Making a splash

The bathroom is a place to retreat, relax and recharge, a tranquil sanctuary that soothes body and mind.

“A bathroom is the home’s ultimate relaxation haven and should be carefully designed to create a wonderful escape from the busy world outside,” says Scottish interior designer and founder of Occa Home, Kate Mooney.

While the decor is clean and streamlined, it doesn’t have a cold, hard edge when you factor in the warmth of wood, a palette of earthy tones and mood lighting.

“Wood finishes in the bathroom can add warmth and lend a natural feel to the room,” says Gary Dart, UK managing director of Duravit. “White can be quite clinical, so a material like wood is a perfect counter to this and a choice that will never date.

“Darker woods are growing in popularity, some of which are richly grained like Zebrano, Macassar and Ebony. These can be used for vanity units and other storage cupboards in the bathroom, bath panelling, shelving and mirror surrounds.”

Natural stone, whether it’s used on the floor or walls will convey that spa-style appearance while his-and-hers basins or a double shower add an indulgent touch. While the overall look is uncluttered, it shouldn’t be stark and sterile.

Bringing rich textures and soft furnishings into the mix such as piles of fluffy towels and rugs to sink your toes in to are an ideal finish.

And, of course, it’s not just all about the sleek aesthetics - there are the deluxe features to think about too, from steam enclosures to chromotherapy baths. “Customers love the idea of transforming their bathroom into a home spa,” says Gavin Derighetti of Victor Paris Bathrooms. “One of the big trends currently is steam, which you can introduce into the shower enclosure, just like you get at a spa or in a five-star hotel.”

Bathing is also enhanced with whirlpool or spa baths. “Whirlpools and spas offer different massage experiences,” says Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of the British Manufacturers Association.

“Most whirlpools offer zoned massage from jets set into the walls of the bath, which can be angled to give relief where it’s most required. Spa baths feature an array of jets built into the base of the bath which deliver streams of air bubbles to give a genuine soothing ‘bubble bath’ effect. For the best of both worlds combination systems are available which include both.”

Chromotherapy, the use of colour and light for wellbeing, is also a key element in spa bathrooms.

"The market for chromotherapy is in response to the customer's demand for enjoying audio and visual experiences in the bathroom,” explains Gary Dart. “Chromotherapy is most effective when combined with hydrotherapy, a relaxing steam, sauna or whirlpool bath which allows the body to unwind and absorb the soothing effects of the gently changing colours. Aromatherapy and stimulating sound completes the total escape and enhances the home spa experience.”

Gary says “Previously hydrotherapy through water or air massage was enough to satisfy the requirement for wellbeing. Nowadays, people want a complete body experience. This means the bathroom has to offer three distinct solutions: a quick wash, shave and refresh; a warm quick bath or shower before bed and total emersion into a relaxation zone that stimulates all the senses.”