simultaneously boosting your mood and helping cleanse your airways.
Create a spa spray by adding twenty drops of eucalyptus oil to a misting spray bottle already filled with water. Shake, then spritz into your bathroom every time you need a boost of peacefulness.
Add three or four eucalyptus oil drops directly onto your washcloth or into your tub before taking a bath. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help you both destress and soothe aching muscles at the same time. Say it with us: “Aaaaah.”