Designer Jo Littlefair on acing a spa-style bathroom

Having designed the spa at Lucknam Park hotel and numerous private residences, designer Jo Littlefair always starts a bathroom by asking what the owners’ aspirations and needs are.

'Do they prefer showers to baths? Is lots of storage essential? Don’t forget to take the architecture of your home into consideration, too. While your vision is key, it’s still important to make sure you are dreaming within realistic parameters.' says Jo.

(Image credit: James Merrell)


Taking noteof the dimensions of the space, where the doors and windows are and considering what – if anything – can be changed or moved is a vital starting point.

The first question I ask myself is: ‘What do I want to see when I open the door?’. For this reason, I always try to avoid putting the WC in view. A stylish vanity, stunning tiles or a statement mirror are much more appealing.

(Image credit: Lisa Cohen)


Never underestimate theimportance of lighting. A room with so many functionswill benefit from several typesof lighting. I recommend aminimum of two circuits: one for general light and the other for task and accent lighting.

There are so many exciting options now available, with new ways to illuminate areas. For example, rather than installing a downlight directly overhead, use low-level uplights behind a freestanding bath to create a spa-like vibe. Then add layers by installing LED strip lights in niches in the shower.

(Image credit: Armelle Habib)

See more bathroom lighting ideas.


A TV is an absolute no-no. For me, it’s about leaving the world outside the bathroom, not inviting it in. A TV also affects the aesthetics and alters the mood. Wellness is a huge trend right now and a luxurious bath, along with the ability to dim light levels and banish all technical devices, is a big part of this.

So, take time to choose the right tub. Consider space, budget and, of course, comfort. Don’t be shy about getting into a bath to see how it feels!

(Image credit: Paul Massey)


Instagram continues to fuel the trend for hotel-style bathrooms, encouraging people to think big with their design choices. All I would say is make sure that whatever you do is right for you. Just because you have seen something that worksin a hotel doesn’t mean it’s suitable for your own home. Rather than force something that shouldn’t be there, just enjoy it in a hotel situation.

There’s a huge trend for open bathrooms in hotels, but I still think that a separate space where we’re on our own, away from people and gadgets, is important. Again, this is all part of the wellness trend – having a place where you can retreat to and relax in, safe in the knowledge that no one is going to walk in on you.

(Image credit: Paul Massey)


I love natural materials and always gravitate towards marble flooring. I know that it will age with time, but I like the fact that it develops a beautiful patina. I’m also drawn to the warmth and texture of timber, introducing it through shelving or a cabinetin an area of the room that isn’t going to get wet.

Soft and muted tones that remind me of nature are a must, because, for me, the bathroom is a sanctuary and colours that relate to the earth help me to unwind.

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

Find more of Jo Littlefair's projects at

See these bathroom storage ideas.

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