Budget-conscious decor changes can create oasis



This photo, which features brushed nickel faucets from Moen’s new Rothbury collection, shows how some decor changes can impart a calming, indulgent style feel to a home bathroom. The scheme incorporates calming, neutral colour on the walls, a Persian-style rug for a cushy feel underfoot, and a plant to help convey the desired atmosphere.

If your busy schedule is preventing you from the occasional spa treat to melt away your tensions, why not put in your very own bathroom spa?

Easier said than done, right? Wrong. We’re here to tell you that you can get that serene, relaxing oasis feel without necessarily putting out the cash to do construction.

There are a few easy and inexpensive ways to bring that spa feel into your bath. One of the least expensive things you can do is to paint the walls. The colours must be calming and neutral.

Whatever you do, stay away from energizing contrasts, or bright, peppy colours. You may go with white for a crisp, clean look or rich neutral shades, such as ecru, oyster, beige or ivory.

Keep the fabrics in the same tones as the wall — do not use bright or contrasting colours to spoil the serene, calming feel of the spa.

And speaking of fabrics, get the best quality you can afford. For example, think about your tootsies. Cold tiles do not impress but soft, cushy rugs definitely do — think thick, woolen rugs or Persian rugs that pamper the feet.

When you climb out of the bath, continue to use a bath mat, but make sure you have the thickest, plushest bath mat you can find. Keep away from those practical but ugly rubber-backed mats — especially the ones that surround the toilet.

A quality spa would also have thick absorbent towel sheets, and so should you. Go for the large sheets that you can wrap around your body when you emerge from the bath. As well, you can take that additional step and keep a thick, cotton bathing robe in your spa bath as well. Ah, the luxury!

When it comes to the shower curtain, make it as voluminous as you can manage, from floor to ceiling. If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can do this in a cinch. Choose a white or soft-coloured thick cotton waffle, or another neutral but luxurious-feeling fabric.

Other important touches include dimmer switches, so you can get the relaxed lighting you need in additional to task lighting needed for more demanding activities such as trimming toenails.

Include an upholstered bench or seat for those after-bath pedicures — it will add an air of luxury, and we all know a padded seat is much better than teetering on the edge of the tub.

And use a sleek minimalist style for accessories like wastepaper baskets, and hampers, as well as toothbrush holders and other fixtures. You don’t want fussy ornamentation in a room devoted to relaxation and serenity.

Other sensual touches include scents, so give some thought to collecting some of your favourite essential oils to help dissolve all your troubles. For a relaxing effect, consider mixing lavender with Epsom salts for the bath. For a more energizing effect, use peppermint.

And don’t forget music to add to the blissed out mood. Other spa-like touches include a plant or two. And last but certainly not least, remember that clutter is a design crime, but this is especially true in a spa. Put away everyday items in baskets, and if you choose to display, make sure the containers are attractive and consistent.


Tammy Schnurr and Jeffrey Fisher are hosts of Arresting Design on W Network. Tammy is an interior decorator. Jeffrey designs home furnishings and bedding through his company Jeffrey Fisher Home.

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