People With Spa Bathrooms Will Likely Have These 8 Things — Get the Look With Our Checklist

Homeowners with spa-like bathrooms typically have these seven things, how many do you have?

A bathroom that has been given a spa makeover
(Image credit: Casey Dunn. Design: Matt Garcia Design)

Your bathroom is so much more than a functional space for hurridly rushing through those mundane daily routines. It's a room that presents a unique opportunity for some self-care. With that, we see it as an opportunity to bring a bit of spa luxury to the home.

If you're looking to transform your bathroom from a sterile, functional space into something that feels like your very own private retreat, there are a handful of touches you can make to elevate it into your very own temple for relaxation. For modern bathroom ideas that really make the difference, we speak to the bathroom experts.

1. Layered lighting

A spa bathroom with layered lighting scheme

(Image credit: Chango & Co)

Bathroom lighting was always going to top this list. It is one of the most crucial elements that will make or break your bathroom. Bad lighting can make a space feel sterile, unwelcoming, and cold, so avoid overhead recessed lights that cast light directly downwards and make for an unflattering reflection.

Instead, lighting should be from several sources. It should be layered, with a mix of overhead lighting, wall lights (crucially at head height), and concealed lighting like LED lights that are hid behind a mirror. Lighting in the bathroom should be controllable, with different settings to match your mood. 'Ambient lighting is carefully crafted with dimmers to allow a customizable atmosphere that soothes the eyes,' says designer, Kati Curtis. Make sure to pay close attention to color temperature too. When sourcing the bulbs, look out for anything between 2,700k and 3,000k for a light that is glowy and warm, rather than cold.

2. A stand-out tub

A spa bathtub

(Image credit: Corinne Mathern)

Don't negate the importance of the tub - making your bath the focus of the room gives it a real emphasis on relaxation. Your bath should be big enough to let you stretch out, and if you have the space, placed in the center of the room for maximum indulgence. The freestanding bath is the epitome of luxury, but many small bathroom owners don't feel like they have the space. You can, however, find smaller baths measuring around 50 inches. The compact slipper bath is a great example. It is asymmetrical in design which gives it a quirky feel, but you still get that freestanding look even if you don't have the space.

If you don't go for the freestanding look, you can still make the bath feel like the focus of the room. This example from designer Corinne Mathern showcases a built-in bath bathed in natural light, with privacy from cute cafe curtains and surrounded by Ceppo stone. 'This might be our favorite tub,' she says. 'The photo somehow makes it look like it could be a sink but it really is a bath.'

'The clients wanted a tub that felt timeless and soothing so we brought in a stone with sculptural shapes in it and soft window treatments that still let the light filter in.' The surrounding lip provides a handy shelf to store all those bathtime pampering additions, but in this instance, just a pair of potted plants helps add to the spa atmosphere.

3. Natural materials

A spa bathroom with marble and hardwood

(Image credit: Austin Leis. Design: Ome Dezin)

Natural stone in some form, or natural wood, or at best a combination of both helps to forge that spa-like feel by exuding luxury. In this example by the designers at Ome Dezin, Arabescato marble trim works its way around the room, is used on the basin and has been placed in a random pattern for equisite marble bathroom flooring

The details of the wooden vanity and teak bath stool offer a serene contrast with the marble - the warmth of the wood balancing against the coolness of the marble. It's all about balancing those elements. 'Natural elements like stone basins, wood accents, and iridescent glass tiles are prevalent, creating a connection to the natural world and fostering relaxation,' says Kati.

4. Smart heating

A bathroom with underfloor heating and towel rail

(Image credit: Derek Swalwell. Design: Heartly Interior Design)

'Heated floors are a great spa bathroom addition,' says interior designer, Evelyn Benatar. If you are in the early stages of a renovation and have the budget, underfloor heating is one of those edits you're likely to make that you won't regret. An underfloor heating system is a popular choice for the bathroom and can make a massive difference in how you experience the room, turning it into a space that feels warm and inviting instead of cold and gloomy.

Underfloor heating can be set up on timers so it reaches the perfect temperature at the optimum time. Underfloor heating is typically either water or electric, and electric is by far the most popular, which works by laying strips of electrical matting across a subfloor that is linked to the thermostat. Electric underfloor heating works well under concrete or ceramic tiles.

Water pipe heating is a little more complicated to connect and install, and is the more expensive system of the two to install. If you like the sound of adding some luxury heating to the space, but can't afford the bathroom revamp, heated towel rails are another simple option, keeping warm towels always ready to hand.

5. Fluffy accessories

A spa bathroom with wall hangings for towels

(Image credit: Casey Dunn. Design: Matt Garcia Design)

Spa bathrooms are all about pampering, and those minute details really make a difference. From fluffy towels to hooks where you can hang robes to fresh towels that bring freshness to the space, these are the smaller details that matter and can contribute to elevating your space into your own haven.

'A spa bathroom exudes tranquility and luxury, offering a personal retreat that many aim to replicate in their homes,' points out Kati. 'In these serene spaces, you will always find meticulously chosen design elements meant to pamper the senses. Some easy to add elements are the best bath towels and plush bathrobes, often in calming neutral tones or soft blues and greens, arranged to provide the utmost comfort.'

At the same time, there is a line to be drawn when it comes to accessories and decor, and those spaces that feel truly spa-like are uncluttered and minimalist. Keep your room curated and keep accessories to a minimum to create a soothing surrounding.

6. Elegant hardware

A bathroom with brassy faucets

(Image credit: Unique Lapin. Design: Crina Arghirescu Architecture)

For a spa-like atmosphere, pay attention to your hardware and don't skimp on the material. In terms of what's trending, we're spotting a lot of metals that help a space feel layered and elegant, and add metallic pops that warm up the space.

Current bathroom hardware trends see mixed metals used throughout the space. From polished nickel to stainless steel, to unlacquered brassy finishes that patina over time, it's important to introduce those mixed metals for a space that feels luxe and expensive.

7. Textured walls

A matte textured bathroom wall

(Image credit: Corinne Mathern)

Instead of those polished and shiny surfaces, go for texture in your bathroom and consider the likes of plaster or the mottled appearance of limewash paint. Matte walls don't reflect the light around the space, instead absorbing it, and remind us of exotic souks and hammams. Look out for bathroom paints with a limewash finish like Portola Paint's Gem. It's a soothing finish that brings a meditative quality.

8. Aromatherapy

A bathroom candle in the shower

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki. Design: Sandra Flashman Studio)

Finally, it's not just about what you can see. Your spa bathroom should offer a sensory experience that helps you unwind, and the best spa bathrooms will have layered scents to arouse the senses. 'Aromatherapy plays a significant role,' says Kati. 'Think diffusers or scented candles releasing calming scents like lavender or eucalyptus.' The flickering light of a candle also brings a calming feel to the space and bathes the space in a warming glow.

3 Buys to Give your Bathroom a Spa Makeover

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.